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Going
Carbon
Neutral

Going Carbon Neutral

Photographer: Markus Spiske

The Carbon Neutral Journey

The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most serious issue of our time.

The Institute is committed to doing everything we can to advocate for stronger policies and a paradigm shift in behaviours to better protect our planet, now and into the future.

Part of this commitment is to ensure that as an organisation we become carbon neutral.

We are encouraging you, our 12,000 members, to do the same.

This dedicated page contains all the resources and information you need to join the more than 200 practices who have already started on the carbon neutral journey.

COMMIT – IMPLEMENT – ACHIEVE – CERTIFY

Why it matters

Committing to zero carbon

The Paris Agreement, to which Australia is a signatory, commits countries to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Australia’s buildings generate 23 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions.

Australia’s building sector can deliver up to 28% of Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target.

Architects are uniquely placed to help lead the transition to a carbon neutral future.

We have called on the Australian Government to establish a national plan towards zero carbon buildings by 2030 that can be supported and led where appropriate by state and local government.

2020 Winner of the David Oppenheim Award for Sustainable Architecture | Marrickville Library | BVN | Photographer: Tom Roe

How to join the carbon neutral journey

The steps to zero carbon

This webpage will provide you with all the information, tools and resources to guide your carbon neutral decision-making and journey.

What do we mean by carbon neutral?

Carbon neutrality means that you have reduced your climate impact to net zero, including through purchasing offsets where required.

  1. The first step on the #netzerocarbonjourney is to commit to the carbon neutral journey. You can do this by connecting to our partners Climate Active and following the prompts to going carbon neutral.
  2. The second step is to undertake a carbon audit to understand your total carbon emissions. 
  3. Step three is to then develop and implement an emissions reduction strategy. 
  4. The fourth step is to organise and independently certify your carbon neutral claim
  5. The fifth and final step is optional but one we encourage – that is to publicise your carbon neutral achievement, share the story of your journey and encourage others down the carbon neutral path.

Resources

Environment Acumen Practice Notes

The Institute’s Environment publication hosts a database of over 175 peer-reviewed design notes covering sustainability in the built environment.

Read through case studies and design notes covering topics such as place, energy, health and happiness, process, equity, materials and water.

Environment, available on Acumen Practice Notes, is an included benefit for A+, Member level 1, Affiliate Level 1, Graduate and Student members.

Free CPD, Acumen Notes and Resources

CPD, Acumen Practice Notes and resources

We’re providing all architects, regardless of membership, full unrestricted access to the following practice notes from our Acumen platform, and other resources which may be of assistance at this time.

The Narbethong Community Hall | BVN, Arup and a number of consultants working pro bono | Image: BVN
Through case studies and expert presentations, this specialised free CPD program explores ecology, impact, design, planning, building and rebuilding after a bushfire.
Red Cross volunteers assist people who were evacuated from Mallacoota to Hastings by Naval ship. Image courtesy of Australian Red Cross | Photographer: Mathew Lynn

AS 3959:2018, Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas was made available as a free resource last year.

Designing to heal: post-disaster rebuilding to assist community recovery

This paper outlines the significance of disasters and post-disaster recovery, highlights the need of designers to harness community skills, emphasises survivor participation in the planning and realisation of their post-disaster environment, and suggests some characteristics of design that may smooth the path to recovery.

Designing to heal: post-disaster rebuilding to assist community recovery – designing a process and product for recovery

This paper outlines the significance of disasters and post-disaster recovery, highlights the need of designers to harness community skills, emphasises survivor participation in the planning and realisation of their post-disaster environment, and suggests some characteristics of design that may smooth the path to recovery.
Bushfire rebuild, Blue Mountains, NSW | ECOdesign Architects | Photographer: Nigel Bell

This Note outlines the impact of climate change on bushfire conditions in Australia and the ensuing regulatory imperatives for planning and construction within bushfire prone areas. It provides an overview of bushfire attack, the Fire Danger Index, the regulatory framework plus development issues and concerns currently applicable to states and territories

When asked to design a ‘fire bunker’, ‘fire-shelter’, ‘fire refuge’, or the like, it is wise to be extremely careful and risk-averse about what you say in response to such a request, and preferably in writing.

Common risk areas for architects include liability for free advice, partial services, design and documentation without contract administration, contract administration on another architects’ design, certification without full inspection and contract administration, pre-purchase and other inspections, valuations, pro bono services, working in specialist areas, secondment of staff and staff qualifications.

NATSPEC TECHnotes: Bushfire protection DES018

The impact of bushfire on life and property can be reduced with responsible preparation and bushfire management plans.

Architects may provide pro bono services to a range of groups including community groups, through membership of churches, sporting or social clubs and out of a spirit of social compassion for communities in need, such as the victims of a natural disaster.

Common risk areas for architects include liability for free advice, partial services, design and documentation without contract administration, contract administration on another architects’ design, certification without full inspection and contract administration, pre-purchase and other inspections, valuations, pro bono services, working in specialist areas, secondment of staff and staff qualifications.

NATSPEC TECHnotes: Bushfire protection DES018

The impact of bushfire on life and property can be reduced with responsible preparation and bushfire management plans.

Showcase your commitment and inspire others

Photographer: Markus Spiske

Carbon neutral collateral

The Paris Agreement, to which Australia is a signatory, commits countries to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Australia’s buildings generate 23 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions.

Australia’s building sector can deliver up to 28% of Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target.

Architects are uniquely placed to help lead the transition to a carbon neutral future.

We have called on the Australian Government to establish a national plan towards zero carbon buildings by 2030 that can be supported and led where appropriate by state and local government.

Showcase your support

Want to get involved? Our Going Carbon Neutral campaign collateral pieces can be downloaded. Sign up below and you’ll receive an email with the link to access the Instagram graphics and e-signatures.

Support to government

Support to government

We’ll also reach out to relevant local, state and federal government agencies to work through how and where we can best support those affected. We will keep you updated as these discussions progress. We encourage you to keep up to date on our dedicated website page which we will continue to update once further initiatives are developed.

This is a very distressing time for many in our community. For those experiencing the devastation first hand, for those responding to it, and for those witnessing the heartbreak and damage to the country and the people close to them. It is a time to band together, to support each other and to take extra care of each other’s welfare.

Thank you to all members who are already helping at this time, and thank you to our first responders and our firefighters for their heroic efforts.

Should you require additional support, contact your local Chapter and we can put you in touch with our dedicated confidential Assistance Portal, who can provide counselling and support to those who may be struggling throughout this ongoing crisis.

We will continue to keep you updated and encourage you to seek assistance from colleagues and your local Chapter.

Photographer: Aditya Joshi

Financial donations

Red Cross volunteers assist people who were evacuated from Mallacoota to Hastings by Naval ship. Image courtesy of Australian Red Cross | Photographer: Mathew Lynn

Charity donations

There a number of national and state charities who are currently seeking donations to raise funds to support the victims of the bushfire crisis.

We are calling on our staff around the country to donate a day’s salary to charities including our own Foundation, which will be used to support various post-fire design and rebuild programs across many affected areas.