Architectural design and new standards for sustainability

Making marks, where they arise - That's the mission of the British architecture firm, realized through its sustainability manifesto

Foster and partner, sustainable architecture

A number of British architects launched the initiative in June 2019 UK Architects Declare Climate and Biodiversity Emergency. Their website says, among other things: "Buildings and structures play a major role because they are responsible for almost 40 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and at the same time have a significant impact on our natural habitats." Architectural design and sustainability are two inseparable Topics of our society today.

In addition to Grimshaw Architects, the architecture firm Foster + Partners are one of the first to sign up last year with their concrete plans in the form of a Sustainability manifestos published. These were even made during the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 presented in Madrid. So far, another 830 offices have followed the initiative, with an effort to strengthen their work practices to create architecture and urbanism that have a more positive impact on the world as well as people.


Architectural design - Doing more and more

With the eight-sided manifesto, the office would like to go beyond the current environmental certification systems and thus commitments to Paris climate protection goals expand. We are also faced with new challenges in the field of architectural design. Because if one continued as before, the temperature of the atmosphere would rise by about +4,2 degrees. So we need ways to reduce the rise by another 1,5 degrees.

The current standards are not sufficient for this. "The construction and operation of buildings account for 26 percent of total global GHG emissions," the architects from Foster + Partners continue to state. In order to reduce precisely these carbon dioxide emissions in the projects, a methodology for quantifying these emissions was developed on the basis of a holistic, sustainable approach. In this way, the environmental impact of a building can be measured, predicted and monitored in every project phase and over a typical service life.

Equipment and future renovations are also included here. From this, countermeasures or tools can be developed to reduce CO2 values. Internally, the architecture office also works sustainably. For four years now, 100 percent of the electricity has been obtained from renewable sources. In addition, the annual global mobility of employees as well as emissions from heating and waste are fully offset by the London office.

The special methodology for measuring emissions

To be able to measure carbon emissions, the projects are divided into six areas:

  • Project structure and construction site equipment
  • Structure
  • Facade
  • Building
  • Equipment and operation
  • Energy and transportation

Empirical values ​​and independently verified scientific data from more than 50 years enable the calculations, which are monitored and controlled during the entire construction process. Foster + Partners is now ready to offer this methodology to all future customers in order to take a big step towards the Paris Agreement.

Architectural design - the new view brings the planet back into balance

The architects' goal is to design climate-neutral or climate-restoring buildings. But the manifesto also says: "It takes a balance between emissions and absorption to stop global warming." Renewable energy and increased afforestation are needed. The planet can only find the right balance again with all nations.


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