‘Accelerating decarbonisation in building industry crucial for sustainable future’

Professional architects have said that decarbonising the building industry by improving energy efficiency and deploying other innovative designs for urban development will mitigate the climate crisis and contribute positively to improving people’s lives.
Chair, Admissions Committee, Nigerian Institute of Architect (NIA), Lagos chapter, Leke Nadi (left); General Secretary, Moniba Odunlami; NIA Lagos State chapter,C airman, David Majekodunmi; Vice-Chairman, Abiodun Fatuyi and Public Relation Officer, Dejoke Amusat at a press conference on Lagos Architect Forum 2024 in Lagos.. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU
Chair, Admissions Committee, Nigerian Institute of Architect (NIA), Lagos chapter, Leke Nadi (left); General Secretary, Moniba Odunlami; NIA Lagos State chapter,Chairman, David Majekodunmi; Vice-Chairman, Abiodun Fatuyi and Public Relation Officer, Dejoke Amusat at a press conference on Lagos Architect Forum 2024 in Lagos.. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU

Professional architects have said that decarbonising the building industry by improving energy efficiency and deploying other innovative designs for urban development will mitigate the climate crisis and contribute positively to improving people’s lives.
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They expressed worries about problems caused by poor-quality buildings and urged architects not to repeat such mistakes but prioritise innovative and climate resilience designs.

The experts said there was a need to make the architecture profession fairer, more diverse and more inclusive to embrace digital technologies, adding that collaboration and learning between Lagos and the United Kingdom could achieve a net zero-carbon building standard by 2050.
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President, Royal Institute of British Architects, (RIBA) Mr Muyiwa Oki, led the call at the Lagos Architects Forum 2024, themed: ‘Lagos Resilience and Climate Adaptation’, organised by the Lagos Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA).

Oki, who was the keynote speaker, said meeting the needs of communities will involve creating new buildings and accepting the associated carbon impacts, said, “There will also be opportunities to restore, adapt or repair existing buildings and structures to decarbonise the built environment through retrofitting.”

He said retrofitting homes to ensure they protect the health of the most vulnerable, reduces the strain on the construction industry, as modern construction currently accounts for almost 40 per cent of global energy-related carbon emissions.

“While the pace of development is slowing in the global north, here in the global south, many countries are contending with the major social and environmental challenges that come with rapid urbanisation. The profession is built on learning from precedents, and what we inherited from our forebears. That’s a way to operate. It should be noted that this must be a paramount consideration to avoid building collapse and any other related tragedy,” Oki explained.

He challenged architects to improve the practice for young architects when they join the profession by providing healthy and inspiring space to flourish.

Oki said: “The new generation of architects needs to be the disruptors – the agents of change. If they are to fulfill their potential, they must be supported to do so.”

Chairman, NIA Lagos chapter, David Majekodunmi, said as professionals, architects hold a profound responsibility to shape the built environment in a manner that fosters resilience and sustainability, particularly in the face of the pressing challenges posed by climate change.

Majekodunmi said: “Lagos stands at the forefront of these challenges, grappling with rapid urbanisation, infrastructure strain, and environmental vulnerability. Yet, it is also a city brimming with potential, innovation, and resilience. We are confronting the very essence of our profession – the art of creating spaces that not only withstand the test of time but also nurture the well-being of its inhabitants and the natural environment.

“Let us harness the power of innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and community engagement to create a more resilient and adaptive Lagos for generations to come.”

NIA President, Mrs. Mobolaji Adeniyi, noted that Lagos, with its expansive coastlines, presents unique challenges posed by climate change with rising sea levels, increased frequency of extreme weather events, and coastal erosion, which threaten the city. She said as architects, it is pivotal to design and construct buildings that are not only resilient to these challenges but also mitigate their impact on the environment.
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According to her, architectural design processes must prioritise sustainable practices, utilise materials that are environmentally friendly and resilient to harsh weather conditions, adding that incorporating passive design strategies such as natural ventilation and daylighting can reduce energy consumption and enhance occupant comfort, even in face of power outages or extreme heat.

To her, the construction methods should prioritise durability and adaptability, ensuring that buildings withstand the test of time and evolve environmental conditions.

She said by embracing innovative construction techniques and materials, structures that contribute to the resilience and sustainability of the city, could be built.

On his part, an environmental activist, Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, stressed that professionals have the responsibility to protect the people by increasing vegetation and prioritising materials with lower emissivity rates, which will make the communities safer and more resilient to climate change.

To cope with increasing temperatures in a sustainable way, he said cities should use nature-based cooling solutions that reduce air temperature through well-articulated green and water spaces, channel wind flows, green building facades and roofs.
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