Climate change is at the top of the construction agenda and it is now not only important to achieve high levels of energy efficiency and sustainability, but architects must also consider how to mitigate the impact of natural hazards. Here, Heath Hindmarch, Chairman of PSP Architectural, discusses the part facades can play in not only making buildings architecturally appealing but also resilient.
We are experiencing more extreme periods of heat, increased rainfall and violent storms - now buildings in the UK not only have to be airtight to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption but also be able to stand up to the rigours of extreme weather conditions.
From energy efficiency to climate change mitigation facades have a dual role to play - in addition to aesthetics, robust systems have the ability to meaningfully contribute to the building envelope. Our systems at PSP Architectural have been CWCT tested, ensuring they meet rigorous industry standards and are resilient against extreme weather conditions.
The business case for adapting buildings for climate change is strong. A milder climate will reduce the durability of building materials - wetter winters and sudden heavy downpours make tough rainscreen systems even more important. Our rainscreen facade systems provide an aesthetically pleasing, robust external envelope solution that is fully drained and ventilated, which means they are designed to allow ventilation and drainage to the wall cavity. Our well-designed panels allow airflow through the cavity to assist with water removal which then drains out at the base and allows for thermal movement.
We provide a comprehensive range of integrated metal rainscreen facade systems that can be adapted to suit specific needs and provide a solution for almost any building type. With increasing temperatures, it is essential that the correct support grid system is specified to allow for thermal and structural movement. Both standard and specialised rainwater systems are available and can include anti-climb pipes and fascias. All systems are manufactured to meet stringent requirements for Public Sector schemes where aesthetics, resistance to vandalism and security are all key requirements of the specification.
Climate change is a major concern and we all have a part to play in reducing our impact on the environment. The higher the amount of carbon emissions, the warmer the world becomes, and the frequency of extreme weather events increases - it is as simple as that. The UK leads the world when it comes to tackling climate change, cutting emissions further than any other G7 country on a per person basis - 42% since 1990. Recommended by the Committee on Climate Change, the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to reduce emissions to net zero and end our contribution to global warming by 2050. In support of this target, the UK Green Building Council has launched a major new programme in the UK to drive the transition to a net zero carbon built environment.
PSP Architectural is fully committed to continual improvement to enhance our environmental performance. We work with consultants and regulatory authorities to seek advice and assistance to ensure our Environmental Management Programme is delivered to its full potential.
Metal cladding systems and their associated components contribute significantly to sustainable design concepts thanks to their high recycled content and recyclability. Metal has many attributes which makes it the material of choice for both new and refurbishment construction projects including energy efficiency, low maintenance, durability, versatility and a striking appearance.
Whilst much has been written about the impact of climate change, there is limited research on how we must adapt our buildings to withstand these variations. Clients increasingly recognise the issue but, in relation to other business or operational concerns, climate change effects still seem too distant to influence immediate change. PSP Architectural has researched and developed rapid and robust building envelope rainscreen facades systems that are available now to future-proof buildings against the extremes of climate change.