Net zero adaptation - a review of built environment sustainability assessment tools

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

In the context of the built environment there has been a greater focus of research and policy on climate mitigation efforts, compared with adaptation. Buildings designed today will likely need upgrades within their lifetime if adaptation is not adequately considered.


There is currently no widely adopted system for assessing building adaptation in design and clearer guidance is needed. By way of example, a review of three established, geographically diverse building sustainability assessment tools (BREEAM, Green Star and LEED) demonstrates the extent that adaptation to climate change and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions have been integrated.


Despite recent assessment updates, emphasis on action pertaining to climate issues is heavily weighted towards mitigation; the integration of adaptation considerations is limited and in most cases not mandatory.


This state of play in assessment tools is reflective of wider shortfalls in meaningfully addressing climate change risk in asset design. To ensure that asset investment considers climate-related impacts in a holistic manner, better mechanisms for achieving an integrated perspective of mitigation and adaptation are required.


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This article is reproduced here through the kind permission of Amie Shuttleworth member of the Red Links Sustainability Consortium and independent consultant. The original publication is source: Amie Shuttleworth and Kristen MacAskill 2021 Environ. Res.: Infrastruct. Sustain. 1 023002

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