Profile: CO-AP are carbon neutral

Will Fung (left) and Tina Engelen (centre) with the CO-AP team | Photographer: Ross Honeysett | Facilitated by: Gemma Savio

Co-AP are certified carbon neutral

Director, Will Fung met with the Australian Institute of Architects to reflect on the “surprisingly easy process” of going carbon neutral.

Going carbon neutral was a surprisingly easy process. We engaged the Carbon Reduction Institute to run a carbon audit of our office, which involved going through a short process of information gathering and answering a series of questions about the things we use. If you’ve got reasonably good records, it’s quite easy to put that information together. We then received a report that outlined the size of our carbon footprint and a series of ways to offset that by investing in overseas carbon reduction initiatives like recycling or biomass technologies. 

The process has been really positive for us. It’s enhanced the culture of our office and we now have unified targets around sustainability, which we’re working towards together. It was really our staff who rallied for us to go carbon neutral. They were very much involved in the certification process, which asked them to report on their own carbon outputs; whether they walk to work, get the bus or cycle; if they buy their lunch or make their lunch at work, all those simple things. And in that we discovered that we didn’t need to do that much as far as changes to improve things, which was really encouraging 

Camperdown Childcare | CO-AP | Photographer: Ross Honeysett
Camperdown Childcare | CO-AP | Photographer: Ross Honeysett

With everyone in the studio on the same page, sustainability and carbon reduction has quite organically become an important point of discussion with our clients. Since we’ve had the No Co2 logo at the bottom of our emails our new clients tend to engage with that and ask us what it means to be carbon neutral. We’re finding that once we explain it and why it’s important to us, they want to know what we can do as designers to make their houses more sustainable and more sensitive to this issue. It’s interesting that we haven’t tried to market it as something that we do but that little logo is powerful in initiating those conversations with clients and consultants as well. 

We’re tired of seeing waste in the built environment and it’s a dilemma for us as architects when we’re designing houses for clients who often have a bigger is better mindset. Being carbon neutral becomes a subtle mechanism of influence for a less consumptive culture. 

Our commitment to climate action

The Australian Institute of Architects is supporting all members in their shift to becoming carbon neutral – it’s the simplest step towards reaching zero.

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