SNACC: Suburban Neighbourhood Adaptation for a Changing Climate - identifying effective, practical and acceptable means of suburban re-design

Lead Research Organisation: Oxford Brookes University
Department Name: Faculty of Tech, Design and Environment

Abstract

The proposed research answers the question: How can existing suburban neighbourhoods be best adapted to reduce further impacts of climate change and withstand ongoing changes? We are interested in adaptations to the built environment, through changes to individual homes and larger neighbourhood scale adaptations (urban re-design). Climate change will affect everyone in the UK in the future, but the scale and intensity of change will depend on where you live. Equally the capacity of individuals and communities to adapt and change in the face of climate change also depends on where you live because of how wealthy you and your neighbours are, of the type of house and neighbourhood you live in and how effectively local policy makers and public service providers will respond to the challenge. This research focuses on the adaptation of suburban neighbourhoods because it is the most common type of urban area in the UK, housing 84% of the population. There is an urgent need to understand how to adapt the built environment in suburbs now, to ensure that they are liveable and sustainable in the future. Failure to do so could have significant human, environmental and economic consequences (such as fatalities from heat stress, ill health from reduced air quality, reluctance to use local outdoor environments, damage to homes and gardens, and adverse impact on property markets). Successful adaptation and mitigation measures will be those that perform well technically (i.e. they protect people and property from climate change impacts) but are also those that are the most practical and acceptable for those who have to make them happen (i.e. we have to be able to afford them and want to live with them). Our research design, the research method and the choice of collaborators reflect both the technical and socio-economic aspects of adaptation. We will work with existing research (by the SNACC team, BKCC and others) to test various adaptation 'packages' for their technical and socio-economic performance in different types of suburb defined in terms of the type of area (e.g. Victorian, post-war, 1980s) but also in terms of the capacity of communities in those areas to do something about climate change impacts. Using 6 neighbourhoods from 3 cities (Bristol, Oxford and Stockport) we will work with key agents of change (e.g. home owners, elected members and planners) using advanced modelling (of climate change, house prices and adaptation outcomes), tools that allow participants to visualise what 'adapted' neighbourhoods will look like, and deliberative methods from social sciences, to generate a portfolio of adaptation strategies that are feasible, and fully endorsed by stakeholders. The practice relevance of adaptation strategies is central to the SNACC project. We have assembled a team of academic partners (from University of the West of England, Oxford Brookes University and Heriot-Watt) and stakeholder partners (Bristol City, Oxford City and Stockport Councils, and White Design) as well as ARUP (consultants) that reflects a broad range of stakeholders that can implement the findings in the built environment. We are supported by five leading Visiting Researchers from the USA, Sweden (X2), Australia and Portugal who will offer international insights in good practice: an essential element in climate change research. We are also supported by an advisory group of from DCLG, CABE, RTPI, Constructing Excellence SW, Forum for the Future, the Modern Built Environment Network and The Improvement and Development Agency for Local Government (IDeA) which is committed to collaboration and effective dissemination. This team will ensure our findings are presented in forms appropriate for different audiences, and communicated to a wide network of policy, practice, public and academic beneficiaries. The outcomes will contribute, practically, to securing a sustainable future for the UK's suburbs in the face of climate change.
 
