The Modern Built Environment Knowledge Transfer Network looks at the key innovation drivers for the built environment in 2009.
Some of the UK?s greatest environmental impacts come from buildings. Forty-five percent of UK carbon emissions come from buildings, making it a key target if we are to achieve 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Thirty-two percent of all landfill waste comes from the construction and demolition of buildings. Innovative design, products, systems and processes are required if we are to deliver a sustainable built environment for tomorrow and deliver business benefit for all built-environment stakeholders. This agenda is being supported by the Technology Strategy Board through its Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform, which has been set up to help the UK construction industry deliver buildings that have a much lower environmental impact.
Our climate is changing; we are experiencing warmer, wetter weather. Many of the predicted climate change scenarios will affect buildings and infrastructure, causing damage to fabric and increasing vulnerability to extreme events. Higher temperatures will dry out soils, increase subsidence and cause overheating problems during hot summers whilst wetter winters will result in increased condensation and mould. Rain could penetrate building fabrics and flooding could damage infrastructure.
Society?s awareness of the climatic impact on buildings and infrastructure is now greater than ever. With this shift in perspective, there is a need for new, innovative approaches to tackling challenges presented by climate change, creating significant opportunities for new technologies and environmental management solutions.
Innovative design, products and processes are required if we are to deliver a sustainable built environment
The UK?s building stock is very old and is operating well beyond the design life commonly applied to new and replacement structures. However, mass replacement is simply not an option.
New buildings in the UK are subject to ever-tighter standards and codes. The buildings being built today are more energy efficient than they have ever been, but very little has been done to address the existing housing stock. If the UK is to meet its 2050 targets of 60% carbon reductions, the energy performance of the existing stock must be improved. Working within the confines of an existing structure presents a range of challenges that are not present in newbuild structures.
The requirement for new approaches, products and systems to meet this challenging agenda creates substantial market opportunities for innovation in this area.
GREY IS THE NEW GREEN
While the need to improve the environmental performance of buildings has placed ?green? at the top of everyone?s agenda, the increasing need to respond to the challenges of the ageing population is placing ?grey? higher up on the agenda.
The UK population is getting older. The number of people of state pension age is projected to increase by 34% by 2031. We cannot continue to look after people with extra-care needs using current labour-intensive practices. Innovation in the design, specification and delivery of buildings and infrastructure is necessary to ensure we build an inclusive environment that can be used by all of our society. We need to leverage innovative designs and the latest technologies to enable people to remain living independently in their own homes and communities for much longer, reducing costs and increasing quality of life.
While technical innovation can create buildings that deliver better performance in terms of energy and resource efficiency, we still need to create aspirational communities in which people want to live and work. Sustainable urbanism considers how people interact with the built environment as individuals and as communities. It looks closely at the need for aesthetics in design principles and how we can masterplan and deliver cities for the 21st century and beyond.
DEMONSTRATING THE FUTURE
The Modern Built Environment Knowledge Transfer Network is partnering with BRE to deliver INSITE09 Constructing the Future 1-4 June 2009. This four-day event, which will take place at the BRE site in Watford, will look at the key drivers that will be influencing innovation in the built environment in 2009 and beyond.
INSITE09 will demonstrate how these challenges are being responded to in practice. Three new buildings will be unveiled at the BRE Demonstration Park during INSITE09, including:
Two of the existing buildings on the Innovation Park will be refurbished. The Re-thinking School will become a mini-healthcare campus of the future and the Osbourne House will be refurbished into an assisted?living home.
For more information, visit: Website: www.insite09.com
Added the 26 August 2009 in category Innovation UK Vol5-1