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41647 How does the architectural profession get to net zero

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July 2024

How does the architectural profession get to netzero?

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Photograph byUnsplash

Architects are on the front line when it comes to achieving net zerocarbonand reversing the status quo in an age where buildings contribute to around 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions. As the Royal Institute of British Architects notes, "The climate emergency is the biggest challenge facing our planet and our profession. To have significant impact, we need to turn warm words into meaningful actions."

Geopolitical instability, economic uncertainty and an underlying energy crisis are constraints that only reinforce the need for urgent measures to address the sustainability of our built environment. Architects have the capacity to embed and encourage sustainable design strategies at each work stage. They can help their clients reach net zero by creating buildings that have no net carbon emissions during their construction and operation. This applies not only to new buildings but toretrofitting existing buildingsto preparethem for a low-carbon future.

Choices made at the design stage are critical, contributing directly to the net zero goal. Using sustainable, natural, low-carbon building materials, such as timber, is crucial and allows carbon to be sequestered within the structure. Durable, high-quality materials will reduce long-term maintenance and replacement, creating buildings that last and lock up carbon. A building's lifespan will also be extended by building in flexibility so it can be adapted to new uses in the future.

Second only to a fabric first approach that ensures the highest possible thermal performance and airtightness of the building envelope, comes energy. Often the remit of a variety of consultants, architects should, nonetheless, see the correct specification and integration of everything from solar panels to thermal stores as part of a necessarily multi-faceted approach.

In the race to net zero, architects carry anunprecedentedresponsibility to bring together and educate all those involved in the design, planning and building processes to ensure the best result for their client and the planet.

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With Compliments:             

Taylor Alden
7 Bell Yard
WC2A 2JR                      

Tel: 020 3137 9041