COP26 Global Summit - A turning point to the face of Architecture?

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Mon Nov 15, 2021

The United Nations (UN) global climate summit 2021 held in Glasgow held between October 31, 2021 and November 12, 2021 is said to have marked a critical juncture for humanity. The two-week event has turned heads for many as the important crisis of climate was discussed by many professionals from different streams. Architecture and construction today are one of the main industries responsible for the growing carbon emission in the atmosphere at a rapid rate.  After the Paris global summit, major leading architecture and construction companies have committed to decarbonizing the built environment and to keep warming to less than two degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures but to aim for an even lower 1.5 degrees Celsius.

What does it mean for architecture?

Buildings and construction activities account for nearly 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, architects have tried to find effective solutions to counter act this problem by meeting the net-zero carbon goals, and also raising the bar for higher sustainability in buildings.

Architects around the world are focusing now more on a positive front with:

“Design needs to be regenerative, carbon-negative, and disaster resistant.”

This would mean the new generation of graduating architects and designers would focus not only on the functionality and the aesthetic design of the building but also on how sustainable and helpful it is to the environment.

According to The American Institute of Architects (AIA), some of the future ways to achieve this goal is by adapting and retrofitting existing buildings. Demolition and new construction of a building can leave a big carbon footprint and hence retrofitting seems like a smarter choice. The charms of a retrofitted building and the aesthetic factor it offers cannot be achieved with a newly constructed building. Secondly a good selection of carbon smart materials would make a huge chance and impact. Today, manufacturing steel and concrete itself results in massive global warming impact. Architects also aim to pursue renewable energy in their construction techniques. This would not mean the use of renewable energy sources like solar panels but would take priority in low-cost construction, cost efficiency, and operational solutions.

All these factors won’t totally reverse the impacts of climate change but can guide architecture design team and their clients to a more positive approach and use of climate adaptive strategies for all future building designs.

 

 

Appears in
2021 - Fall - Issue 10
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