WA Chapter President’s Message

Peter Hobbs, WA Chapter President

Never before has there been a summer like the this one. We’ve had fires, we’ve had drought and we’ve had floods, but never in this almost biblical succession. Man-made climate change is real – it’s now accepted that it’s the deniers who need to do the disproving rather than the other way around. For an empirical perspective, its fanciful to believe that the amount of man-made pollution pumped out and the immense disturbance of natural systems wouldn’t have some affect…

Architects have more potential than any other profession to contribute positively to the de-carbonisation of our environment, and we must become leaders in this space. Cities consume over 2/3’s of all energy and produce 70% of all CO2 emissions. From the materials used, to the energy used to heat or cool, and to the organisation of the city to obviate transport emmision- Architects are pivotal. We have the opportunity to contribute in so many ways. Material specification, orientation, ventilation and energy costs should be among the first topics discussed with our clients. Whole of life costings must be steered into the conversation. Can the footprint be smaller, do we need that extra bathroom, can we afford that special glass?

With councils, we need to spruik appropriate density and be prepared to argue in public forums. With clients, we need to be able to say no to things we know have an environmental consequence.

This is nothing new to most of us, the history of architecture is full of environmental warriors, and in WA, most practices and practitioners have this as a core value. In years gone by, it was easier to read environmental design – the brise soleil was so tangible – now we rely on double skins and fancy surfaces…

I’m pleased to say the Institute is ramping up its effort in this regard – we’ve Declared as have many practices, and a raft of CPD is coming your way. Let’s keep up the good fight.