By Emily Partridge, Senior Architect & Climate Action Leader
MA(Cantab) DipArch PgDip
In support of the global climate strike we continue to call for action- not words – from policy makers.
Governments have got to be more ambitious in their targets. The built environment accounts for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions but current Building Regulations don’t go far enough, and VAT on retrofitting inefficient building stock is still stuck at 20%.
We don’t think that’s good enough.
We applaud all clients and organisations who have been bold enough to declare a Climate Emergency and take action to cut carbon.
The Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust have embraced innovation by linking funding for new school buildings to demanding energy targets, that have to be proven in use – why can’t this be done across the whole of the UK?
All around the country our clients such as The Natural History Museum, Imperial War Museums, London Borough of Sutton, Carmarthenshire County Council, The City of Edinburgh, Exeter City Council, Plymouth Marjon University and The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership are showing how a commitment to low carbon design can pay dividends, not just for their own organisation and occupants,but for the planet.
More generally, we still think there is widescale confusion and greenwash when it comes to cutting carbon. That’s why we are launching Future Proof today – an introduction to a series of videos to help explain zero carbon and sustainable design.
We know that we can all do more to cut carbon. Since lockdown we’ve saved 20 tonnes of carbon by not commuting into our studios. We are now actively seeing how we can creatively keep our own emissions down when we emerge in the post Covid world. Individually, colleagues are committing to lifestyle changes – changing the way we travel, becoming vegan, switching to electric vehicles and refurbishing homes.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we’re not invincible – Covid has laid bare the vulnerabilities of even the most developed nations. The challenges posed by the Climate Emergency are different, but the consequences in failing to address them are far greater.
As well as applauding everyone taking part in the strike in person or digitally today, let’s use the time to reflect on what more can be done while the planet still has a chance to recover.