By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Your browser seems to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser.


Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


Green Overlay: RIBA sustainable design guidance

At last the RIBA has issued some useful sustainable design guidance, says Hattie Hartman

This week the RIBA issued a Green Overlay to the RIBA Outline Plan of Work. This useful guidance takes a familiar A4 document and, by adding less than 40 key words, highlights ways to embed sustainable design into a project at every RIBA stage.

It is no surprise that Stage C – Concept Design has by far the longest task list. We all know that if you don’t get it right from the start, it is very hard to retrofit sustainable design. What’s useful here is the step-by-step reminder of what needs to be considered early, from overshadowing to daylight, from thermal modelling to SUDS.

The Green Overlay has been drafted by a multi-disciplinary group of architects, engineers and engineers led by Bill Gething of Sustainability + Architecture in response to a request from the RIBA Council. A key message that emerges is the need for early collaboration across the design team.

RIBA president Angela Brady highlights how the Green Overlay can be used to engage with clients. ‘The Green Overlay is straightforward and accessible, and will encourage the conversations that architects need to have with clients and the whole design and construction team about truly sustainable design that goes above and beyond regulatory compliance.’

Everyone berates sustainability checklists, but there is no getting around the myriad factors that need to be considered at each stage of the design process. The Green Overlay presents a hierarchy of information and is easy to navigate. Sustainability Checkpoints are linked to Supplementary Guidance, but don’t let this put you off. Download the document today.
The Overlay is available as a free download from

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Related Jobs

Sign in to see the latest jobs relevant to you!

The searchable digital buildings archive with drawings from more than 1,500 projects

AJ newsletters