top of page

Climate Emergency Design Guide

We are in a climate emergency, and urgently need to reduce carbon emissions, this guide outlines the requirements of new buildings to ensure our climate change targets are met - setting out a definitive journey, beyond climate emergency declarations, into a net zero carbon future. It is specifically aimed towards developers/landowners, designers, policy makers, and the supply chain. It aims to help to define ‘good’ and to set clear and achievable targets.

The Climate Emergency Design Guide covers 5 key areas: operational energy, embodied carbon, the future of heat, demand response and data disclosure. Our methodology includes setting the requirements of four key building archetypes (small scale residential, medium/large scale residential, commercial offices, and schools). The guide was developed by over 100 LETI volunteers over a period of 12 months.

This guidance demonstrates that the building industry knows how we should be designing buildings. In 2020 buildings that adopt these requirements now will be seen as leaders. By 2025 these requirements must become standard design practice otherwise the building industry will not meet our collective responsibility in this climate crisis.

LETI believe that in order to meet our climate change targets, in 2020 10% of all new projects developers and designers are involved in, should be designed to meet the requirements set out in this guide. Design teams will have the opportunity to register their projects as LETI Pioneer projects, to share knowledge and overcome barriers with other design teams working towards the same goal.

Feedback surveys

This document represent LETI’s understanding of how we need to be designing to meet our climate change targets in 2020. This guide will evolve over time reflecting change in carbon budgets, technologies and capability of industry. LETI is collaborative by nature and is very interested in your feedback:

→  Provide feedback on the Climate Emergency Design Guide here

Climate Emergency Design Guide.jpg
Would you like to invite LETI to come and give a CPD talk at your office?

→  Fill out the form here

Archetype Pages

The Climate Emergency Design Guide focuses on four building archetypes that make up the majority of new buildings in the UK. Taken together they represent 75% of the new buildings likely to be built between now and 2050. The following pages show the key performance indicators to meet whole life carbon for the four building typologies.

LETI_Typologies_Small housing.jpg
Schools (.pdf)


'Following the recent declarations of climate and biodiversity crises, a new sense of urgency that has emerged within the environmental movement in architecture. It is characterised by an awareness of embodied as well as operational energy. It is focused on cradle to cradle lifecycle assessment of our buildings, and it is driven by the passion and enthusiasm of a new generation of architects and engineers who are determined to make change happen. The London Energy Transformation Initiative sits at the heart of this movement and their guide provides an inspirational ‘call to action’ for everyone in the built environment.'


Peter Clegg  Senior Partner - Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios 

'In March 2017 I watched Clara Bagenal George make an impassioned pitch to an Elementa Consulting client gathering: our approach, regulations and policies to tackle climate change in our buildings were all broken. That room challenged her to translate frustration into action, and so began the LETI journey. Two months later over 100 stakeholders gathered at the Building Centre. Two years later over 1,200 have registered to join LETIs team of volunteers from across the building sector at the launch of their Climate Emergency Design Guide. LETI is a story of hope and inspiration, of collaboration and leadership - essential ingredients for a zero carbon future.'

Kevin Hydes Founder - Integral Group

'Delivering zero carbon buildings is a huge challenge. LETI has taken a major step to help the industry to work out how this is to be done for new buildings.'


Hywel Davies  Technical Director - CIBSE

'As we enter 2020 with only 10 years left – according to the IPCC - to effect the transformational change necessary to address the climate emergency; it is clear that the urgency for the construction industry just intensified. We all need to become totally carbon literate and make all decisions as seen through the lens of the emergency. This excellent guide and primer from LETI, leads the way, and helps us make the right choices.'

Julia Barfield  Managing Director - Marks Barfield Architects

'Clients and local authorities have set a high bar with declarations of climate emergency and carbon neutrality. Our built environment must respond. The Climate Emergency Design Guide provides the perfect primer for different stakeholders to facilitate meaningful change and help navigate the route to zero carbon. LETI represent what is possible when committed volunteers unite to enable and enhance change - and there is no greater cause than the climate crisis that threatens our future.'

Simon Fraser  Partner - Allies and Morrison

'The LETI Climate Emergency Design Guide is a must read for all built environment professionals wanting to better understand how to deliver climate positive developments. The publication of this document demonstrates the power of collaboration. It’s clear the built environment sector has the knowledge and some of the skills to address the climate emergency. However, we lack pace.  Our industry needs to rapidly scale up our response if this Design Guide is to reach its potential and be truly put into practice. Well done to LETI for helping us get on our way.'

Emily Hamilton  Associate Director - Grosvenor Britain & Ireland

CEDG Feedback

Feedback surveys

This document represent LETI’s understanding of how we need to be designing to meet our climate change targets in 2020. This guide will evolve over time reflecting change in carbon budgets, technologies and capability of industry. LETI is collaborative by nature and is very interested in your feedback.

Below is a general feedback form on the Climate Emergency Design Guide:

→  Climate Emergency Design Guide - general feedback survey

In addition, the below surveys have specific and more detailed questions on key performance indicators for demand response and embodied carbon targets:

→  Demand Response KPI - feedback survey

→  Embodied Carbon targets - feedback survey

bottom of page