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Design for future climate: Adapting buildings competition

The Design for future climate (D4FC) competition was set up to encourage the incorporation of climate change adaptation in the design of real construction and refurbishment projects in the UK. Funded by the Technology Strategy Board, the two phases allocated £5 million to approximately 50 projects.

The competition outputs include:

  • The business case for adapting buildings to climate change: Niche or mainstream? summary and full reports.
  • Design for future climate report, highlighting the impacts of climate change and adaptation options to improve buildings’ resilience.
  • Case study factsheets – an overview of adaptation measures considered in planning, design, construction and management of the projects (web pages and pdfs).
  • Full reports – additional information, images and analysis of the impacts and adaptation options examined, and their implementation (pdfs).

About the D4FC competition

The D4FC programme aimed to build climate adaptation expertise within the UK building profession, and to provide evidence of the commercial advantages of considering future climate adaptation in both new build and refurbishment projects.

The projects looked at three areas of climate change impacts:

  • Thermal comfort and energy performance – warmer winters may reduce the need for heating, but keeping cool in summer without increasing energy use and carbon emissions could be difficult.
  • Construction – resistance to extreme conditions and the behaviour of materials.
  • Managing water – both too much and too little.

The case studies illustrate the lessons learned on improving the resilience of buildings and show the impact that embedded adaptation strategies can have on design decisions.

Main messages drawn from the competition entries:

  • The market for design services to adapt buildings to future climate change remains very limited
  • The limited market is not an excuse for building design professionals to do nothing
  • Construction clients risk procuring stranded assets if they do not heed climate change risks
  • The Government must signal that adaptation in the built environment is a critical issue
  • At present, the construction and property industries have no adaptation plan to tackle climate change
  • Clients and professionals urgently need educating in climate change adaptation for buildings
  • There is a need for a programme of monitoring and evaluating the performance of climate adapted buildings.