The UK is legally bound to reach net zero carbon by 2050. The Architects Climate Action Group (Acan) campaign group, is highlighting the that buildings made of brick, concrete and glass require, at present, burning large quantities of ‘fossil fuel’. There is great focus on the energy efficiency of buildings once they are occupied, but so far very little attention has been paid to the carbon emitted in getting them built, and eventually dismantled – from extracting raw materials and manufacturing components, to the toxic by-products of demolition leaking out in landfill.
Acan estimates that this “embodied carbon” accounts for up to three-quarters of a building’s total emissions over its lifespan, a proportion that is only going to grow as the energy grid becomes increasingly decarbonised with the rise of renewables. With the built environment contributing about 45% of the total carbon emitted in the UK, the embodied energy of construction has become the vital element to focus on.
Acan highlight that:
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We want our town to be vibrant, attractive and liveable. We support development that brings a sense of place and enhances the best aspects of our town. If such aims can be embraced, we believe Guildford has the chance to lead the way in enabling sensitive and sustainable development.
Pressures for development are increasing. Planning rules are being eased. The Society’s commitment to standing up for Guildford is needed more than ever.
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