Constructing city buildings to be obsolete after 30 years is a scandalous building industry practice - and one of the most extreme examples of energy inefficiency in modern society, according to international futurist Patrick Dixon.

He says most offices being built today use 20th-century energy measures, when considerable cost savings are available with the right mix of modern design and technology.

Dr Dixon, chairman of British-based Global Change Limited and adviser on the latest global trends to such companies as Microsoft and BP, will address a building conference in Melbourne today. He will stress the need to plan for a time when energy is twice as expensive as today after carbon taxes are added. However, it is the inefficiency of modern buildings that rankles most.

"I do think it's a scandal," Dr Dixon says. "If you buy a home in Australia, you take out a mortgage and in a decade or two you plan to sell it almost as you found it. But office buildings are constructed to be pulled down after 30 years, perhaps 40 years at most.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.