Sustainability has long been an integral part of our design approach. We believe the design and construction industry needs to change and find new, sustainable, high quality and cost effective solutions for our towns and cities. Our architects and engineers are driven to create a highly productive, digitally-led industry, which improves the sustainability, efficiency and aesthetic quality of all aspects of the built environment. The ensuing benefit lowers the financial and carbon cost of assets to business and society. It is for this reason, we’re delighted to join a coalition of leading industry professionals who have contributed to a new guide and primer illustrating how the industry can work together and address the climate emergency.
‘2020 is the year of climate action. We urgently need clear and practical guides on how to deliver net zero carbon future now.' - Gary Clark, Chair of RIBA Sustainable Futures Group
The Climate Emergency Design Guide and Embodied Carbon Primer are being published by LETI - the London Energy Transformation Initiative. LETI is a voluntary network of over 1000 built environment professionals who are working together to put London on the path to a zero carbon future. The publications will be free to access and are being backed by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Chartered Institution of Building Service Engineers (CIBSE), as well leading businesses. Gary Clark, Chair of RIBA Sustainable Futures Group, comments, ‘2020 is the year of climate action. We urgently need clear and practical guides on how to deliver net zero carbon future now. The new LETI guides fulfil this aim and are a timely addition to the growing suite of guides. This is a must read for construction professionals.’
As things stand, the UK is not on track to hit the government target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Climate Emergency Design Guide is an essential tool to help the built environment create coordinated consensus and do more to stop runaway climate change. Building new homes to the highest efficient standards is an important first step to cutting emissions from housing. Clara Bagenal George (Associate at Elementa Consulting) who initiated LETI and is the lead editor of the report, said, ‘The building industry knows that we should be designing climate-friendly buildings now, but unfortunately only a fraction of new properties are of the standard needed to meet our climate targets.’
The Climate Emergency Design Guide covers 5 key areas: operational energy, embodied carbon, the future of heat, demand response and data disclosure. This ensures that developers, consultants and policy officers in the UK will have a reference point as to what defines what their developments should achieve to ensure our climate change targets are met.
LETI will also be publishing the Embodied Carbon Primer alongside the main guide, which offers supplementary guidance to those interested in exploring embodied carbon in more detail. Helen Hough, our Head of Sustainability, who led the graphics team for the main guide and participated in the workshops collating industry knowledge for the Embodied Carbon Primer says, ‘Reducing embodied carbon is just as important as reducing operational carbon, if not more so, as its effect on our environment is mostly felt on day one of a building. The Embodied Carbon Primer has been written to overcome the knowledge gap in the industry of how to reduce embodied carbon and how we can apply these strategies to our current and future projects.’
‘Reducing embodied carbon is just as important as reducing operational carbon, if not more so, as its effect on our environment is mostly felt on day one of a building.' - Helen Hough
Bryden Wood’s work on Landsec’s Sumner Street office scheme is featured as a case study because it delivers a significant reduction of embodied carbon intensity versus that of a traditional design. This efficiency is made possible by using P-DfMA (Platforms approach to design for manufacture and assembly) to optimise the use of materials whilst minimising the construction programme and limiting construction waste. Cundall, an engineering and sustainability consultancy, has produced an independent comparison of the embodied carbon between the traditional and P-DfMA designs, and found a 19.4%* reduction in embodied carbon per m2 in the P-DfMA design, a 36.4% carbon reduction in the substructure and a 20.21% reduction in the superstructure and facade.
The platform approach is cost-effective, available to everyone and will play a vital role in reducing the construction industry’s emissions and moving the industry towards the goal of net zero greenhouse gasses by 2050.
Read our e-books on our P-DfMA approach here.
The LETI guides are available to download here.
*scope includes substructure, superstructure, façade and MEP, which are all the aspects of the building where a Platform approach has been adopted. FF&E, finishes and external works follow a traditional approach.