The UK climate is changing and it is important that the design of buildings takes this into account. By 2070, summer temperatures in the southeast of England are expected to be 3 to 5°C higher than current, flooding events will increase owing to increased precipitation, and hot spells will be more frequent.
All of the above affect building function, longevity, costs, and occupant wellbeing. The following are some design considerations to adapt to these effects:
- Mitigating overheating – Use of 2050 climate data as opposed to 2020 climate data currently used.
- Water consumption reduction – Consideration of greywater systems and rainwater harvesting, especially for non-residential.
- Flood control and prevention – Include climate change allowances in drainage strategies. Allow water to collect and drain naturally, but where not possible, maximise the use of permeable surfaces and SuDS.
- Circular economy considerations – Ensure longevity and repurposing of building elements are embedded into design. This could include measures that do not involve significant design changes such as easily replaceable windows and the ability to incorporate shading measures for façades to address overheating issues.
Whilst these would require more onerous design approaches, they ensure that buildings are adapted to be comfortable and resilient for the climate expected to occur during their lifetime.