UK Green Building Council

Climate Change Adaptation

Even as we attempt to mitigate climate change, we must still plan for its impacts. The long lifespan of our buildings means that they are particularly at risk from climate change, especially considering 87% of existing buildings will still be standing in 2050. 

According to Defra’s 2009 UK Climate Change Projections, in this country we are likely to experience hotter drier summers, warmer wetter winters, a rise in sea levels and an increase in extreme weather events. These climactic changes will impact on our daily lives and the buildings that we work and live in must be adapted to cope with such changes. 

Both existing buildings and the construction of new buildings will have to adapt to cope with the conditions climate change may produce. A Technology Strategy Board (TSB) report, Design for Future Climate: Opportunities for adaptation in the built environment, proposes a range of new ways to design, construct, upgrade and occupy buildings so that they are more energy efficient as well as resilient to threats such as flooding and drought.

The Climate Change Adaptation Plan from BIS emphasised certain priority areas and sets out how to address the challenges and use the emerging evidence for current and future policy and strategy decisions.

The National Adaptation Programme report has been drawn up by the Government, with the support of industry and other non-government organisations, to set out what they are doing to become more climate ready.

The Committee on Climate Change was established as a result of the Climate Change Act 2008, to provide independent advice to Government on how to reduce greenhouse gases and how to manage climate change.

The UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) helps public, private and voluntary organisations to adapt to inevitable climate change. The site also contains information on adaptation in the built environment including details about planning, construction and management and useful links to other organisations involved in these areas. 

The Town & Country Planning Association (TCPA) published a report called Climate change adaptation by design: a guide for sustainable communities to help communicate the importance of adapting to climate change, and to show how adaptation can be integrated into the planning, design and development of new and existing communities. It contains useful information on policy and legislative drivers for adaptation and it proposes a range of adaptation options using practical examples and a suggested framework for delivering them.

Other technical guidance also exists relating to climate change adaptation from a range of professional institutes: 

RTPI 

Climate change: The IDN perspective 

RIBA

Climate Change Toolkit (not available until the 18th October) 

RIBA Sustainable Design Strategies: Adaptation – Design for Future Climate

CIBSE

Probabilistic Climate Profiles - The effective use of climate projections in building design

Design Council CABE

Public space lessons: Adapting public space to climate change.

Campaign for a sustainable built environment
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