With climate change an ever-present threat to construction projects, ensuring new buildings can better withstand the elements is key to a long and prosperous lifespan of any house, facility, or commercial property. Elements such as extreme cold snaps, torrential rain, floods, heatwaves, and wind all have an impact when considering building design and are changing the way that architects approach their design philosophies.
But what does the relationships really look like between climate change and construction and what commitments should the industry be making to reduce their effect on the environment and prepare itself for the results.
The construction sector is comfortably one of the industries that contributes most significantly to our global carbon footprint. Indeed, it’s though the sector is responsible for around 39% of all carbon emissions. That is a figure that simply cannot stand. But what steps should the industry be taking today to help soften the blow at a ground floor level?
Going forward, every aspect of a building’s design should be engineered to make it not only easier on the environment but more efficient overall. This means insulating homes for better heating and energy efficiency, using alternative materials in construction and even using industrial adhesives to seal areas of the building where heat might be escaping.
In Australia, a monitoring program known as the Better Building Partnership’s Design for Performance initiative is utilised to ensure buildings are designed to accommodate the effects of climate change. Not only that, but it also ensures they are built more economically too.
Generally speaking, however, it’s going to be up to the companies at the top of the food chain that set the standard and make all the major decisions that have trickledown implications. It’s up to the concrete manufacturers and major construction firms to make a commitment to greater environmental oversight in their construction efforts and to set the targets and the standards that the rest of the sector must adhere to. Greater investment in eco-housing is a good place to start.
Not only should the sector be looking at ways to diminish its carbon footprint but it should also be looking at ways to prepare itself for the unavoidable effects of global warming. This means that, even in countries like the UK, we should start looking at how buildings are designed in regions such as Dubai – buildings designed to withstand higher temperatures.
This is also true of industrial contractors and those building facilities for agriculture because it’s not just our comfort that will be at risk when the temperature starts to rise. The best thing we can do though is to stop it getting that far and in that regard, the power is in your hands!