24 January 2020

Architects Climate Action Network: Call for responses

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ACAN is a network of individuals within architecture and related built environment professions taking action to address the twin crises of climate and ecological breakdown.


We are in a state of climate and ecological emergency. There is a compelling body of scientific work indicating our present trajectory will lead to catastrophe if we do not make ambitious and radical changes as a matter of urgency.


ACAN acknowledges that the construction industry and the existing built environment are major contributing factors to the crises and as such both require complete and rapid transformation. In the UK, the built environment as a whole is responsible for 42% of national emissions. The manner in which we produce, operate and renew our built environment continues to curtail biodiversity, pollute ecosystems and encourage unsustainable lifestyles.


This state of emergency calls for a new kind of professionalism. We can no longer remain secluded within our personal and professional silos. Instead we are harnessing our collective agency; as citizens with a shared professional background and a common goal, we are mobilising to bring about necessary changes to our industry.


Consultation on changes to Part L & Part F of the Building Regulations


The Government’s consultation on changes to Part L & Part F of the Building Regulations as part of the proposed Future Homes Standard runs until 7 February so it is imperative that we act now. This couldn’t be more important given the IPCC’s recommendations that global emissions need to be halved by 2030 and yet the UK is expected to miss its 2025 and 2030 decarbonising targets.


Having studied London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI)’s robust guidance on the consultation and discussed the proposals amongst various groups, ACAN believe that the proposals are completely inadequate in the context of the climate and ecological emergency declared by this government.



ACAN's four key concerns


1. The Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard (FEES) should not be scrapped. Without FEES, future homes could be delivered with worse fabric insulation than currently permissible. This has been quantitatively proven by LETI using the consultation iSAP calculator.


2. Energy consumption reporting should be tangible by using fixed metrics, not factors that will change overtime. The proposed use of carbon factors will disguise poor fabric efficiency through over-reliance on a decarbonised grid.


3. Ambitious Local Authorities should not be stripped of their powers to set higher energy efficiency standards. Leaders in climate innovation should be supported at this time of greatest need.


4. The Future Homes Standard needs to consider the Embodied Carbon of buildings. Embodied Carbon needs to be measured and declared, as part of a ‘Whole Life Carbon’ approach to construction that should be applied to all construction projects.


ACAN invites you all to add your voice in one or several of the following ways:

  1. View and sign ACAN’s open letter to the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick
  2. View ACAN’s proposed condensed yes/no response and then submit your own 10-minute response via the Government’s survey
  3. Submit your own full response via the Government’s survey
  4. Write to your MP urging for action using ACAN’s template letter
  5. Forward this article to other professionals or climate-conscious friends and ask them to respond.


Read LETI’s explanatory documents explaining the key concerns further