Advent of Climate Change and Resultant Energy Related Obsolescence in the Built Environment

Talib Butt, Bob Giddings, Justine Cooper, Boniface Umeadi, Keith Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


By 2050s the UK is expected to experience: increase in average summer mean temperatures (predicted to rise by upto 3.5°C) and frequency of heat-waves / very hot days; and increases in winter precipitation (of up to 20%) and possibly more frequent severe storms. Also, in 2050s approximately 70% of UK buildings will have been built before 2010, which due to aforesaid climate change factors will suffer from various types of obsolescence – including energy related obsolescence. Thus, if sustainable built environment is to accommodate climate change and the investment in these buildings (which was approximately £129 billions in 2007 in the UK alone) is to be protected, action needs to be taken now to assess the vulnerability and resilience of the existing UK built environment; and plan adaptation / mitigation interventions, that allow to continue to support the quality of life and well-being of UK citizens. The situation with other countries around the globe is not dissimilar, although there may be some variation in nature and quantity of climate change, and the way climate change impacts manifest themselves in relation to the resources and governance of a given country. Failure to act now will mean that the costs of tackling climate change in future will be much higher, jeopardising not only environmental but also economic sustainability. In view of these concerns, this paper will focus on obsolescence that is associated with energy and climate change. The climate change factors that shall be specifically covered include global warming, flooding, carbon emissions, carbon cut targets, environmental legislation and building regulations. Obsolescence types are categorised into direct and indirect obsolescence groups. Moreover, although the paper will mention both generation and consumption of energy, the later shall be more specifically addressed due to accelerating demand of power as well as pressures for efficient energy consumption in buildings to cut carbon emissions. Finally, in light of to date literature review, the paper will emphasise requirement of a fundamental framework for identification and categorisation of energy related obsolescence in the built environment, which shall attract interests for further investigation from both researchers and practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-224
JournalSmart Innovation, Systems and Technologies
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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