I saw this excellent leaflet given out at the recent RIAI conference (think by the Irish Green Building Council ?) and thought it best to share the ways Architects can use their skills in the #Climate Emergency. You can also read the RIAI’s Sustaibility Policy HERE:
1. UNDERSTAND & APPLY THE KEY NUMBERS
As architects you need to get used to understanding and working to the numbers better. For operational energy, heat load, embodied carbon…
2. COMMIT TO UPSKILL
You need to either upskill with software such as PHPP (Passivhaus) & DEAP or work with people that already have these skills and implement them as part of your work flow
3. SPECIFY SANITARYWARE THAT IS A-RATED
Specifiy sanitaryware with the A-rated European label – water efficiency affects carbon – hot water accounts for 75% of regulated energy consumption in nZEB apartments
4. INFLUENCE THE SUPPLY CHAIN
Ask suppliers for their European Product Declarations (EPD’s) – these give the Carbon intensity of their products. If EVERY architect asks – the industry will change
5. CHOOSE LOW CARBON MATERIALS
The maths is simple: Total embodied carbon of your building = Quantity of materials x Carbon Intensity of materials. You can change the either the area or the quantity – or both
6. CONSULT WITH YOUR STRUCTURAL ENGINEER
The largest carbon impact in your building is the structure, work with your client/structural engineer to see if you can:
– Retain existing structures
– Have wider column spacings
– Thinner slab thicknesses
– Use sustainably sourced wood
– Use less concrete if specify low carbon versions
7. KEEP IT SIMPLE
Minimise heat loss by reducing surface area – look at the Form Factor in Passivhaus as an example on how the maths of this works
8. MEASURE WASTE
– How much waste is being produced on site?
– Is the waste being segregated/recycled?
– Where is the waste going?
9. BIODIVERSITY MATTERS
Can you incorporate:
– Green roofs
– Bird/bat boxes
– Native species in the landscaping
– Check flood risk
When you specify low carbon or sustainable materials – check on site that they are delivered & installed.
Install data loggers to check your building’s performance and verify after a year
The most successful frojects are a team effort – remember there’s no I in Team!
And finally, if you’re a Registered Architect/Practice in Ireland – have you signed ArchitectsDeclare.ie yet?