Our professional affiliations

 

RISE Design Studio Ltd is a member of The Green Register and registered with the Architects Registration Board. Our Director, Sean Ronnie Hill, is a Chartered Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, the professional association of architects in the UK. This post provides some information about these organisations and the interests they represent.

Professional affiliations

The Green Register of Construction Professionals is a not-for-profit membership organisation that promotes sustainable building practices to all of the disciplines within the construction industry. Core activities of the organisation include: training on sustainable building practices; maintaining a register of members (all members undergo at least two days of Green Register training; and networking to allow knowledge exchange. Sustainable architecture is central to our work (see our recent post on the topic) and the publicly-available register of members is a useful source for potential clients looking for architects and other construction professionals who are committed to sustainable building. The Green Register website also hosts a very useful blog for those interested in sustainable building techniques, news, discussion and legislation.

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is an independent, public interest body that was established by the UK Parliament in 1997 to regulate the architecture profession in the UK. ARB prescribes the qualifications required to become an architect and ensures that architects meet the standards for conduct and practice. All architects in the UK must be registered with ARB. ARB maintains the UK Register of Architects, which lists qualified architects and is available to search on the ARB website. The ARB website also provides a wealth of information for members of the public and provides some guidance on key topics to discuss with an architect if embarking on an architecture project.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)  is also connected with the architects across the UK but has a slightly different role to the ARB. With around 44,000 members, RIBA promotes architecture and provides professional training and support. RIBA also maintains the British Architectural Library, which houses over four million items, including architecture books and papers. Since 2004, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and RIBA have worked together to promote enjoyment and appreciation of architecture, with the Architecture Gallery at the V&A being home to the first permanent gallery dedicated to the subject in the UK. RIBA is also known for running several architecture awards, including the Stirling Prize for ‘Best New Building of the Year’.

Sustainable architecture principles: environment, energy, efficiency

 

Buildings account for about half of the UK’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Globally, architecture was responsible for 40-50% of waste deposits in landfills at the turn of the new millennium, and 20-30% of greenhouse gas emissions.

The environmental integrity of a building (i.e. how it is designed and operated) is now a key consideration in the design of new buildings and the renovation of existing ones. More and more architects and designers are realising that good design improves quality of life and minimises harmful impacts on our health. Clients are also seeing the benefits of more environmentally responsible buildings through future-proofing, reduced operating costs, and comfort and health benefits. As a result, we are seeing more ‘sustainable architecture’ projects, which seek to minimise the negative environmental impact of buildings by efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy and development space.

Sustainable architects

So, what are the three main characteristics of a sustainable architecture project?

Environmentally-friendly building materials
A sustainable architect typically chooses to use environmentally-friendly building materials. The most desirable materials are those that are recycled or renewable, as well as those that require the least energy to manufacture. There is often a focus on using locally-obtained woods and stone, reducing the distance that materials travel before being used in the construction process and supporting local trades. There is a preference for wood that is harvested responsibly from certified forests and all other materials are non-synthetic and non-toxic. Recycling is at the heart of a sustainable architect’s design. Although recycled building materials were difficult to source in the early 1990s, there is now an active trade in recycled architectural salvage, particularly by specialist companies providing materials from demolition sites.

Energy and resource efficiency
Sustainable architecture is underpinned by a philosophy that advocates sustainable energy sources. Where feasible, steps are taken to design for energy efficiency, including the use of renewable energy sources such as wind, geothermal and solar. A sustainable architect recognises that the energy efficiency of buildings can be increased in a variety of ways. A building can be oriented to take full advantage of seasonal changes in the sun’s position, and energy-efficient lighting and appliances can be installed. Energy conservation is also key: buildings can be ‘weatherised’ for maximum protection against the loss of warm or cool air, and appropriate insulating materials and window glazing can be installed to reduce heat loss in ways that do not cause indoor humidity.

Efficient use of space
The sustainable architect recognises the importance of indoor environmental quality for affecting how an individual feels in a space and focuses on features such as a healthy indoor environment with adequate ventilation, temperature control, and the use of materials that do not emit toxic gases. The incorporation of earth shelters, roof gardens, and extensive planting throughout and around buildings is also encouraged. In the UK, a study by CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, now Design Council Cabe) of five new academic buildings and campuses found that more than 70% of staff and students believed that the facilities and functions of the buildings they work in improved the way they felt and behaved.

Buildings built to the Passivhaus standard are a great example of these sustainable architecture and design principles in practice. We’ll be writing more about Passivhaus in our next post.

New Website Launched

We have recently launched our new website and part of it is this blog. We aim to add articles of interest and news about RISE Design Studio at least once a month so visit again soon to see what’s going on…