Lancaster Architects Among First Signing up to RIBA Climate Challenge

Architects worldwide are realising that climate change is the fundamental design challenge of our time. With the planet approaching a tipping point, all other concerns – many of them profoundly important – are nonetheless subsidiary.

HPA, based in Lancaster, have put this at the forefront of practice models, by becoming one of the first in their area, and at the vanguard nationally, to sign up to the 2030 Climate Challenge scheme, instigated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

In developed countries, buildings are hugely complicit in climate change – even more so than those higher publicised culprits: vehicles. As part of the wider construction industry, the profession contributes significantly to climate change. The fabrication, occupation, maintenance, and demolition of built environment consumes about 36% of global energy and 50% of all raw materials annually. It also creates 45% of UK CO2 emissions.

RIBA is urging architects to become part of the solution rather than the problem. In June 2019, it declared an environment and climate emergency, and in October launched the 2030 Climate Challenge Target. The intention is to produce net zero carbon new and retrofitted buildings by 2030, significantly quicker than mandated by current Building Regulations. This runs alongside campaigning for central Government to accelerate changes to thermal requirements in the Building Regulations.

Our director and RIBA National Councillor, Richard Wooldridge, said: “When we first heard about this initiative it sounded a daunting challenge. However, research on a number of our finished projects shows we’re already meeting carbon standards for some of the targets in the Climate Challenge. On a practical level, this new initiative will assist HPA in advising clients on the growing number of dynamic options we have to improve the performance and reduce operational costs of their buildings.”

Our practice already has a much-commended reputation for sustainability, proactively seeking the latest research, certification, and materials to continually improve efficiency. We adopt a ‘fabric first’ approach to design as standard, designing buildings which meet at least the current ‘A’ EPC Rating where renewables are incorporated.

With an expanding portfolio of completed projects already meeting targets within the RIBA Climate Challenge, we are also introducing post occupancy evaluation measures, such as monitoring energy use and user comfort. The practice has a proven track record in retro-fitting, with a recent project upgrading a rural Victorian detached house from an ‘F’ to a ‘B’ rated EPC.

To explore HPA’s sustainability sectors and expertise, click here.

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