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Zealots are the last people you should rely on in an emergency


Architects, engineers and scientists can only implement what legislation compels them to. As architects we are not only bound by legislation but we are at the whim of developers. And as many will testify, they will often only put money to things that are essential. Speaking as an architect based in Scotland the regulations with regards to energy is failing massively. Too much of a focus is placed on reducing the in use carbon footprint of a building with little concern about the embodied energy our buildings produce over its lifespan. It would be interesting to do a study of a traditional pre 1919 tenement block, charting the embodied energy consumption of the building during its lifetime (100 years +). Compared to a new build volume house builder effort with KW's of eco bling tagged to its roof and vast amounts of foam insulation packed between its studs, wrapped tightly in plastic. What happens to all of these building materials in 50 years or so when the building is to be demolished? The cells used in solar panels cannot be safely disposed of. The foam in the insulation cannot be recycled safely... The list goes on. The governments regulations are continually playing catch up. As a result some really important factors are being overlooked in favour of a very superficial understanding of what it is to design and build sustainably. I'm not suggesting for one minute we go back to traditional masonry construction and banish contemporary technologies. Quite the opposite. I am suggesting we, as architects and designers, take responsibility by suggesting alternative materials and forms of construction in a bid to reduce our impact on the environment as a people. Progress was made when we discovered methods of retaining heat within buildings. That progress has been negated by a fundamental misunderstanding of building physics in recent years leading to very poor internal environments in favour of reducing energy consumption. Until the government have a serious re-think on how to build sustainably we will continue to wrap our houses in plastic and stack cells on top of our roofs whilst slowly suffocating on our own carbon dioxide.

Posted date

14 May, 2019

Posted time

1:05 pm


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