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Small practice special: Ten steps to 'green' your workflow

Lynne Sullivan at the RIBA

At the RIBA’s recent Guerrilla Tactics conference, one session focused on Embedding sustainability within your practice. SustainableBYdesign’s Lynne Sullivan, author of The RIBA Guide to Sustainability in Practice, provided guidance on how small practices can ensure that sustainability is incorporated into projects.

1. Commit to leadership

Lynne highlighted the important role architects can play in educating clients, collaborators and suppliers to enable them to more confidently adopt environmental approaches.

2. Benchmark practice impacts

Good practice starts at home. Tools such as DECC’s carbon footprint calculator enable practices to measure their environmental impact and can be used for setting targets for improvement.

3. Demonstrate practice performance

Architects can benefit from the knowledge and understanding that real data can be provided using tools such as Carbon Buzz, post-occupancy evaluations and display energy certificates.

4. Build on existing resources

Introduce sustainability topics to generate discussions within the practice and keep up to date with new ways of working and new products.

5. Upskill with CPD

Knowledge development through CPD and engaging with relevant research can become a practice differentiator.

6. Develop collaborative project methodologies

Implementing new platforms such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) can provide early answers in the project lifecycle on issues like whole life costs and embodied carbon.

7. Trial new software packages

Tools such as REVIT 2013, Sefaira, and the Passive House Planning Package enable analysis of environmental impacts at an early stage.

8. Adopt a knowledge managment framework

Tools such as the BRE’s GreenPrint framework can help navigate BREEAM and the Code for Sustainable Homes.

9. Consult the Green Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work

Lynne emphasised the big wins that can be identified during early design stages. RIBA’s Green Overlay (see AJ 24.11.11) provides detailed sustainable design guidance during briefing, design and construction.

10. Detailed project monitoring

Lifecycle assessments, such as the CEN/TC350 methodology, are a way to determine the relative impacts of operational and embodied energy.


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