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George Clarke continues his look back from 2033 at the wonderful house building sector

We know we still have some way to go to be Net-Zero carbon, but we know we have began to turn the ugly gas guzzling tanker into a beautiful hydro and wind powered yacht.

Good quality, green, affordable housing has provided the foundation stone for a sustainable future and we are feeling good about it.

Goods that are transported long distances are moved over land and sea with vehicles that require no fossil fuels.

Our streets and roads have become so much quieter now we have electric powered lorries, buses and cars everywhere.

The silence is golden. All we can hear are kids playing on our safe pedestrianised streets, squares and courtyards mixed with birdsong as our built environment no longer fights with the natural environment.

The planet just couldn’t sustain the relentless global push for “Growth, Growth, Growth”

George Clarke George Clarke Architect, writer, TV presenter and Ecodan Ambassador

A harmonious environment

New buildings and old buildings are beginning to work in harmony with the natural environment. 

An ambitious retrofit scheme launched by the British Government in 2023 has begun to turn our existing housing stock and existing commercial buildings into super green pieces of architecture.

There are no empty building or empty homes anywhere in the UK. They have all be repurposed, recycled and brought back into use.

Our existing buildings aren’t just ecologically ‘green’ with triple glazing, high levels of retrofitted insulation, solar panels, air source heat pumps and intelligent ecological building systems, but they look green too.

Planting, living walls, leaves and flowers are beginning to mature and even our ugliest buildings from our recent past are now being camouflaged in mother nature’s natural cladding.

Healthier and happier

People may be using less, consuming less and making some compromises along the way, but we are feeling physically healthier and mentally happier now that we live amongst nature and noise and pollution has been massively reduced.

Because our new ‘green ecology’ has created a new ‘green economy’, gone are the days where everything we do damages the planet because we have begun to rebalance the way our economy works.

The relentless global push for “Growth, Growth, Growth” meant “More, More, More” and the planet just couldn’t sustain that.

Our new way of living is more stable. Everything has calmed down. Even the insane rate of global population growth has managed to slow down, which means there is less pressure on the earth.

Removing carbon

Carbon capture and storage is becoming more effective by the day.

Our ability to reduce CO2 levels across the globe is taking time and it has been the toughest challenge, but we know we are heading in the right direction.

We are not only capturing carbon emissions at source, but we are beginning to remove some of the carbon that we have been emitting into the atmosphere over the last 200 years.

The global ban on deforestation combined with huge amounts of global reforestation in the last 10 years has began to turn the carbon tide.

Harnessing the power of the sun

The technology available to capture, store and distribute solar energy from the sun has developed at a staggering pace.

We knew the sun was a gift; a valuable and sustainable source of energy. The amount of energy that hits the earth from the sun in a single day could power all of our homes for a year, but we just didn’t have the technology to harness that power.

The levels of efficiency still have some way to go, but they have improved massively since 2022.

Solar panels are cheaper to make and harvest more energy than ever before. Every single home in the UK now has solar panels because of grants from the government.  

A seismic shift in energy production

The UK is now energy secure. Because of the green new buildings and green retrofit buildings, our built environment needs less energy for heat and power.

Very little energy is wasted because all of our architecture has become thermally and ecologically efficient.

We are now able to generate all of the energy we need and the vast majority of our energy is from clean, green, renewable sources.

After the cost of gas and electricity hit a global peak in 2024 and it virtually became unaffordable for most people in the UK, we realised there needs to be a seismic shift in how we generated our own power and heating.

The clean energy revolution happened and thankfully it was very fast. Green energy is now affordable for all.

No more steel and concrete

One the biggest and most radical changes in the UK is that existing concrete and steel companies, in partnership with scientists, research institutes and the UK government, have developed replacement materials for concrete and steel.

‘Greencrete’ is a new concrete that has been developed that requires no cement and no steel reinforcement. It has been developed by bio scientists to create new forms of bio-architecture. We can literally grow the stuff.

Steel has now been replaced with materials such as Graphene, which was toro expensive to produce in 2022, but 10 years on it is very affordable.

Graphene is a super material that is 200 times stronger than steel and 1000 times lighter. This is a great example of science and innovation discovering a product then requires less to do more!

Timber is now the building material of choice.

We have developed ways to build virtually any form of building in sustainable timber in a safe and fire-resistant way.

Even tall timber skyscrapers are becoming common in all UK cities. The combination of ecological timber structures with green-living external facades is transforming our town and cities.

We had to change and change fast

All of the developments in ecological design, innovative design, circular-economy design, sustainable materials and bio-architecture has generated wonderful buildings and clean green environments I could have only dreamt of in 2022.

But, looking back, I can see the world realised it had to change and change fast.

There was a genuine fear that if we continued down the same fossil fuel burning road that there was no benefit to the planet or us as human beings. We had to begin a radical and new sustainable future.

One of the most beautiful outcomes of this green revolution that found harmony between our economy and ecology is that we are all happier.

Levels of health have increased. Levels of depression have decreased. The BBC has even launched a GOOD NEWS CHANNEL that celebrates all the good and positive things that happen across Britain.

All of the 24 hour news channels that pumped out nothing but depressing, bad news have thankfully begun to fade away since 2022.

I never thought 2033 could be so green and so good, but I’m pleased for my kids that it is.

George Clarke is an Architect, writer, TV presenter and Ecodan Ambassador