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APP EXCLUSIVE: Sustainable building should be singled out for praise

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Meredith Bowles of Mole Architects on why sustainability awards matter

Sustainability awards still have a place. Regulations require buildings to perform at a certain level; anything more than this means that clients are making more of an effort.

RIBA awards should not exclude buildings that are not performing above building regulations standards because this would exclude a lot of brilliant work that architects do on projects that aren’t necessarily ‘sustainable’ but may have other values. To increase the quality of the built environment, it can be equally valuable to work with clients who have tight budgets or who place greater value on the social change a project might bring about as opposed to its thermal performance.

There is a need to recognise projects which go above and beyond

So the idea that all projects should be ‘sustainable’ and make it a requirement I don’t think right. In which case there is still a need to recognise those projects that go above and beyond what is required by regulations.

While the profession might consider climate change critical, many clients fail to act when it comes to making choices to increase standards and performance. It is still exceptional to make a truly sustainable building so these buildings, and the clients that commission them should be singled out for praise.

Meredith Bowles is founder of Mole Architects

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