News 07.10.21

COP26: Refurbish & Retrofit

The homes that we live in, the buildings all around us and the architecture of our day-to-day lives, have long been an elephant in the room in the climate conversation. Whether you’re looking for it or not, we’re watching a Climate Emergency unfold: sometimes as gradual changes to the physical world - the weather and the wildlife, around us, and sometimes as extreme weather events of magnitudes beyond those in living memory; at the same time, 38% of the greenhouse gas emissions intensifying this crisis stem from the construction and operation of buildings (RIBA, 2021). The climate for which our buildings were designed is changing in real-time, and unless we urgently decarbonise the construction industry and the millions of buildings already standing, countries will struggle to hit any meaningful climate target.

Despite rising anxieties about climate breakdown, regular climate shocks - disproportionately affecting countries that are the least responsible for historic emissions, and a crescendo of greenwashed political rhetoric, the UK demolishes around 50,000 buildings every year (ECCE, 2021). That works out as 137 of them a day; essentially 1 every 10 minutes. During an overlapping climate crisis, and housing crisis, this is climate action self-sabotage: retrofitting a building instead of erasing then replacing it can save 55-75% of the carbon emissions (Strain, 2017) - this cannot continue.

Building upon Architecture Fringe's 2021 theme of (Un)Learning: as the eyes of the world focus on Glasgow during COP26, join us in challenging this normalised, systemic and wasteful destruction of buildings - spaces where people lived, worked and played, many of which could have been retrofitted for the future. Keep an eye out in Glasgow and Edinburgh for our poster campaign in public places and share its message far and wide, and look for opportunities to support local and national campaigns to retrofit and transform buildings around you. Time is running out to put the brakes on the Climate Crisis, and time is running out for the next building slated for demolition.

50,000 every year, 137 every day, 6 every hour, 1 every 10 minutes.

Ongoing Campaigns to Support:

Action on Empty Homes - Call to Action for a Retrofit Revolution

Architects Climate Action Network - Embodied Carbon Campaign

Architects Climate Action Network: Take action to support RetroFirst!

Architects Journal - RetroFirst

Campaign Against Climate Change - Our Climate Our Homes (impending)

Glasgow Against Closures - Sign the Petition!

Living Rent - Housing Justice is Climate Justice (impending)





ACAN and the Architecture Fringe present COP or Flop? - an evening of laughs, drinks and a good ol’ roast featuring comedian Raymond Mearns.

For the past 26 years 197 nations around the world have met yearly to discuss progress and implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. For those past 26 years carbon emissions have continued to climb to record highs, despite a global pandemic. A continual lack of meaningful action has left us asking the COP a FLOP?

It’s hard not to feel dismayed by extreme weather events, climate injustices and our deteriorating ecology. But amongst the rigmarole of COP - the blatant hypocrisy, empty promises and rogue tweets, there is occasionally humour.

Join us for this evening of drinks featuring a good old fashioned governmental roasting by comedian Raymond Mearns as we try to figure out what the hell is going wrong. This evening will be highly interactive, highly uncensored and highly unpredictable.

Join us! Book your ticket here [FREE].