Since a large portion of greenhouse gases are emitted by the building sector, there has been a push towards sustainable low energy architecture, which could help mitigate the effects of climate change. Although climate change is considered inevitable, adaptive measures must be taken in the field of architecture to alleviate its impact. Creating an overview of the state of the art in the field of architecture as it adapts to climate change will help identify the problems and possibilities of architectural adaptation.

The aim must be to create buildings that are as suitable to the current climate as they are to the climate of the future and maintain an ability to resist the impacts of climate change; this ability to resist potential change is defined as adaptive capacity. It is challenging to reconcile the energy requirements for contemporary buildings with rising temperatures and extreme weather in temperate climate zones. The literature on the subject is explored through iterative searches in scientific databases.

In discussions about the possible adaptations to climate change, there needs to be a focus on human adaptation facilitated by architecture and the built environment’s utilization and support of ecosystem services in adaptation strategies, since the scope of climate change reaches beyond the singular building. There are plenty of strategies and technologies from which to draw but little focus on how these should support the design of a building and its inhabitants. In the future it will be necessary to look at the adaptive capacity of a building itself and how the building can benefit its surroundings.

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