BBC posted a recent article that analyses how residential properties have a very important problem related to carbon emissions. The article says that these residences are responsible for between 17-21% of energy related carbon emissions globally. This includes: electricity used to power electronic devices, fuel used to heat and cook and also “ the carbon emissions released in the manufacture of concrete, metal and other building materials along with the construction process itself”.
Housing will definitely play a major role regarding the reduction of carbon emissions. According to the BBC, knowledge and tools needed to reduce emissions from housing are already available and it involves how houses are built, heated and powered. “Not only could these innovations make our houses cheaper to run but also make them more comfortable to live in”.
Let’s review some key points listed in the article:
The first thing to think about is reducing the amount of energy used in our houses. To do so, it is important to consider some design principles: “make a house well-insulated so that heat from passive sources – the Sun, inhabitants' body heat, even pets – stays indoors. The orientation of the house and the position of its windows can ensure it makes the most of the Sun's rays, while shutters, overhangs, and even trees can keep houses cool in summer.”.
Construction: it is a primary need to switch to lower carbon building materials, since today, around 10% of global energy related emissions comes from materials used in construction. Cement, iron and steel are materials considered “energy intensive” in their production and transport. What are the alternatives? Sustainable construction materials such as timber, hemp, cork, bamboo and straw bales.
Experts affirm that “from an embodied carbon point-of-view” the best materials to construct can be the ones that you already have. “That means reusing as much as possible from existing buildings to avoid the emissions from creating new materials. Rather than simply demolishing an old building, it can instead be carefully deconstructed so its bricks, for example, can be saved and repurposed”.
Other measures can be taken into account such as: “draught-proofing, adding or improving insulation, and installing double or even triple-glazed windows can reduce a house's energy requirements significantly”.
At MKThink we are also looking at how places can adapt to our evolving needs over time and how those spaces are designed considering factors such as sustainability, wellbeing and safety.