Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge facing the world today. Rising global temperatures will bring changes in weather patterns, rising sea levels and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. The effects will be felt here in the UK; internationally there may be severe problems for people in regions that are particularly vulnerable. The UK is acting now to adapt to climate change and to reduce the risk by reducing our contribution to the causes.
Energy use is one main contributor. The major consideration is the reduction of Co2 emissions from the development and not simply the incorporation of renewable energy sources for the sake of its introduction.
Good design can often reduce the CO2 emissions from the site by more than 10% which identifies that good design is the key to developing low carbon energy efficient buildings.
Local authorites are increasingly adopting the Merton rule as part of their local planning policies.
Sustainable development is at the core of European and UK Government policymaking, including targets on issues such as reducing CO2 emissions and waste, and increasing social equity.
It is a legal requirement that sustainability appraisals are undertaken as part of regional and local planning policy development.
The landfill tax, aggregates levy, climate change levy, stamp duty exemption for deprived areas, have all been introduced to provide economic incentives.
Development Agencies are tasked with promoting sustainable development and are building requirements into procurement processes, for example requirements to meet BREEAM rating targets.
Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and Part L of Building Regulations and the Implementation of the Sustainable and Secure Buildings Act will increase minimum standards relating to sustainable construction.