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Healthy buildings expert: ‘Homes cause hurricanes’

(EurActiv, 4 Oct 2018) At the Healthy Buildings Day (HBD) in Brussels last week (26 September), academic experts painted a vivid picture of how the edifices we spend our days in shape our lives and the planet itself.

Buildings are a massive source of greenhouse gas emissions: in Europe, they are responsible for over a third of our polluting output and, globally, a quarter of emissions come from them.

That is why Professor Fionn Stevenson of the University of Sheffield kicked off her HBD presentation by warning that our “homes cause hurricanes”, linking their emissions to the ever-present spectre of climate change and its impact on weather patterns.

Climate scientists are surprised that the predicted impacts of climate change are already manifesting themselves, including more frequent Atlantic hurricanes hitting the eastern seaboard of the United States and unseasonably hot temperatures across Europe.

In Europe especially, a dry summer this year was responsible for deadly wildfires and the agricultural sector was hard hit by the climatic conditions.

Stevenson highlighted how buildings regularly have to deal with “unprecedented” temperatures that exceed 35 degrees Celsius, despite the fact they may have been built with lower figures in mind. She added that architects now have to make sure they are resilient to things like flooding.

Given the event was geared heavily towards the healthiness of our buildings, Stevenson explained that healthy homes and offices must maintain their energy efficiency or risk undoing the healthy aspects because of the effect of climate change.

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EurActiv, 4 Oct 2018: Healthy buildings expert: ‘Homes cause hurricanes’