Low-carbon building design can also go hand-in-hand with features that help mitigate the existing effects of climate change, such as high temperatures and heavy rain. Green roofs and walls that insulate carbon dioxide and reduce air pollution also help insulate buildings, reduce energy requirements and absorb rainwater, reducing the risk of flooding.
Improving the energy efficiency of buildings is crucial. This means designing to reduce the energy required to heat, cool and light them. Sturdy thermal insulation materials play an important role, such as sealed doors and windows, LED lighting, minimized glass and well-designed directions.
How we obtain and use energy consumes natural resources and emits greenhouse gases. For example, heating accounts for more than one-third of Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, the transition from burning coal and natural gas to renewable low-carbon energy sources such as solar, hydroelectric, wind and geothermal energy has already begun.
Local energy can also greatly reduce emissions. Instead of relying on natural gas or the grid to generate electricity at sites outside of London, energy is generated and supplied locally, such as through solar panels or district heating networks.
District heating (generating heat in a centralized location and distributing heat locally through an insulated pipe system) can use fossil fuels, but increasingly uses renewable low-carbon energy. The latest statistics for London are in 201
The transition to local energy networks usually requires the establishment of energy centers within the city. The new Bunhill 2 Energy Center in Islington expands the existing district heating network. It was created on the site of the Tube ventilation shaft, using waste heat from the Northern Line to sustainably heat nearby buildings. Designed by Cullinan Studio, it stands out with copper tones and intricately patterned metal appearance. Another district heating network center, the Greenwich Peninsula Low-Carbon Energy Center, is also celebrated in the cityscape, featuring a striking geometric silver smoke designed by British artist Conrad Shawcross tower.