Sustainable London: Addressing Climate Change in the Capital

Thursday 8 March 2007

Friday 9 March – Saturday 28 April 2007. As the world’s scientists give their starkest warnings yet on the effects of climate change, a major new exhibition at The Building Centre: Sustainable London addresses one of our greatest current concerns, and the challenges this presents for London.

Examining the question: ‘what is a sustainable city?’ the exhibition offers real solutions and creative responses to help us work towards environmental sustainability in the Capital.

London’s unique challenges
With the population predicted to increase by an estimated 700,000 by 2016 – nearly 10% more people will be living and working in the city. Much of the Capital’s infrastructure and building stock is over a century old. London produces around 20 million tonnes of waste per year, and is the UK’s highest emitter of carbon dioxide per square kilometre. The average water consumption is around 161 litres, per person per day - the challenge for London is immense. Climate change is a global issue, and all cites need to find decisive and fast solutions if our lives are not going to be changed irrevocably by its effects.

Andrew Scoones, Director of the Building Centre comments: “Sustainable London demonstrates how we are meeting these challenges positively and head on, through ideas, strategy and planning. The development of low and zero carbon projects across London will accelerate innovation, creating shared knowledge on how to design and construct the kind of communities and buildings that will be essential to meet the long-term challenge of fighting climate change in urban areas.”

In 2012, London will be in the international spotlight as the Olympic City. This will be an opportunity to show the world the established and successful projects that work towards making the Capital sustainable. Focusing on five key areas - energy, transport, waste, water and ecology, the planned projects include: 

The Elephant and Castle Masterplan has been developed by Southwark Council to ensure that the regeneration proposals meet the long term needs of the residents. A framework has been developed by a multidisciplinary professional development team including: Foster and Partners, Jan Gehl, and Space Syntax. Key features of the development include the creation of 5,300 new homes, two new parks and the adoption of innovative measures to deal with energy, transport and waste.

The Beacon, a proposed wind turbine at 40 metres high, the Y-shaped structure would strike a handsome figure along the Capital’s waterways and major public spaces. The Beacon has been specifically designed to reach above London’s tall buildings and to maximise on the strong breezes that are currently an untapped energy source.

Summer temperatures in London have risen more over the last 30 years than in any other European capital city – according to WWF report. A design originally developed for the Athens Olympics could offer the Capital a solution. The Cooling Tower is a mobile, fabric structure that is pumped full of helium, inflating the top of the tower high above the Capital to reach the clean, unpolluted air. Water is then pumped up small veins within the membrane of the fabric, which then evaporates through small holes drawing clean air down towards the ground and cooling the immediate area by 12 degrees.

A renovation and extension programme of The London Transport Museum has been developed to resolve the environmental problems and guarantee the future of this well-loved national treasure. The museum’s collection is largely placed under single glazed roof, this creates severe solar heat gain and damages the exhibits, alongside plans for new ventilation and to re-display the exhibits, a new large scale solar panel system will provide 16% of the museums energy needs.

Current and future good practice
The exhibition explores intelligent and innovative solutions for meeting the Capital’s future needs through good practice with new technologies. A display of sustainable technologies from solar panels to fuel cells will be on show alongside the exhibition.

Key facts of Sustainable London:
• The urban heat island effect means that temperatures in the centre of the city can be up to 5 degrees higher than in the suburbs.
• 40-80 MW of potential wind energy has been identified in London. 
• Only 13 percent of our household waste is recycled.
• Biomass is capable of delivering 13% of London’s energy use.
• An investment of £8 billion is required to meet London’s 2026 carbon targets.
• Water supply is such an issue that proposals have been made to open a desalination plant in Newham, east London.
• Collection of rain and ‘grey water’ recycling is still only standard practice in homes with excellent sustainable ratings.
• 100,000m2 of green roof exist in London – which helps to reduce the urban heat island effect.
• The Congestion Charge in central London has reduced CO2 emissions from road transport by 16 per cent.
• The introduction of both hybrid diesel-electric and hydrogen fuelled buses would significantly reduce C02 emissions.

