On 9 November 2017, the Architects Council of Europe (ACE) participated in the Building Action Symposium organised by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (Global ABC). The keynote presentation by ACE Sustainability Work Group Chair Dr Judit Kimpian highlighted the significant role of the built environment in achieving the Paris climate goals. She threw down the gauntlet to the audience to consider a more holistic approach to achieving these, where global warming is targeted in the wider context of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
J. Kimpian argued that transforming the built environment to improve health and wellbeing, with significantly less use of natural resources and at a low life-cycle cost, is a generational design challenge. To succeed the sector must embrace the notion of ‘feedback’ where the sector will systematically:
“Architecture is a potential game-changer: armed with robust data and feedback & supported by progressive regulation, it has the potential to create a step-change in renovation rates while adding significant value to national building stocks, raising quality of life and making a major contribution to the development of the circular economy” said Dr Kimpian.
A year ago, the Paris agreement reached at COP 21 – the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal – entered into force. ACE welcomed the leadership showed by the European Union, which committed to a domestic reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. In the framework of its Architects Against Climate Change Campaign, ACE has been seeking to raise the awareness of the public, construction professionals and decision-makers to the solutions that architecture can bring to the challenges posed by climate change.
With buildings being responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in Europe, reaching the EU objective will only be possible if urgent policy actions are taken in the buildings sector.
“An ambitious revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings and Energy Efficiency Directives is a prerequisite for achieving the EU climate objective. This includes a clear link with complementary EU initiatives, such as the Level(s) framework of indicators, that ensures that energy efficiency is tackled as part of a broader lifecycle approach, to ensure that solutions are long-lasting and resilient to the impacts of climate and social change” said Dr Kimpian.