talk about climate change architecture

Climate Emergency Debate Series

An exciting series of Climate Emergency panel debates, led by LSBU’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment (BEA), addressing some of the more challenging climate change issues faced by the construction and housing sectors

Climate Emergency Debate Series

An exciting series of Climate Emergency panel debates, led by LSBU’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment (BEA), addressing some of the more challenging climate change issues faced by the construction and housing sectors. Attracting top speakers and a broad range of participants from across academia, industry, government and beyond.

An exciting series of climate emergency panel debates launched in January 2020, led by LSBU’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment (BEA). The thought provoking and challenging debates are designed to address the climate change challenges faced by the construction and housing sectors.

Gathering leading industry experts, often on different sides of a debate, these lively discussions have taken on topics such as as ‘Is Passivhaus the Answer?’ (Jan 2020) ‘Go Big or Go Home – tackling retrofit in a Climate Emergency’ (Sept 2020) and ‘The Heat Is On – the race to replace gas in a Climate Emergency” (Jan 2021)

By taking the lead in organising and hosting the climate emergency debate series, BEA is demonstrating the University’s commitment to a culture of debate for its students and combatting the global environmental crisis by drawing together stakeholders to discuss real world problems – and propose real world solutions.

Each panel discussion in the series focuses on a different climate change-related theme within the built environment – from reducing emissions from social housing and new builds in the housing sector, fiscal landscape and finance, industry workforce reform, to the myriad systemic changes needed to decarbonise the UK’s housing stock.

Kicking off the first debate, panellists were charged with debating whether the popular, energy efficient, international building standard, ‘Passivhaus’, could be the answer to combatting the UK’s challenge of meeting Carbon Zero targets by reducing emissions from new builds. Audiences, crammed in the auditorium for live event, before the spectre of COVID, voted overwhelmingly for Passivhaus to become a working standard across the industry.

A key element of the debate series is guiding audiences not just to engage with a subject in depth, but also take practical solutions back into their workplaces. The need for words to translate to action in real world settings cannot be stressed enough. In his closing statement, Andy Ford, LSBU’s Professor of Building Systems Engineering and debate chair, echoed the mood of the room, when he said: “We are facing a real climate emergency. The time for talking is over. Our sector urgently needs to enact change.

“For too long the built environment sector has failed to pull its weight. Financial and political crises have also hindered progress in this area. That’s why LSBU’s Climate Emergency Debate series is about action. Nothing must derail our renewed quest to decarbonise the built environment.”

Our Sept 2020 online event, the first in the post-COVID environment, drew audiences from around the world. We heard from a panel of esteemed speakers who leading the retrofit charge – Retrofit Wales, Scotland and closer to home, the challenges facing the GLA as it plans to decarbonise the capital’s housing stock. Other panelists shared in-depth research into Optimising Retrofit Programmes and Labour Market Reform which are pivotal to the success of any large scale retrofit schemes.

The response to this event was overwhelming, proving that the ‘new’ online formula worked to everyone’s advantage. More importantly, workstreams and partnerships arising from ‘Go Big or Go Home – tackling retrofit in a Climate Emergency’ (Sept 2020) are already bearing fruit, with participants from LSBU and other academic institutions, Government bodies and Local Authorities collaborating to accelerate the pace of change in the face of intermittent top down support for retrofit measures.

Future topics will cover Systems level change, the Decarbonisation of Gas for Heat, and the thorny topic of Money - funding, the fiscal landscape and green finance, all of which can slow down or accelerate the speed of change.

The intention with this debate series is to inspire a culture of wider discussion between LSBU students, practitioners and advocates of the built environment, in order to catalyse the change the world needs now. We would invite you to be part of the discussion, and part of that change.

A further 4 debates are planned for 2021 - register interest now.

To reserve a place at the next debate:

The Heat is On

The Race to Replace Gas in a Climate Emergency 

Date: Jan 21, 2021