Description England's suburbs need protection from future climate change. They will experience hotter and drier summers, with more heat-waves, and winters that are milder, and wetter, with more storms, and the potential for more flooding. Hence, the SNACC project answers the questions: How can existing suburban neighbourhoods in England be 'best' adapted to reduce further impacts of climate change and withstand ongoing changes? and; What are the processes that bring about climate-change motivated adaptation in suburban areas? We sought to find out which adaptations to the physical environment of homes, gardens and suburban public spaces work best and how they can be delivered. In testing adaptations we determined if they were effective, feasible and acceptable. The project used a combination of modelling (using DECoRuM - Domestic Energy, Carbon Counting and Carbon Reduction Model), visualisations and workshops with residents and stakeholders to determine what effective adaptation would be. We undertook the research in 6 suburbs in 3 cities: Oxford, Stockport and Bristol. We found that at the home and garden scales some mitigation and adaptation actions are taking place, but not because people are driven by 'climate change'. Residents are motivated by, for example, saving money, the image of their home, and DIY. At the neighbourhood scale, very little adaptive action is taking place, and there is no clear process, or delivery mechanism, for adaptation and/or mitigation. In terms of identifying the 'best' adaptations, there is no 'one size fits all' adaptation package. However, to be effective in the future, we need to combine 'adaptive retrofitting' with 'low carbon retrofitting'. Although the UK is projected to remain a heating dominated climate, adaptive measures to reduce the risk of future overheating on a house level are urgently needed. For residents, the 'best' adaptations tend to be cheap, convenient, practical, and attractive. In terms of mitigating climate change, home energy saving adaptations (e.g. roof and wall insulation, double/triple glazing, photovoltaics) were effective in almost all suburbs. Increased greening of homes and gardens has multiple benefits. To reduce flood risks, adaptations need to address pluvial as well as fluvial flooding. A number of individual house-scale adaptations can work, but they need to leave the neighbourhood or home more resilient after a flood than before (and this is not the norm). To address overheating, a number of adaptations are effective, but their performance depends on the characteristics of the home: external shading is more effective than internal; increasing the reflectivity of the exterior surfaces of homes, or adding thermal mass, reduces overheating; external insulation is effective in either reducing overheating risk or minimising the increase in overheating risk that would happen as a result of installing insulation; and reducing internal gains is effective and cheap. At the neighbourhood scale, blue and green infrastructure is likely to bring cooling benefits. To protect suburbs from storm damage a number of individual adaptations are effective, but residents are unlikely to implement them in advance of extreme events. To adapt to droughts and water stress, rainwater harvesting systems, and measures such as water butts are effective. At the neighbourhood scale, climate-resilient planting is effective, as are SUDS, but they are likely to be both expensive and disruptive to retrofit. Our research into what might motivate change revealed that people believe they will act if and when they experience different weather patterns. Institutional stakeholders see the need to consider adaptation in their long-term planning and day-to-day activities. All groups reported a lack of resources to adapt, and a lack of clarity about who was responsible for leading action. Residents needed information about adaptation to be clear, delivered at critical times, and from trusted agencies.
Exploitation Route Policy makers dealing with climate change at all levels Local authorities developing climate adaptation strategies Householders, community groups and NGOs seeking advice on how best to adapt their homes, gardens and neighbourhoods
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL https://snacc.wordpress.com/
 
Description SNACC project assessed the risk of climate change driven overheating for existing suburban homes. The effectiveness ranking of interventions for tackling overheating in homes6 have been explicitly applied in Department for Communities and Local Governments seminal report, published in 2012, 'Investigation into overheating in homes. The report, citing Professor Gupta's research directly, identifies policy instruments to tackle future overheating in new build (Building Regulations) and refurbishments (National Green Deal advice). Furthermore, overheating findings from SNACC research project have been taken up and disseminated through a National Overheating Guidance note prepared by United Kingdom Climate Impact Programme (on behalf of Department for Communities and Local Governments) with endorsement from the Green Deal Oversight and Registration Body in addition to Department for Energy and Climate Change. This guidance note was distributed to all Green Deal advisors and assessors. In addition to these, UK's Adaptation and Resilience to a Changing Climate Coordination Network (ARCC-CAN) has taken up SNACC's research findings on overheating to produce a detailed guidance note to underpin the National Overheating Guidance Note. Impacts from DECoRuM-adapt model are continuing to be realised through Professor Gupta's continued engagement with industry and communities of interest. Since 2010, the risk-based methodological approach developed in the SNACC project has been successfully applied in five Technology Strategy Board (Now Innovate UK)-funded 'Design for future climate' projects with nationally leading architectural practices and consultancies e.g. Farrells, BDP Partnership, Medical architecture, Penoyre and Prasad LLP, and Ridge and Partners. The projects have systematically evaluated, through downscaling of UK climate change projections and simulation, the potential for incorporating adaptation strategies for tackling overheating into live designs of future low/zero carbon homes, schools and hospitals in the UK. In particular, findings from one of the Design for future climate project on future-proofing NW Bicester eco-town, has led to the introduction of a new local planning requirement for developers by Cherwell District Council, related to testing of new housing for overheating in 2050s.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Construction,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal

 
Description DCLG, 2012: Overheating in Homes - Literature Review and Overheating in Homes
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/7604/2185850.pdf
 
Title DECoRuM-Adapt 
Description DECoRuM© (Domestic Energy, Carbon counting and carbon Reduction Model) is a GIS-based toolkit for carbon emissions reduction planning with the capability to estimate current energy-related CO2 emissions and effectiveness of mitigation strategies in existing UK dwellings, aggregating the results to a street, district and city level. For the SNACC project DECoRuM was further developed as DECoRuM-Adapt© to rapidly assess the probabilistic impact of climate change on energy use, overheating potential and the effectiveness of adaptation strategies for modelled dwellings and neighbourhoods. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2011 
Impact Impact unknown 
 
