Leading engineers and architects are calling for all-glass skyscrapers to be banned as a result of they’re too difficult and expensive to cool.
“If you’re constructing a greenhouse in a climate emergency, it’s a pretty odd factor to do, to say the least,” mentioned Simon Sturgis, an adviser to the government and the Greater London Authority, as well as chairman of the Royal Institute of British Architects sustainability group. “In case you’re utilizing standard glass facades, you want a lot of energy to cool them down, and utilizing plenty of power equates to a lot of carbon emissions.”
Glass-fronted offices, from excessive- profile buildings like the Shard to shopping centers and industrial parks, have change into popular with architects and their shoppers as a result of they create an arresting view in a city skyline, let in a number of natural light and provide great views for those insides. However, the sunlight additionally brings heat, and in sealed buildings, there is nowhere for it to escape to naturally – something which, as Britain sweltered in a record-breaking heatwave last week, will have become apparent to many working inside them.
To avoid this greenhouse impact, air conditioning has been the usual solution. However, that’s problematic in itself. The International Energy Agency estimates that about 40% of world carbon dioxide emissions come from constructing, heating, cooling, and demolishing buildings. Air conditioning is a rising proportion of this: energy used on cooling has doubled since 2000 and accounts for about 14% of all energy use now.