The World is increasingly waking up to the scale of the climate change and biodiversity loss crisis. The risk of catastrophic damage to the natural world is ever increasing, and to a large degree caused by the environmental impact of construction, which is responsible for over 40% of global CO2 emissions. Despite widespread acceptance of this reality, the pace of change is not nearly fast enough to remedy the situation. Current ways of regulating building performance and construction have not achieved sufficient reductions in carbon emissions from buildings. For everyone working in construction and the built environment today, meeting the needs of society within the earth’s ongoing ecological means will demand a paradigm shift in practice.

NHA are signatories to Architects Declare
NHA are signatories to Architects Declare

NHA Objectives

At NHA we aim to minimise the environmental impact of our designs, and our actions. Concern for the environment is central to our work as architects. We have enormous potential as designers to create more sustainable outcomes and drive change - both through our own design skills and through influencing others.

NHA are signatories to Architects Declare and the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge. The latter commits us to strive towards a series of well researched performance targets. These set a challenging carbon emissions reduction trajectory by 2030, to have a realistic prospect of achieving net zero carbon for the whole UK building stock by 2050.

To deliver our objectives we aim to:

  • Foster a practice culture that values environmental awareness and encourages collaboration and a sense of personal responsibility.
  • As signatories to Architects Declare, we seek to deliver, advocate and work towards the aspirations of the Declaration.
  • Achieve, and advocate, the voluntary perfor­mance standards (and performance data gathering goals) set out in the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge for operational energy use, water use and embodied carbon, and champion these with prospective clients.
  • Minimise the environmental impact of our day-to-day activities in the workplace by setting and reviewing a range of targets.
  • Carefully select and monitor consultants that we work with, and our suppliers, to ensure appropriate standards of environmental management and performance.
  • Continue to operate within an Environmen­tal Management System (EMS) that meets the requirements of BS EN ISO 14001:2015 and strive for continual improvement.

NHA Environment Group

At NHA we aim to embed environmental awareness throughout the practice. Our in-house Environment Group includes members of the management team as well as project architects and administrative staff. The Group is responsible for keeping the practice up to date on environmental issues, overseeing good practice, sharing knowledge, and monitoring progress and performance for our design work and office operations.

NHA Environmental Roadmap

The NHA Environmental Roadmap is structured and maintained by our Environment Group. The roadmap sets out NHA’s Environmental Management System (EMS) – a systematic approach to managing the environmental impact of our office and the work that we do. The strategy sets out our environmental policy and objectives and how we intend to achieve them. It provides simple guidance with signposts to key knowledge resources, helps us monitor our environmental performance and examines how we can continuously improve.

The Roadmap is continually updated, but is reviewed formally at least once a year, and published annually. In doing so, we assess our progress and reflect on the ever-changing circumstances that affect our work. We can then adjust our policies, objectives and processes in order to continuously improve. In part, therefore, the roadmap looks forward (Set targets, Measure, Reduce, Share), but it also looks back at what we’ve achieved in the last year (Review & Improve).