We need sustainable cities today to avoid the natural disasters of tomorrow

By Laura Croze
October 31, 2018

Today we celebrate the World Cities Day.

By 2050 the United Nations estimates that 70% of the world’s population will be squeezed into urban areas putting creaking city infrastructures under dangerously unsustainable pressure.

In 1950 just 30% of us lived in urban areas, but today as millions migrate to towns and cities around the world, global demand for energy and water is expected to soar by 40% and 50% respectively by 2030.

Unacceptable human cost

Now the bad news. Unless we invest in making our cities more sustainable, climate change and natural disasters will force 77 million urban residents into poverty and cost cities worldwide US$314 billion every year by 2030.

These statistics are released today by the United Nation’s World Cities Day (WCD) initiative which says that temperatures are rising fastest in the Northern Hemisphere — home to 88% of the global population and 18 of the world’s 20 biggest cities — accelerating the potential for future natural disasters.

220 million impacted by disasters

In the past decade environmental disasters have impacted more than 220 million people and cost US$100 billion in economic damage every year. Flooding alone was responsible for causing 42% of economic losses in housing.

The solution, says WCD, is a more sustainable and resilient approach to cities through the creation of energy efficient urban environments that tackle climate change, reduce the impact of environmental issues such as flooding and protect the vulnerable.

How to fight climate change

“At Knauf Insulation everything we create is designed to tackle the challenge of CO2 emissions and climate change by reducing the energy use of buildings,” says Saša Bavec, Knauf Insulation’s Group Marketing Director. “Our insulation solutions also provide more comfortable living environments and contribute significantly to reducing fuel poverty.”

Sustainable cities of the future

But it is not enough. We are also supporting the United Nations Sustainability Goal of World Cities Day by pioneering new innovations that we believe can contribute significantly to the sustainable and resilient cities of the future. These include:

• Our Urbanscape® Green Roof solutions can help reduce the impact of stormwater flooding as a result of exceptional water retention capacities, lower urban heat island effect and, through excellent thermal performance, cut energy use.

• Our green teams are committed to helping specifiers, property owners and investors by providing support, advice and detailed data about how our solutions can help reduce the environmental impact of buildings.

Tallest Passivhaus in the world

• We keep ahead of the changing demands of established and new Green Building Rating Systems to provide the expertise required to maximise green building credits and have a detailed understanding of how our solutions can contribute to changing national and international energy efficiency regulation.

• Finally, we are constantly researching new ways to make buildings more sustainable. In Spain, for example, our solutions have been installed in some of the most iconic new developments in the country, including the tallest Passivhaus in the world and our new Knauf Insulation Experience Center is contributing valuable data to the European Commission’s Level(s) project designed to improve building sustainability in Europe.