Reducing the impact of business on the environment

Ahead of our environment workshop next week, we caught up with some of our architect members to hear about what they’re already doing to reduce the impact of their business on the environment.

Bennetts Associates is an architectural practice based in Islington that creates sustainable and enduring architecture and is a founding member of the UK Green Business Council:

“Following our change to an Employee Ownership Trust we wanted to assess our position in terms of sustainability. We had a few ageing policies and targets and were keen to bring these together into a set of targets that would cement our leadership in sustainable design and business operations across our studios in the UK.

This led to our adoption of the first approved science-based targets in the world for an architect, and the first in the UK for a SME. We also became a carbon neutral company through the UN Climate Neutral Now campaign, measuring and offsetting our carbon footprint from business travel right down to the coffee we drink. We’re also committing to continue and expand the research we do on how our own designs perform after users move in, both in terms of energy and wellbeing. There’s more on our 20 targets for 2020 here.”

Donald Insall Associates is an employee-owned conservation architecture practice based in Westminster which has a sustainability group with representatives from all levels of the practice:

“The group meets regularly to ensure sustainability is embodied not just in the projects we undertake, but in the practice itself. We’re a member of the Green Register of Construction Professionals and are ISO4001 Environmental Management Systems accredited. After implementing an environmental checklist, we’re making sure we’re using ‘green’ suppliers in our supply chain.

We’ve advocated for the repair and adaption of existing buildings since our foundation in 1958. The reuse of existing buildings ensures the embodied carbon in its structure is retained and spaces that have been used for generations are revived for new uses. Providing a new life for an existing building is highly rewarding and we’re pleased to have been awarded a Green Apple Award last year for the reordering and repair of the Grade I listed St Mary’s Church, Nantwich.”

Architype is an architecture practice based in Southwark that designs life enhancing and sustainable architecture:

“With climate change and air quality concerns receiving more headlines than ever, Architype continue to pioneer sustainable design to change lives for the better. Our clients tell us that their concentration, health and wellbeing significantly improve when they move into our buildings, as well as seeing a big reduction in energy use. We know this first hand from our own experience, moving our London office to Unity Wharf (pictured) and renovating Twyford Barn for our Hereford office, a project crowned ‘sustainable business of the year’.

Clean air, temperature stability, natural light, use of non-toxic materials, lower energy bills – all these elements make a better place to live, learn and work. This is why we’re continuing to invest in research and monitoring of building conditions and developing ‘Eccolab’, the online software that will allow easy calculation of a project’s embodied carbon, cost and energy consumption. The more we learn about how building actually perform, the more we can learn on methods of reducing energy consumption and improving air quality – something that we all need to make a priority in 2019 and beyond.”

If you want some tips on reducing your company’s environmental impact, no matter what industry you’re in, our latest HotC Highlight gives you tips on improving your air quality – and year one members can come to to our environmental programme workshop next week.

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