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RIBA energy group calls for sustainable code change

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The riba professional conduct code could soon include a requirement for architects to follow 'best environmental practice', and would include a specific reference to sustainable design for the first time. The proposals are the work of the institute's energy and environment group, chaired by Professor Brian Edwards of the Huddersfield school. Its paper to riba council calls for three major revisions to current policy:

strengthening of commitment to sustainable development (as defined by the Brundtland commission in 1987) and therefore sustainable design

expansion of non-energy environment policies

inclusion in the code of conduct of an obligation towards sustainable design.

The group makes a series of detailed recommendations, covering everything from an approach towards specification of materials, to the way design teams are assembled and the role the client should be encouraged to play. It declares that 'the design of any building should begin with the building envelope and with the thermal and other loads imposed by users and the external climate'. It does not reject air-conditioning, but suggests that not using it means a cheaper building to build and operate. And it calls for life-cycle costing, recycling of materials, use of renewable resources, and avoidance of pollution in all forms.

Paul Finch

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