RIBA Publishes Guide to Building Sustainably

THE ROYAL INSTITUTE of British Architects (RIBA) has published a new guide to help RIBA members and the wider sector embed sustainable outcomes into practice.

The Sustainable Outcomes Guide aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and outlines eight clear, measurable goals that practices can aim for on projects of all scales, underpinned by specific design principles to achieve them.

The RIBA sustainable outcomes are:

  • Net zero operational carbon
  • Net zero embodied carbon
  • Sustainable water cycle
  • Sustainable connectivity and transport
  • Sustainable land use and bio-diversity
  • Good health and wellbeing
  • Sustainable communities and social value
  • Sustainable life cycle cost

The guide has been created to support the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge, an initiative to encourage RIBA Chartered Practices to achieve net zero whole life carbon for all new and retrofitted buildings by 2030.

Alan Jones RIBA President

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said, “In order to meet the ambitious net zero in all new and retrofitted buildings by 2030, we must employ a thorough method of assessment that can be embedded into practice. The RIBA’s Sustainable Outcomes Guide provides this framework and clarifies the absolute targets for a sustainable future.

“As architects we are guardians of the built environment. Thanks to our education and continuing professional development we are equipped with the tools to combine strategic ideas with performance and regulation, choice of material, construction and technology – from initiation to occupancy and use. The time for warm words is over. I urge all members to use the guide as a matter of urgency.”

Chair of the RIBA Sustainable Futures Group, Gary Clark, added, “The RIBA Sustainable Outcomes Guide offers a clear road map to address the climate emergency. The differing complexities of sustainability have been distilled into a set of nine sustainable outcomes, aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with concise metrics that can be measured and verified in use.

“Only by a rigorous ‘measurement and verification’ method of assessment can we deliver real and lasting reductions in carbon emissions that not only address the climate emergency, but create beautiful places that are also sustainable.”

Download the Sustainable Outcomes Guidance here.



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