How can we ensure that current and future housing stock is adapted to a changing climate?

11:15 Wednesday 29 May


Room S11


Michelagh O’Neill (United Kingdom) 1,2

1 - ClimateXChange; 2 - Edinburgh University

Successful housing policy in Scotland, must address a number of strategic challenges. These include population growth, an increase in single person and older households, ageing housing stock, vacant and derelict land, poor energy efficiency, and social, economic and health inequalities.

The Scottish Government’s vision for housing and regeneration seeks to address these strategic challenges and sets four high level outcomes to do so: a well-functioning housing system; that delivers high quality sustainable homes; that meet people’s needs; and that supports sustainable communities.

Climate change could threaten the delivery of these outcomes in the following ways:

  • More frequent intense rainfall, wind driven rain and high winds/storms causing wind and water penetration damage to the fabric of buildings.
  • Warmer wetter winters affecting internal humidity and the condition of the building and health of its occupants.
  • Hotter drier summers causing problems for water quality and supply, and overheating.
  • An increase in extreme weather and disruptive events such as flooding, droughts, landslides or heatwaves interrupting or limiting access to vital services and impacting on people’s physical and mental health.
  • Sea level rise affecting the viability of coastal communities and coastal infrastructure through flooding and erosion.

This project demonstrates how taking action to adapt to climate change can deliver co-beneficial outcomes for multiple strategic challenges and sets out how adaptation has been considered at different scales, including at regional and plot level. Three case studies will illustrate how incorporating climate change adaptation can ensure that:

  • land allocation for housing is informed by current and future flood risk;
  • houses are built, repaired and upgraded using materials and techniques that are suitable for the current and future climate;
  • house conditions are improved, including adequate insulation and ventilation to ensure that retrofit co-benefits are realised, for example by installing mitigation and adaptation measures together;
  • heating and cooling is affordable for all households;
  • surface water is managed sustainably in ways that enhance the local environment;
  • greenspace provides opportunity to be outdoors and enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle;
  • communities are resilient and have adequate social capital to respond to extreme events;
  • access to vital services is protected; and
  • business, employment and education opportunities are realised.