Building for a Changing Climate : The Challenge for Construction, Planning and Energy book cover
1st Edition

Building for a Changing Climate
The Challenge for Construction, Planning and Energy

ISBN 9781138965171
Published April 27, 2016 by Routledge
200 Pages

USD $54.95

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Book Description

There is now a practically universal consensus that our climate is changing rapidly, and as a direct result of human activities. While there is extensive debate about what we can do to mitigate the damage we are causing, it is becoming increasingly clear that a large part of our resources will have to be directed towards adapting to new climatic conditions, with talk of survivability replacing sustainability as the new and most pressing priority. Nowhere is this more evident than in the built environment – the stage on which our most important interactions with climatic conditions are played out.

In this frank yet pervasively positive book, sustainable architecture guru Peter Smith lays out his vision of how things are likely to change, and what those concerned with the planning, design and construction of the places we live and work can and must do to avert the worst impacts. Beginning with the background to the science and discussion of the widely feared graver risks not addressed by the politically driven IPCC reports, he moves on to examine the challenges we will face and to propose practical responses based on real world experiences and case studies taking in flood and severe weather protection, energy efficient retrofitting, distributed power generation and the potential for affordable zero carbon homes. He ends with a wider discussion of options for future energy provision. This will be a provocative, persuasive and – crucially – practical read for anyone concerned with the measures we must take now to ensure a climate-proofed future for humanity.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. Prepare for Four degrees  2. Probable Future Impacts of Climate Change  3. The UN Carbon Trading Mechanism  4. Setting the pace towards climate-proof housing  5. Future-proof Housing  6. Building-integrated solar electricity  7. Sun, Earth, Wind and Water  8. Eco-towns: opportunity or oxymoron?  9. The Housing Inheritance  10. Non-domestic buildings  11. Community Buildings  12. Conventional energy  13. Coal: black gold or black hole?  14. Filling the gap; utility-scale renewables  15. The Age Beyond Oil  16. The Thread of Hope

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Peter F. Smith is Special Professor in Sustainable Energy, University of Nottingham, and former Vice President of the RIBA for Sustainable Development. He is the author of many books on architecture and the environment, including Sustainability at the Cutting Edge (Architectural Press/Elsevier 2007).


Peter Smith has constantly drawn our attention to the global environmental crisis and put forward clear recommendations as to what action needs to be taken. Climate change is threatening our continued existence. In this book, he argues that we should already be factoring in the impact of a possible increase in global temperatures by designing buildings which employ robust construction techniques for longer life spans. I fully endorse his view and recommend this book particularly to all those concerned with the effect of climate change on design. Richard Rogers

What amounts to a revolution in building design and construction is needed to adapt to higher temperatures and climate extremes; also to ensure much higher energy efficiency. Peter Smith not only urges the need for change but, from his wide knowledge and experience, tells us how to change. Anyone connected with buildings will find this book an invaluable mine of information. Sir John Houghton FRS

Should act as a clarion call to all those interested in climate-proofing for the future and will no doubt be a useful manual to those involved in all parts of the construction industry, from the individual working on a single building to those involved in large-scale urban developments. Planning Perspectives

This useful revised edition is a call to action - let's hope that architects are able to rise to the challenge. Blanche Cameron, RESET Director and Trustee

Useful for all who have an interest in design and planning. It manages to detail a potentially catastrophic future for the planet and yet still allow us to retain some hope ... Smith makes clear that adapting and innovating will be essential for the challenging times ahead. Context

This is an excellent, well written book that deserves to be on the reading list of all Built Environment University programmes as this is hopefully where it will have the greatest impact on tomorrow's innovators. Association of Building Engineers

Authoritative and comprehensive ... I recommend it as an informative and thought-provoking book, which also offers remedies for new build, future-proofing existing buildings and moving forward on energy. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers

Peter Smith provides a grounded and structured introduction to the topic of climate change and the ways in which it is set to change our design of the built environment.  It will be particularly useful to undergraduates as well as postgraduate students of the built environment who want to understand the basic relevant design principals set in the overall context of climate change research.  Carlos Calderon, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design