Things that make a difference to developers

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Sophie Walker
EMEA Upstream Sustainability Services

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Guide to Sustainability in Practice identifies the strong business case for sustainability, the benefits for clients and 10 steps architects can take to help build sustainability into their daily practice. The guide is succinct and it’s well-linked to existing tools and frameworks. It’s definitely stronger on environmental rather than social sustainability though.

I have simple lessons of my own that I communicate to developers about effective sustainability implementation – by which I mean such things as really driving down carbon or genuinely improving levels of wellbeing, especially at master-plan level. Two of the critical ones are:

  1. To make it simple so that every single development or refurbishment incorporates sustainability from the earliest stage.
  2. Close the loop – always find out how your buildings work in operation and always be prepared to report publicly.

In looking around the world at exemplar sustainability developments recently, that’s one of the key things that the London Olympics development has done so well – set aspirational targets and then report publicly and frequently on how it’s done. We can all learn from this.

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