ZERO CARBON – Design Proposals for Gallions Park (NLA hosted exhibition in association with the London Development Agency) is at the NLA Cafe Gallery from 9 March - 14 April 2007. Gallions Park is the first zero carbon development promoted by the London Development Agency. The exhibition will showcase design proposals from the recent competition held to select a developer to build 200 new homes. Gallions Park is located at the eastern end of the Royal Albert Dock. A key project for the regeneration of London’s dockland, it will show that zero carbon developments are commercially and financially viable. It will act as a catalyst for the future delivery of low energy development across London and the Thames Gateway – fulfilling the Mayor’s commitment to large-scale zero carbon development.

Breakfast talks and afternoon seminar programme
Breakfast talks and series of afternoon seminars will accompany the exhibition, providing a forum for the public to join the debate with expert speakers.

Breakfast talks programme:

Wednesday, 14 March – 25 April 
Confirmed speakers: 
14 March: Charles Secrett, Visit London
21 March: Allan Jones, MBE, London Climate Change Agency
28 March: Thomas Briault, Olympic Delivery Authority
4 April: Gerry Acher and Andrew Tucker, London Climate Change Partnership
11 April: Alex Bax, Greater London Authority
12 April: Chris Horn, Project Director, Elephant and Castle Development Team
18 April: Pooran Desai, Sustainability Director, BioRegional Quintain; James Moody, Managing Director, Crest Nicholson (Eastern); Ian Taylor, Partner, Feilden Clegg Bradley
25 April: Dan Epstein, English Partnerships and Rob Clarke, First Base

Seminar programme:

Monday 12 March, 3.00pm – 7.00pm
Hydrogen & Fuel Cells
A one-off, half-day seminar looking at the role Hydrogen and fuel cells can play in tackling climate change in transport, power and buildings.

Friday 16 March, 8.30 - 10.30am
Towards Zero Energy
New materials and products for tackling climate change. In association with Product Innovation in Architecture (PIA)

Thursday 22 March, 6.30pm
The Engineering Club: Rammed Earth
Engineered solutions in Modern Earth Construction

Monday 26 March, 4.00pm – 7.00pm
A seminar looking at one of the key topics of debate driving the development of sustainable communities in the city. Produced in association with Urbed and Design for Homes. Speakers include Sir Peter Hall and June Barnes, group CEO of East Thames Housing Group.

Thursday 29 March, 3.00 – 7.00pm
Keeping Cool
A one-off half-day seminar examining how we can adapt to higher temperatures without adding to the causes of climate change.

Wednesday 4 April, 6.30pm
A presentation on wind power in the city by Marks Barfield Architects and XCO2

Thursday 17 April, 10.00-5.00pm
CHP & Communities
A full day seminar looking at CHP and heat networks and how these contribute to a modern sustainable city. Produced in association with CHPA

Thursday 19 April, 6.30pm
The Engineering Club: An Inconvenient Truth
Screening of Al Gore’s seminal film, followed by discussion and debate

Monday 23 April, 3.00pm
The High Performance Workplace
A seminar that examines the modern office space, design and attributes that create high productivity alongside low running costs.

Venue: Main Gallery & Launch Pad Gallery, 
The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London WC1
Telephone: 020 7692 4000
Opening hours: Open Mon-Fri 9am-6pm / Sat 10am-5pm
Closed Sundays
Admission: Free
Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road or Goodge Street
Further details: 


Notes to editors:
The Building Centre is an independent forum where all sectors working in built environment can come together to share best practice in planning, design and technology. It hosts a number of industry organisations to further these aims. It is a place that the public can visit learn about the industry and join the debate.

The Building Centre services include: exhibitions, seminars, product galleries, information services, a bookshop, conference facilities and Specifinder -an online product directory.

New London Architecture (NLA) at the Building Centre is an exhibition centre dedicated to the future of the built environment in London that is open to the public free of charge 6 days a week. The Capital is undergoing a period of massive change and NLA is a place where everyone - professionals, politicians and the public - can find out and get involved in what is happening to the city. NLA has over 2000 visitors a week to the public exhibitions, events, talks and lectures that are organised to encourage constant debate, learning and networking across the profession and local communities.

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