The built environment is responsible for about 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint. Despite progress in improving the energy efficiency of newly constructed buildings, there is still plenty to tackle when it comes to decarbonising existing stock and dealing with embodied carbon associated with construction. Alongside these issues are the millions of homes at risk of flooding or overheating due to extreme climate conditions. Now more than ever, there is greater emphasis on the sector to be part of the solution.
COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Glasgow from 31 October until 12 November, has been described as “the world’s best last chance to get runaway climate change under control”. Nearing its 30 year anniversary, the annual summit brings together the nations of the world for twelve days of talks to help shape a global response to the climate emergency.
SSE Hydro arena – one of the venues hosting COP26 in Glasgow.
Never before has the built environment been a key focus of discussion, but this year a full day will be dedicated to construction and architecture’s role in transitioning to a zero carbon economy. Held on 11 November, the Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day will see diverse stakeholders from across the sector presenting solutions on how to achieve net zero. The UK Green Building Council is supporting the World Green Building Council and Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction in their discussions with global NGOs and the UK Government to help inform the agenda.
Those in attendance will focus on global and regional differences in building regulations and solutions on how to tackle emissions in urban environments. The day will feature the launch of a roadmap focusing on net-zero whole-life carbon for the sector. Other anticipated topics of discussion include aspirations to build back better following the coronavirus pandemic, as well as net-zero buildings, those that don’t contribute net CO2 either operationally or via embodied carbon.
There are plans for a virtual platform to enable members of the public to access and engage with built environment issues raised at COP26 to coincide with the in-person activities. The Built Environment Virtual Pavilion will be curated by a number of organisations across the sector and aims to be a lasting legacy beyond the event.
Find out what else is planned for COP26.