Climate Experts take aim at glass-fronted skyscrapers

Climate Experts take aim at glass-fronted skyscrapers

Architects and climate experts have voiced their concern over the construction of glass-fronted skyscrapers due to their impact on climate change.

The glass creates a greenhouse effect, trapping the heat and resulting in a large amount of energy being needed to cool down the building. This is concerning to climate scientists as air conditioning accounts for approximately 14% of all energy use now – double what it was in 2000.

The prevalence of glass in the design of skyscrapers can be seen across London, and cities across the world, due to its striking effect favoured by architects and their clients.

Simon Sturgis, an advisor to the government and the Greater London Authority, commented that “if you’re building a greenhouse in a climate emergency, that’s a pretty off thing to do to say the least”. He went on to declare that all glass-fronted skyscrapers should be banned.

In April of this year, New York mayor Bill de Blasio declared a ban on all glass-fronted skyscrapers and wanted to force developers to retrofit existing buildings to make them more energy efficient. This was later clarified to mean excessive use of glass and steel.

Sadiq Khan has ruled out such a ban for London, however the new version of the London Plan due to take effect next spring will require construction firms to assess a building’s energy use over its whole—life cycle, and Sturgis hopes that scrutiny from investors will force commercial tenants to consider the environmental impact of their building.

Elmhurst Energy Consultancy welcomes any changes that reduce a building’s energy use and environmental impact. We work with many clients within the built environment to achieve compliance with local building regulations. If you have a new build project in mind, our team of experienced consultants would be happy to talk you through the compliance process and advise you how to best proceed. You can contact the team on 01455 883 259 or email:

Article published 6th July 2019

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