AJ - Retrofirst

  • February 2021
  • Kieron Peaty
retro first

Whether we like it or not there is an escalating climate crisis and as architects we must accept that we work in the construction industry, which is a sector of the economy that is accountable for almost all of the planet’s cement consumption, 26% of aluminium output, 50% of steel production and 25% of all plastics. It is therefore fair to say that the industry’s carbon emissions are sky-high and while the UK construction industry specifically has much to be proud of, the reality is that it produces no less than 35-40% of the country’s total emissions. And while there are numerous reasons as to why the construction industry consumes so much, the principal cause is the wasteful economic model that often involves tearing down existing structures and buildings, disposing of the resulting materials in haphazard fashion and then rebuilding from scratch.

With the above in mind and as part of our ongoing commitment to helping combat the challenges posed by the Climate Emergency, S40 has signed up to a new campaign launched by the Architects' Journal. The Retrofirst (£) campaign proposes a major reduction in the consumption of raw materials and energy in the built environment through the adoption of circular economy principles. It opposes the unnecessary and wasteful demolition of buildings and promotes low-carbon retrofit as the default option.

There are many threads to this topic and rather than discuss them at length here, we will instead provide further information to all clients, existing and prosepctive, in due course.

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