Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing mankind. The rate at which greenhouse gas emissions are being emitted into our environment is unsustainable and the damage being inflicted on the planet could become irreversible if we don’t act immediately. That’s why, In April 2019, a global climate emergency was declared, and as a result, Scotland has set the ambitious target to become ‘Net Zero’ by 2045, five years ahead of the rest of the UK.
‘Net Zero’ effectively means the greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere should be equal to or less than the greenhouse gases we’re able to take out. Achieving ‘Net Zero’ carbon emissions in the construction sector is undoubtedly one of the most challenging objectives the industry faces. The buildings in which we inhabit, also known as the built environment, are attributable to a significant portion of global energy related greenhouse gas emissions, this is around 49% in the UK.
As experts within this field, we not only have a professional responsibility to respond decisively, but also a moral obligation to ensure that our actions protect our future. This translates to designing buildings which are sustainable and considers carbon reduction as a primary focus.
This does not just apply to new buildings, but we must also consider existing building stock. Building new is not always the ‘right way’ due to embodied carbon emissions. These are the carbon emissions associated from the materials used to construct a building. Extending the lifespan of an existing building capable of adaption, or retrofit as it is known, can be a lower carbon pathway than demolishing and building new, as the embodied carbon associated with the construction of a typical new building can be equivalent to 20 years’ worth of its operational carbon emissions.
As a practice we already have considerable experience in retrofit, refurbishment, and conversion projects. With our extensive expertise in energy assessment and dynamic modelling, we use various methods to create detailed energy models which can be used to support the net zero design process, both in new and existing building stock.
If it’s operational energy performance or whole life cycle analysis you require, we can help you achieve this ambitious objective, starting right from the inception of a proposal. We take this approach to all manners of projects, from single storey extensions to large commercial developments. As a team of designers across multidisciplinary backgrounds, our aim is to find a sustainable, well-designed, and cost-effective solution to every project.