Australian Architects Declare a Biodiversity + Climate Emergency
Earlier this year, Fulton Trotter Architects signed up to the “Australian Architects Declare a Biodiversity + Climate Emergency” declaration. In signing this, Fulton Trotter Architects made a commitment to strengthen our working practices, to create places that have a more positive impact on the world. We aim to consider, more broadly, the impacts of our building projects beyond the site boundaries, on ecosystems, wildlife and the community.
We attended Architects Declare meetings in Brisbane and Sydney respectively, to find out what other architectural firms are doing with regard to climate change. The following items were highlighted for further action:
- Building Life Cycle Analysis
- The need for greater consultation with local indigenous groups
- Sharing of resources and knowledge between architecture firms
- Adaptive reuse of existing buildings
In response to signing the declaration, we have formed an internal Climate Change task force, with the purpose of improving both our in house operations, and our approaches to projects. The task force is currently focussing on:
- Strengthening our Project processes to incorporate a more sustainable approach
- Checking the environmental credentials of our materials and product suppliers
- Reviewing our Project Specification template to incorporate additional sustainable materials and construction methods.
Integral to our approach is to analyze the proposed site and its existing context, as well as consideration of our clients’ needs. We assess existing buildings to see if they can be repurposed or renovated rather than demolished, as demolition and new construction accounts for nearly 40% of energy related carbon emissions. Of course repurposing isn’t always a possibility but it can have some great benefits for our clients including:
- Spaces that improve health and wellbeing
- Educational opportunities in improved connections to the landscape
- Potentially lower running costs over the life of the building
We encourage our clients to adopt a regenerative approach to their projects, and understand the potential for each project to contribute positively both to the environment and to the community.
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Words by Wendy Hay, Associate