Climate change is arguably the greatest environmental crisis humanity has faced. In the past few decades, countries have scrambled to prepare plans to mitigate its impacts. This continues with important forums such as COP26.

Tom Hopton

Tom Hopton

From deadly flooding in Germany to wildfires in California, the impacts of a changing climate are already very real. The UK government’s 2050 net zero target cannot come soon enough, but to make a genuine difference we need to accelerate with a more considered approach.

One of the ways the built environment can do this is by rethinking how we approach technology in our new and existing assets. Technology and data can play an important role and we recommend that building owners and the industry as a whole take the following key steps.

Design for the future now. It is clear that performance targets will need to shift to curb the impacts on our climate. The technology exists for us to achieve more ambitious goals, so consider how you can go above and beyond.

Green technology_credit_shutterstock_laymanzoom_1222262665

Source: Shutterstock / laymanzoom

Consider the potential of technology. If an integrated approach to technology is considered and incorporated early in the design process, it can improve a building’s value by reducing capital expenditure, increasing revenue and lowering operational cost and carbon.

Think beyond energy. Do not miss opportunities to enrich building users’ experience, wellbeing and productivity. Consider how harvesting data on space needs and people movement can be used to optimise for future patterns of use.

Upskill the industry faster. We need more consulting engineers with the skills to help clients navigate this fast-changing technology landscape. The value of technology should be emphasised to all stakeholders throughout the process of design, procurement, construction and operations to prevent missed opportunities to digitally transform buildings for a more resilient future.

By being more ambitious and meeting these challenges we can, through technology, unlock the true potential value in our built environment more quickly.

Tom Hopton is an associate director at Buro Happold