In June 2019 the RIBA voted to join the global declaration of an environment and climate emergency, two days after the UK government passed a law to require the UK to end its contribution to global warming by 2050 by bringing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero.
Following this the RIBA developed the 2030 Climate Challenge to help architects meet net zero (or better) whole life carbon for new and retrofitted buildings by 2030. It sets a series of targets for practices to adopt to reduce operational energy, embodied carbon and potable water.
We are pleased to announce that fiftypointeight Architecture + Interiors has signed up to the RIBA Climate Challenge. This is step 2 of our 2020 commitment to take action and set a good example to those we work with and those who follow us.
The climate emergency demands urgent action and leadership by architects and the wider construction industry. We must act now, ensuring that new and retrofit buildings deliver net zero whole life carbon in advance of any future regulation. The recent Green Construction Board Buildings Mission 2030 report shows that net zero operational carbon is already possible. The challenge for the profession is to extend good practice to all future work, as highlighted by the World Green Building Council’s latest report on net zero embodied carbon.
Net zero whole life carbon should be prioritised in lower density areas using on-site renewables. While for urban areas net zero whole life carbon will likely require additional offsite renewable energy generation and certified woodland offsetting in the UK.
The RIBA has developed targets for operational energy use, embodied carbon and water use reduction5. These take into account the latest recommendations from the Green Construction Board, and have been developed by the RIBA in consultation with other UK professional bodies. The targets are progressive yet realistic, and a vital first step to ensure the construction industry has delivered the significant reductions necessary by 2030 in order to have a realistic prospect of achieving net zero carbon for the whole UK building stock by 2050.