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Urban Building, Planning and Design sector

Traditional Japanese A-frame house
Traditional Japanese A-frame house

Not too long ago, building practices were almost entirely a cultural process, based on tradition. Building styles were developed over time to suit the local climate and building techniques made use of available, often local, building materials. Since World War II many countries have established and set standards of construction for safety.

Weather - related events such as extreme cold, extreme heat, extreme wind, heavy snow conditions effect the efficiency, running costs of buildings and their failures. So there is good reason for using climate services to define building standards and performance.

Modern Buildings

Building construction in the 20th century was characterized by widespread adoption of concrete, metals and glass as basic materials. Reinforced concrete provided strength and glass permitted light to enter without the nuisance of wind, dust and insects, etc. Such construction methods are common from the tropics to the near-polar regions. The thermal limitations of these materials have largely been countered by the use of artificial air conditioning – cooling in the hotter lands and heating where it is colder. On the downside, cement manufacture and air conditioning are both major contributors to the build-up of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, and hence to global warming. The building industry and its design and construction methods offer significant potential for reduction in the future contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Research is being carried out in many parts of the world to identify building designs that are more energy efficient. In many instances, architects are reverting to indigenous designs that had been discarded in favour of imported mass-production building methods. All these require the past and the projected climate characteristics.

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