The development of a conceptual framework to help achieve low carbon commercial office buildings in London by 2050

  • Philip Bradley

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Mitigating the impact of climate change is perhaps the greatest challenge facing mankind. It has been estimated that GHG emissions need to be reduced by as much as 90% on 1990 levels by 2050, limiting the impact of anthropogenic climate change. The property industry in the UK has been identified as a significant contributor to GHG emissions. Commercial offices have seen the most significant rise in energy demand of all building types. Reducing the operational energy demand from buildings has been identified as the most cost-effective way of reducing emissions and improving security in energy supply. The UK has signed up to legally binding, 2050 CO2 reduction targets. However, despite the continuous introduction of environment policy, energy efficiency has not improved as fast as is necessary to meet long-term CO2 reduction targets.
This thesis aims to address a lack of transformational pathways that exist on how to direct London’s commercial office building stock towards achieving a low carbon future. In order to do this, a conceptual framework was developed. The framework evolved through the hosting of an exploratory working group that identify the steps and actions required to realise change. The working group developed alternative futures that they believed would emerge by 2050. These futures were then built upon through the inclusion of quantitative data that assess the impact future uncertainty would have on a variety of carbon emitting futures.
The results show that investing in energy efficient renovation of buildings is economically and technically feasible and can contribute to the UK realising its long-term carbon reduction targets. However, achieving these targets requires government intervention substantially beyond current trends. The conceptual framework lays the groundwork and provides a decision support tool to help improve political environment decision making on how to achieve a low carbon future.
Date of AwardDec 2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorNeil Hewitt (Supervisor), Jasmine Lay-Cheng Lim (Supervisor) & Lesley Hemphill (Supervisor)


  • London Commercial Office Building Stock
  • Energy Demand Reduction

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