RIAI launches commitments to delivering a sustainable built environment
Ireland’s body for registered architects announces new sustainability policy and calls for delivery of sustainable housing to meet changing population needs at annual conference
Dublin, Friday, October 4: The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) has published a new sustainability report to address the impact of the built environment on climate change.
The RIAI’s ‘Sustainability for the Current Global Environmental Crisis’ policy will be published at the RIAI Annual Conference, a two-day event which gets underway at the RDS in Dublin today.
The largest gathering in the architectural calendar, the themes of this year’s RIAI Annual Conference are Climate Change, Housing and Placemaking. The conference is being attended by 600 delegates from Ireland and abroad, and will be opened by Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, TD. Among the speakers is award-winning Irish-American architect Lorcan O’Herlihy who will deliver today’s keynote address on the topic of ‘Social Occupation’, and the responsibility that architects have to cities and the people who occupy them.
Launching the RIAI sustainability policy at the conference, David Browne, President of the RIAI, said: “We have to focus on climate change now because society – and architecture – doesn’t have an option. Construction is one of the key causes of global warming. Construction and the energy in use of buildings, when combined, account for almost 50% of annual energy use, 40% of greenhouse gas emissions, half of all raw material extraction and a third of all water use. In this context there is an overwhelming moral and professional obligation on Architects to take a leading role in tackling climate change in the built environment and on large-scale master planning projects to mitigate related environmental damage.”
Amongst the actions of the RIAI’s ‘Sustainability for the Current Global Environmental Crisis’ policy are commitments that the RIAI and its Members will:
- Make sustainability in the built environment a core objective of their work.
- Deliver projects that exhibit exemplar performance through the adoption of appropriate and ambitious building performance standards, encompassing the broad interpretations of sustainability and best practice.
- Support members in educating their clients in the public and private sectors on the critical importance and substantial opportunities of sustainable design in new build, retrofit and refurbishment projects and in the planning of our villages, towns and cities.
- Consider the effects, from the local to the global, on ecosystems over the entire components and building life cycle, looking at the circular economy and ensuring that our building stock is capable of adaptive re-use for people of all ages.
- Develop collaborations with other professional organisations nationally and across the EU to share policy objectives and goals.
Kathryn Meghen, RIAI CEO said: “The themes for this year’s RIAI conference are Climate Change, Placemaking and Housing. The delivery of quality housing that builds sustainable communities and provides better homes in the right places is key. In our discussion of housing, we will present a number of new ideas around housing and urban regeneration as well as how to create a sense of place in new residential schemes. By bringing together thought leaders and architects from across Ireland, we hope to encourage new thinking around what is a key challenge.”
Opening the RIAI Annual Conference, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, TD said: “I am delighted to be opening the RIAI Conference 2019. The Conference themes of Climate Change, Housing and Placemaking are all key priorities for this Government. I commend the RIAI for the line-up of speakers, who will bring fresh thinking to each of these areas. Architects contribute to Ireland’s culture and heritage, bringing quality design to the fore in our built environment, and Irish architects are rightly recognised and celebrated internationally for the high calibre of their work.”
Registered Architects in Ireland have also launched an Irish ‘Architects Declare’ movement, asking for a commitment from Architects and the construction sector to implement change within the building industry to address climate change. Architects Declare was launched earlier this year in the UK and has now spread to 10 other countries across the world. The full declaration can be found on the RIAI Website: https://www.riai.ie/news/article/irish_architects_declare_climate_biodiversity_emergency
The conference will also see the launch of the RIAI Annual Review Vol.8 – which features award-winning architecture from the RIAI Awards as well as specially commissioned essays, including one by Dermot Bannon on ‘Why we need to talk architecture’.
For conference information and to view the programme, please visit: www.riaiconference.ie.