DECADE: is the only green building the one that already exists? reflections

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In 2015 A&DS celebrated 10 years and following a series of 10 events on 10 key topics a publication of reflections was published at the end on 2015. Throughout 2016 – the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design – we will -re-publish extracts from the publication on each topic. First up – Retrofit.

The role of the existing, sitting alongside the new, is paramount in creating successful places. But in the recent past, a piecemeal approach to improving the performance of existing buildings to address energy targets has resulted in questionable decisions – from wholesale demolitions to uncoordinated insulation of existing post-war housing stock – often without input from construction professionals or building occupants.

Notwithstanding, we have to meet EU, UK and Scottish Climate and Energy Legislation, including an EU Energy Efficiency Directive requiring the establishment of long-term strategies for mobilising investment in the renovation of all existing buildings (public and private; domestic and non-domestic).

There are also societal pressures. 945,000 households in Scotland are predicted to be in fuel poverty by 2016 – 40% of Scottish homes – and the investment cost of alleviating this would be £7.4 billion/£7,800 per property.

So why is this important to A&DS?

Over the last ten years, housing has been a key issue for A&DS – from issues around placemaking and involvement in Scotland’s first Housing Expo in Inverness, to our role in policies such as Designing Streets and the new Place Standard. We also participated in the Scottish Government’s Sustainable Housing Strategy Group, which addressed housing needs, fuel poverty and climate change, and provided an opportunity to explore economic, environmental and social sustainability impacts of housing and housing supply from new ways of delivery, to new funding models; to skills and training needs.

A key output from the SHSG was the Housing Futures Report. This will spawn a plethora of housing activity over the next few years, which we’ve been invited to contribute to at a variety of levels.

Changing attitudes to ‘ordinary’ existing buildings is about more than complying with legislation – it is about changing our relationship with how we shape and use the places we live in and what they mean to us.

Retrofit Scotland

Architecture and Design Scotland is a key partner in Retrofit Scotland, a collaboration of organisations established to disseminate best practice...

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