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ENERGY MANAGEMENT & SUSTAINABILITY


WORKPLACES CAN PREPARE


s hard to think of an area of our lives that won’t be impacted by a rise in temperatures. The workplace is O of British Council for Offices (BCO).


Offices should feature new cooling systems employ chilled ceilings and beams that use chilled water and consume far less energy. In addition, offices should be designed to be kept cool through increased ventilation that makes use of the cleaner city air that will follow the (likely) mass adoption of electric cars.


Unfortunately, freak weather events will become more common and, in the UK, this will mean an increased number of floods. This means that some future workplaces may need to be built on plinths, raising them above the water below. We may also see the development of intelligent surrounding landscapes that absorb flood damage, a sort of mini-version of the ‘Big U’ system currently being built in Lower Manhattan.


While the UK may not be at risk of major hurricanes and tornadoes, we will likely experience increased winds. To prepare for this, workplaces will need to feature protected entrances. Taller buildings will also need to feature local protection for passers-by who will be exposed to the increased winds that result from skyscrapers.


What’s more, financiers can no longer avoid the future impact of climate change. Investment should be concentrated on buildings that are prepared for new weather patterns, while insurers should award lower premiums to buildings that feature proper climate resilience. This way, developers are incentivised to plan for our brave new world.


www.tomorrowsfm.com


Remaining optimistic At times, it can be easy to despair. To think that we are doomed to a future of high seas, turbulent weather and baking temperatures. However, this thinking is wrong and unhelpful. I believe that the workplace industry can play a major role in helping to create a future where the worst elements of climate change are avoided, and our new realities are adapted to and overcome.


Our industry’s potential for change is huge. Buildings are responsible for 25% of the UK’s emissions. This sounds like a damning statistic and, to some extent, it is. But it also outlines the impact we could have. By making workplaces more sustainable, we can play a massive part in the UK’s efforts to reach net zero emissions by 2050.


Meanwhile, we must remain realistic and prepare for the more volatile, more hostile climate that will face tomorrow’s workers. Adaptation is not a solution, but it is necessary. It’s important that this change starts now. Today’s cranes are building tomorrow’s workplaces, buildings that will be expected to remain in use well into this century and potentially the next. We don’t know what these decades will look like, but we should do our best to prepare for them.


Overall, we must be both optimistic and realistic. Through ambition and pragmatism, we can ensure that the UK’s workplaces are doing their bit to confront climate change.


www.bco.org.uk/ TOMORROW’S FM | 43


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