World Architecture Day 2017: how architects can help fight climate change

World Architecture Day 2017

Climate Change Action! is the theme of the World Architecture Day, celebrated today, 2nd October 2017. Architecture is one of the solutions to combat the impact of climate change on the environment and humanity.

World Architecture Day was set up in 2005 by the International Union of Architects (UIA), representing more than 1 million architects worldwide. “The threat of climate change is real. Rapid urbanization and building developments are increasing our fuel energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission,” said the UIA members. 

By 2030, buildings will contribute nearly half of the nation’s CO2 emissions. This is why architects and builders can have an important role in fighting climate change. But how can they do it?

  1. PASSIVE HOUSES REDUCE ENERGY CONSUMPTION

According to the Journal of Green Buildings, energy use during building lifetime causes up to 90% of its environmental impact. Reducing the energy consumption of buildings is an important issue for having sustainable constructions. Passive Houses or Net Zero Energy Buildings are climate-friendly construction. They reduce the energy consumption of our houses. This type of houses may cost 5 or 10 percent more to build, but often that expense can be financed by energy efficiency savings. In fact, the use of renewable energy is also a long-term solution for cities.

      2. RENOVATION MAKES BUILDINGS READY FOR THE FUTURE

Most part of the existing buildings will exist in 2050. There is a huge market for architects to work on renovation. Architects need to develop new ways to reuse our construction stock. Materials should be chosen for durability and sustainability. Adaptative reuse of buildings can help reduce the energy bill of people. 

      3. NATURAL BUILDINGS AND NATURAL MATERIALS

Natural building involves a range of building systems and materials focus on sustainability. Natural building uses renewavle and reused materials such as stone or wood. Green construction principles can be applied to new constructions as well as existing buildings. 

Image: Biel Susanna + Stefanos Theodorou – UIA/HYP CUP 2014, courtesy of UIA.