By 2050, more than two-thirds of the world’s population are expected to live and work in urban areas. Urban planning is vital to help cities withstand the very real and immediate challenges of climate change, and to be able to recover quickly from extreme events such as intense downpours, runaway wildfires and rapidly spreading epidemics that continue to put urban populations under increasing pressure.
But there is good news. However gloomy the future might seem, we have both the technology and know-how to start to build and refurbish our cities to make them more resilient and sustainable. Municipalities are already implementing innovative solutions, and new technologies are being invented all the time. We simply need to make the decision to start reinventing our communities and make the new ones as climate and people friendly as possible.
Using sustainable design practices and considerations for every building going forward can help make future cities more resilient, and improve the quality of life for the inhabitants.
Buildings make a difference
On a global scale, buildings account for around one-third of global energy consumption and 20 percent of CO2 emissions. In Europe, buildings account for 40 percent of the total primary energy consumption. More than 36 percent of Europe’s total greenhouse gas emissions are generated in buildings, through heating and lighting, water supply, air conditioning and construction. To future-proof our urban areas, it is crucial that builders and architects look creatively at ways to reduce buildings’ carbon footprint and tackle climate change.
Energy efficiency renovation is one of the main ways that cities can be made greener and even more compatible with the increasing urbanisation and the demand for healthy indoor environments. After all., saving one kilowatt hour of energy through stone wool insulation results in 480 and 220 times less carbon emissions than generating that same kilowatt hour from coal and gas respectively.