We are architects who exist to design building and places, but we find ourselves in a radically different context from the energy-rich and, apparently, consequence free 20th century - and this is a critical moment.
The demand for buildings and places, reused, reimagined, adapted or newly built, will continue and the International Energy Agency estimates that the total building stock will double in footprint by 2050.
Past construction practices mean that 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings and to limit warming to 1.5C, emissions of all greenhouse gases must peak by 2025 and reach zero by 2050, through the adoption of aggressive reduction trajectories.
So as architects, what should we do?
We must work with engineers, clients and contractors to find new forms of architecture that fit within our collective carbon budget yet still create outstanding buildings which are enjoyed and valued, and last through time by adapting to their changing context - social, cultural, functional. and climatic.
Our Sustainability and Building Performance Team supports and influences the development of this new form of architecture in three areas: Our Projects, Our Profession, Our Practice and Our Ideas.
The Delivering Net Zero in Use Toolkit has been developed to complement the 'Delivering Net Zero in Use: guide for architects', which was first published back in November 2022 as part of AHMM's Knowledge Transfer Partnership with UCL's Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering.
We have launched a new guide to Delivering Net Zero in Use, developed as part of our Knowledge Transfer Partnership with UCL's Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering.
This report outlines AHMM's pathway to achieving net zero under the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), putting forward a governance plan to ensure accountability, engagement and reporting.
As founder signatories and steering group members of Architects Declare, we are actively supporting other architects and the wider built environment industry to take collective and effective action on climate change.
As a member of the RIBA Sustainable Futures Group, we co-wrote the RIBA’s 2030 Challenge, Sustainability Outcomes and Strategy for the Plan of Work, all of which have proven to be critical documents in supporting our profession’s drive to a sustainable and zero carbon future.
We have been collaborating with University College London, co-investing in a project to develop a model for the delivery of net zero carbon designs for high-density mixed-use developments together with a corresponding Net Zero Carbon Toolkit.
AHMM has signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) which aligns AHMM’s climate mitigation target for our own operations with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Our plan is to identify how our carbon footprint is created and develop a reduction plan across all areas of our business to get to zero carbon operations as soon as possible.
Our Facilities team are in control of much of our Scope 1 and 2 emissions. We have embarked on a series of managerial measures to improve the efficiency and comfort of our offices using energy and indoor air quality monitoring. This will be extended to more fundamental infrastructural changes in the coming years to deliver our zero carbon plan in time.
Scope 3 emissions are the majority of AHMM’s footprint. A new procurement process has been implemented to identify carbon associated with purchases and support making decisions based on low carbon options. Administrative support teams oversee a large proportion of Scope 3 emissions predominantly through booking, organising and coordinating business travel. A strategy is being drawn up with these teams to set emissions reduction plans that reduce the number of journeys and the amount of associated emissions for those journeys that are still necessary.