Consideration of the effect of our buildings on our environment has always been at the root of our projects. This remains a primary concern with continuing clear evidence of Climate Change and the need to develop a more sustainable way of designing, building and living.
All projects begin with a brief that summarises the needs of the client, the characteristics of the site and the priorities that will guide the design. Sustainability must be given high priority in defining this brief.
The RIBA has joined the global declaration of an environment and climate emergency. The UK government has passed a law requiring the UK to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. We as Architects are in an influential position as we are guided by this in all our designs.
These are the aims that the RIBA has set out that will make a demonstrable change in the progress of climate change.
Reduce operational energy by 75% (before UK offsetting)
We can achieve this through effective insulation reducing heat loss, building air tightness and careful building design that takes account of solar gain and avoids overheating. Low carbon heating using heat pumps also contributes to this.
Reduce embodied carbon by at least 50 - 70% (before UK offsetting)
Reuse and adaption of existing buildings and materials is a key approach.
We also consider to the embodied energy in all materials we use, minimising high embodied energy materials like metal and prioritising low energy and natural materials like timber.
Reduce potable water use by at least 40%
We carefully specify low water use fittings and consider the storage and reuse of rainwater where appropriate
Achieve all core health and wellbeing targets
These include the avoidance of overheating, good daylighting levels, low carbon dioxide through ventilation, low VOCs and formaldehydes from finishes and fittings.