Zero-carbon London not ‘just possible but necessary’, say industry experts

Wednesday 28 February 2018

Shirley Rodirgues, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, was joined by industry experts to kick-off the first event as part of the new NLA Sustainability Programme. The PechaKucha called for visions of London ar 2050 – a zero-carbon, greener city, that respects the environment as well as the wellbeing of communities.

We asked the built environment community to propose their ideas on how to achieve goals set in recent announcements from the Mayor of London to make the capital carbon neutral by 2050, including a commitment to extend London’s green cover to 50%. Contributors had to consider the increasing environmental challenges, from pressure on resources and energy, to the threat of climate change, air pollution and loss of green spaces – and presented their solutions through the Japanese PechaKucha format, quick-fire presentations of 20 image slides with 20 seconds to describe each.

Speakers from National City Park, Elementa, UKGBC, Hoare Lea, LB Haringey, Hilson Moran, AHMM and Crown Estate presented quick-fire ideas to propose their solutions to make London a greener, healthier city by 2050.

Key highlights from the speakers:

-Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, opened the event and highlighted the ambitious targets that the Mayor Sadiq Kahn has set for London, including the road-map on how to get there. This includes measures to make people less reliant on cars, replacing fossil fuels, making new developments zero-carbon, and increasing green infrastructure and green coverage.

-Ben Smith, Director, Energy, Cities and Climate Change, Arup and trustee of National City Park presented the vision for London as the first National City Park, which will mean increasing the green coverage to 50% and highlighting the importance of the connection with the nature for the wellbeing of Londoners.

-Julie Hirigoyen, CEO, UK Green Building Council and Commissioner, London Sustainable Development Commission talked about the importance of leadership, from both the Mayor and the industry. Through collaboration, transparency and information things can change.

-Ashely Bateson, Partner, Hoare Lea, explained how the low-carbon agenda should drive design and construction, and how this might impact what we now think as ‘beautiful’. Smart technologies should play an important role in reducing energy consumption, while an update on infrastructure is very needed if we are to decarbonize the grid. 

-Cllr Joe Goldberg from LB Haringey presented Haringey zero-carbon strategy - a clear commitment from the borough, making the case of local actions on achieving environmental targets, while also balancing with the need to accommodate growth and affordable housing. Retrofit should be a priority for London’s ambitons. 

- Marie-Louise Schembri, Head of Masterplan Energy and Environment Group, Associate Sustainability Consultant, Hilson Moran presented graphical examples of how advances in data analytics can help the building design industry in providing outputs that reduce embodied carbon and emissions.

-Jane Wakiwaka, Sustainability Manager, The Crown Estate talked about the Wild West End as an exemplar project made possible by a strategic approach to ecology, air quality and green infrastructure, all right in the middle of London. A network of green spaces and green roofs to improve biodiversity have also extensive beneficial impacts on health and wellbeing of the people around them.

- Clara Bagenal George, Senior Engineer, ELEMENTA and Mayor’s Design Advocate presented the LETI - the London Energy Transformation Initiative to make London zero-carbon. A task force group that provided evidence-based recommendations for energy policy in London.

-Craig Robertson, Head of Sustainability, AHMM, stated how key it is to work collaboratively across teams and organisations to align our agenda. Happiness should become central in driving the way we design places, while we should stop our ‘obsession of cars’.

 This event launched the NLA Sustainability Programme, which will explore a sustainable future for London throughout the year in a series of events, editorials and social media activities.

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