Description 2011 UK/Ireland Planning Research Conference: Planning Resilient Communities in Challenging Times 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Results unknown

Impact unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description SNACC: Suburban neighbourhood adaptation for a changing climate. KEYNOTE. Adapting Buildings for Resilient Cities, 25 February 2016, LONDON, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact KEYNOTE. Adapting Buildings for Resilient Cities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description 1st International Conference on Urban Sustainability and Resilience at UCL London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Results unknown

Impact unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description 2010 Joint stakeholder/researcher forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions and discussion afterwards.

Impact unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
URL http://www.arcc-network.org.uk/project-summaries/snacc/
 
Description 2011 ARCC conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The talk and poster sparked questions and discussion afterwards.

Impact unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://www.arcc-network.org.uk/project-summaries/snacc/
 
Description 2012 ARCC conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Results unkowkn

Impact unkown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description ARCC adapting to reduce overheating synthesis report 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Results unkown

Impact unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.arcc-network.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/pdfs/ACN-overheating-synthesis.pdf
 
Description ARCC overheating in homes practical guidance 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Results unkown

Impact unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.arcc-network.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/pdfs/ACN-overheating-guidance.pdf
 
Description Bristol City Councils: stakeholder view on SNACC 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Results unknown

Impacts unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.arcc-network.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/pdfs/SNACC-Evaluation-Jan2013.pdf
 
Description Building Simulation and Optimisation conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Results unkown

Impact unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.bso14.org/
 
Description Community resilience, meeting with Cabinet Office and Defra 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact The talk sparked questions and discussion afterwards.


Findings of the SNACC project informed policy literature on domestic overheating.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.arcc-network.org.uk/cabinet-office-resilience/
 
Description Futurebuild conference presenatation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The talk sparked questions and discussion afterwards.
Requested to develop paper and presentation into Journal paper for submission to BSER&T

Impact unkown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.future-build.net/index.html
 
Description Media interest: SAFEGUARDING SUBURBIA FROM A CHANGING CLIMATE 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Results unkown

Impact unkown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://www.lwec.org.uk/stories/safeguarding-suburbia-changing-climate
 
Description Neighbourhood adaptation presentation to the Local Government Group Roundtable 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Results unknown

Impact unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description PLEA 2011 presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Results unknown

Impact unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Presentation to Climate Change Leaders Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Results unknown

Impact unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description SNACC Newsletter 1 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Results unknown

Impact unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
URL http://www.arcc-network.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/pdfs/snacc_news1.pdf
 
Description SNACC Newsletter 2 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Results unkown

Impact unkown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://www.arcc-network.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/pdfs/SNACC-Newsletter-August-2011.pdf
 
Description SNACC findings to D4FC workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The talk sparked questions and discussion afterwards.

Impact unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description SNACC meeting Low Carbon Oxford North 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The meeting and discussion with the Local low carbon group: LCON resulted in further community engagement and more detailed information being gained to improve the DECoRuM model of local carbon emissions.

Impact unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011,2012
 
Description SNACC meeting with the Scottish Government 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Results unknown

Impacts unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://www.arcc-network.org.uk/project-summaries/snacc/
 
Description SNACC summary leaflet 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Results unkown

Impact unkown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://www.arcc-network.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/Summaries/SNACC.pdf
 
Description SNACC summary on ARCC 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Results unknown

Impacts unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014
URL http://www.arcc-network.org.uk/project-summaries/snacc/
 
Description SNACC-research 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A website describing the SNACC project, events and outcomes.

Unaware of impacts
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011,2012,2013,2014
URL http://snacc.wordpress.com/
 
Description SNACC: Suburban neighbourhood adaptation for a changing climate 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This was an invited presentation as par of the industry day on 'Adapting Buildings for Resilient Cities' organised by the Institute of Energy Futures, Brunel University and CIBSE.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.cibse.org/networks/groups/resilient-cities/past-events-and-presentations
 
Description Second International Conference on Building Energy and Environment (COBEE 2012) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The talk sparked questions and discussion afterwards

Impact unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.colorado.edu/cobee2012/
 
Description Windsor conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Request to develop paper for Journal publication

Impact unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.nceub.org.uk/