Category: Design for sustainability

  • COP26 UN Climate Change Conference – ‘Code red for Humanity’

    COP26 UN Climate Change Conference – ‘Code red for Humanity’

    Image; Rise in average surface temperature 2048-2051 from 1951-1980 based on IPCC 4th Report, Robin Roy, October 2020 As you’ve probably heard, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) – called COP26 because it’s the 26th annual UN climate change conference since 1995 – will be held in Glasgow, Scotland from […]

  • Sustainability in the Built Environment: UK Government Inquiry

    Sustainability in the Built Environment: UK Government Inquiry

        Earlier this year the Environmental Audit Committee published a Call for Evidence on how best to reach ‘net zero’ in our built environment. They received 140 written responses, including two from members of the Design group, Alice Moncaster and Jane Anderson.  Both were also invited to give evidence in person (virtually), Jane on […]

  • Exploring a quantified commute

    Exploring a quantified commute

    Like many people I hope to return to my office this autumn for a few days a week.  While I am looking forward to catching up with long standing colleagues I haven’t seen for sometime and meeting some of my students in person for the first time, my desire for sociality is tempered by a […]

  • Retrofit and new build – the policy reality gap

    Retrofit and new build – the policy reality gap

    I was quietly minding my own business on Thursday the 24th of June when not one, but two colleagues emailed me to say that Radio 4’s The World at One was discussing heritage buildings and that I might want to listen in. Through the wonders of BBC Sounds I was able to go back and […]

  • The impact of the built environment on climate change – and of climate change on the built environment

    The impact of the built environment on climate change – and of climate change on the built environment

    Why is the built environment important to climate change?  We all live and work in buildings, and they provide us with shelter and warmth, belonging and protection. However the built environment is responsible for a huge 39% of all global carbon emissions, far higher than any other individual sector. This 39% can be divided into […]

  • Homeworld ’81 revisited

    Homeworld ’81 revisited

    The Homeworld ’81 BBC Future Home 2000  Last month I attended one of the online events celebrating the 40thanniversary of the Milton Keynes Homeworld ‘81 exhibition. Yes, I am old enough to have been there (so was Robin Roy and a number of other old timers from the OU). Indeed, as I was covering the […]

  • Design for repair and maintainability

    Design for repair and maintainability

    Recently, I have been thinking about design for repair and maintainability.  The three ‘R’s of sustainability remind us to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, but ‘Reuse’ can be a challenge when so many products are not designed with maintenance or repair in mind.  Home printers are a good example, with huge numbers of printers ending up in […]

  • Pick a metric, any metric! Designing Building Energy Standards

    Pick a metric, any metric! Designing Building Energy Standards

    The UK Government is currently consulting on the Future Building Standard which includes updates to parts of the building regulations dealing with energy use in buildings (MHCLG, 2021). The built environment is a major user of energy and contributor to carbon emissions so tightening standards for new buildings and retrofit is an important step for […]

  • Attitudes and Behaviours

    Attitudes and Behaviours

    We’re on design as a set of Cognitive Superpowers (again). This time looking at two properties we take for granted and don’t seem to include in learning outcomes: Attitudes and Behaviours. I’m going to argue that these are as important as developing Skills or Cognitive Abilities. In particular, that they are necessary aspects of being […]

  • Reducing carbon from older buildings: the need for holistic heritage approaches or… hot water bottles, curtains and lifecycle carbon

    Reducing carbon from older buildings: the need for holistic heritage approaches or… hot water bottles, curtains and lifecycle carbon

    My research is investigating ways to reduce carbon emissions from residential heritage buildings while retaining their heritage values. It is generally acknowledged that many more buildings can be considered heritage buildings than merely those designated in planning as listed or in conservation areas. It is unclear how many buildings fall into the ‘heritage category’ but it […]