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Architects Declare launches Practice Guide at Built Environment Summit

Architects Declare today published its Practice Guide, which we have developed to help signatory architectural practices convert their declaration of a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency into meaningful action and build momentum within their practice. Co-written by members of the Architects Declare Steering Group and many Architects Declare volunteers, and reviewed by leading industry experts, it features over 60 exemplar projects from a range of practices in the UK and abroad. We would like to thank all those involved for their dedication in producing this piece of guidance.

A live, working document, the Practice Guide helps fulfil the fourth point in Architects Declare’s 12-point declaration by encouraging the sharing of knowledge and research on an open-source basis. Part 1 of the guide is a Practice Roadmap which provides 5 simple steps to transform your business. Part 2 is a Project Design Guide focused on the fundamentals of truly sustainable design and demonstrated through exemplars. The AD Practice Guide will evolve and be refined in future iterations as our understanding of the climate and biodiversity crises develops, and as our industry innovates to find new solutions to these challenges. We will seek the support of our signatory architectural practices and others in ensuring future versions of the guide remain useful.

We launched the Guide today at the Built Environment Summit, organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects in association with Architects Declare. Announcing the Practice Guide at the Summit, Tara Gbolade of Gbolade Design Studio and a member of the Architects Declare Steering Group, said:

"Last year our signatories told us they wanted Architects Declare to be more than a moment of declaration. They wanted a supportive network that addressed the lack of knowledge and direction on this journey. We want to say ‘Thank you’ to all who contributed to it, the countless volunteers, and those who have endorsed the Guide"

The Guide is available now from the Resources page, along with a short form for signatories' feedback and for anyone who would like to help develop further versions of the document to register their interest.

Endorsing the Guide, Ben Derbyshire, a past president of the RIBA, said:

"Most architecture practices are small businesses for whom creating a route map to zero carbon operation and monitoring progress is a serious challenge on top of the day to day pre-occupation with project delivery. Equally well guiding our clients towards the right carbon-cutting decisions in the cost conscious and risk averse world of development is a tough ask. So the practical guidance from the Architects Declare Guide as a growing knowledge platform is a real boon for those of us wrestling with the issues."

And Jess Hrivnak, Sustainable Development Adviser with the RIBA, said:

“The Architects Declare Practice Guide is a compendium of advice for everyone, no matter the size or scale of business, on how to implement and realise the AD Declaration Points."

29 October 2021

: Launches

Report - Built for the Environment: Addressing the climate and biodiversity emergency with a fair and sustainable built environment.

RIBA, in partnership with Architects Declare, has today published Built for the Environment: Addressing the climate and biodiversity emergency with a fair and sustainable built environment. The report demonstrates how:

  • The built environment has a significant environmental footprint
  • Ambitious change in the built environment sector is possible
  • The built environment has the capability to transition to a sustainable future
  • The built environment sector is committed to change
  • There are enormous social, economic, health, and wellbeing benefits to shifting to a sustainable built environment.

Built for the Environment - published in the lead-up to the RIBA and Architects Declare Built Environment Summit (18th & 29th October ) and the COP26 global climate conference in Glasgow (1st -12th November) - sets out ten principles for a transition to a fair and sustainable built environment. Specific recommendations address international agreements and commitments, national strategies and roadmaps, financial frameworks, building codes, planning systems, public infrastructure and procurement, voluntary standards, contracts, appointments, and procurement documents, design processes and collaborative approaches, and education and qualifications.

"With nearly 40% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions attributable to buildings and construction, it is imperative that the outcomes from COP26 include robust, ambitious, and extensive action on the built environment. Whatever actions are taken now, average global surface temperature will continue to increase until at least the midcentury. Given the scale of existing built environment and the time it takes to transform systems effectively, we need robust interim targets to hit breakthroughs in the coming years and decades'. While it is fair to say that changes to norms, customs, and culture do take time, understanding of human-induced climate change has been developing for several decades. We now stand on the brink of a global breakthrough in climate action."

"This report shows that it is possible for the built environment to operate within planetary limits, and as such all those involved in the sector – including policymakers – can and must take decisive and ambitious action now."

Also published with the report is an Endorser Pack - available at the same link as the report itself, above. RIBA and Architects Declare now seek organisations from across the sector to endorse the report, which trails the Built Environment Summit – a two-day virtual conference on 28 and 29 October that will provide an opportunity for the sector to unite ahead of COP26.

21 September 2021

: Launches

RIBA and Architects Declare launch open call for climate action research

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Architects Declare have launched an open call for research to present at the inaugural Built Environment Summit and to form accompanying report, which will be presented to global leaders at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

Co-hosted by RIBA and Architects Declare, the Built Environment Summit (BESt) will take place in London from 28-29 October 2021. The summit will share examples of innovative practice and explore ways to harness political support to decarbonise the built environment, ahead of COP26.

The open call seeks evidence, research, and exemplar projects (built or un-built) under the following themes:

1. The significance of the built environment – research that demonstrates the social and economic benefits of sustainable buildings.

2. The environmental footprint of the built environment – analysis on the current environmental impact of buildings.

3. How to affect change in the built environment – research on the cultural, economic, and industry landscapes affecting the built environment.

4. The built environment industry’s capabilities – examples of innovative technologies and methodologies.

5. The industry is committed to change – initiatives and educational reforms that demonstrate commitment to climate action.

6. The industry needs Government support to change – evidence that shows the benefits of environmental regulation.

The deadline for these submissions is 14 June. More detailed information about all these categories can be found on the RIBA website here as well as an opportunity to register your interest in attending the Built Environment Summit in October.

Alongside the call for research, the RIBA and Architects Declare also invite Expressions of Interest to sit on the BESt Expert Advisory Panel. The Panel will support the selection of contributors and curation of the conference. Please apply by June 1 using this link

Contractors Declare launches

Contractors Declare launches

Contractors Declare has now launched in the UK, following on from the launch of Builders Declare in Australia. All contractors and builders are encouraged to join. If you are outside the UK, and wish to start this declaration in your own country, please click here for details.

1 July 2020

: Launches

New international declarations

New international declarations

Three new declarations have launched, bringing the number of countries involved with Architects Declare to 23. Finland, the US and the Czech Republic are now part of Construction Declares and will be a part of our ongoing strategy of how best to take action in relation to the Climate and Biodiversity Crisis.

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