The imperatives for an energy efficient built environment
This chapter provides a brief introduction to the key background issues related to sustainability in the built environment, primarily those arising from carbon emissions due to the use of fossil fuels. It starts by looking at the principal threats to the global environment and the need to undertake development in a sustainable way. The background issues of global warming and climate change are summarised, together with an outline of the predicted impacts which indicate the scale and urgency of the challenge. The UK targets for limiting carbon emissions are described, together with an indication of recent performance against the targets. In order to show the relevance of these issues for building services design, the carbon impact of the built environment is outlined. An important factor is the processes through which energy is delivered to buildings, including the key issue of energy wastage through conversion and distribution, and other impacts of using fossil fuels.