There is no going back: sustainability and environmentally-friendly building design are the future. Changes in building regulations reflect and reinforce this.
In her introduction to The RIBA Guide to Sustainability and Practice, Angela Brady states, “The drive towards sustainability in the built environment represents both a challenge and a business opportunity for architects.”
The architect has a key role when responding to environmental requirements in building projects. Any new design or refurbishment now has to have an understanding of any potential environmental impact at its heart, from energy performance and CO2 emissions to water consumption and drainage.
Wayne Langford is a leading proponent of porous paving solutions. As technical consultant for Sudstech and Trailflex, he understands the importance of BREEAM and the kind of issues and pressures that Architects face. “Any building design, whether a new build or a re-fit, is going to be challenging. But there are benchmark standards that can help.”
One key benchmark is BREEAM – Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology. This scheme offers various levels of accreditation. Under its BREEAM RFO expansion, it also includes refurbishment of existing structures, providing a valuable set of targets for architects to work towards.
“BREEAM also provides a mark of achievement for architects,” Wayne continues. “Accreditation has become a positive business asset in a climate where the benefits of sustainable buildings for clients are very much in the forefront of architectural practice.”
In very practical terms, Architects also rely on providers of BREEAM-rated products to support their building designs and to realise their desired outcomes. One such supporting area is in sustainable drainage systems.
“We aim to support architects and support the environment. Our range of products includes resin-bound aggregate surfacing and stone and rubber paving systems,” explains Wayne Langford. “Another of our products are infiltration blocks that are 100 per cent environmentally-friendly and built to last a lifetime. The effectiveness of our products is reflected in their BREEAM accreditations, with up to 3 BREEAM credits available”
Against a background of increased flood risk in the UK, drainage solutions are a prominent factor in building design and refurbishment, taking on a greater level of urgency following the worst floods on record in January 2014.
We would like to thank Wayne Langford for his contribution to this article