Alston Architects Environmental Policy
Environmental Responsibility starts with the office Ethos, this should endeavour to embed the responsibilities in to our employee’s, clients and colleagues way of being and thinking for sustainable living, to act as a continued consideration of the practice from inception to completion of designs and as a part of your everyday life.
Office Ethos: Minimum Waste / Maximum Recycling.
Alston Architects are a diverse practice that strive to achieve high environmental design standards, and transcend environmental legislation. It is important that techniques for pollution prevention and environmental best practice is at the forefront of what we do. This must start in the work place by delivering a quality working environment that ensures a safe workplace for employees and visitors in a way that minimises the offices environmental impact and transcend in to our designs.
What is an environmental policy?
An environmental policy is a working guide that embodies Alston Architects environmental ethos and outlines how Alston Architects implement these goals in the way they run the practice.
Why should Architecture practices have one?
Alston Architects have a duty to practice what they preach and commit to environmental goals in the form of an active environmental policy.
By committing in the form of words, Alston Architects make it clear to all who work for the practice, new members, clients and collaborators their environmental goals and aspirations, be it recycling targets or the specification of low energy materials.
If these goals are openly shared and communicated, they can be discussed, reviewed and improved. If there was ambiguity about the environmental agenda there is no benchmark from which to begin the conversation
What should it contain?
The underlying goal of the environmental policy should be to reduce our environmental impact on the world, in everything we do, in effect to tread lightly. It should cover how we work as an office, and how our environmental ideals are translated in our design work, and any particular aims we have.
Alston Architects have established a set of primary environmental objectives. These are to:
Reduce waste and encourage recycling
Understand the carbon footprint of all things they specify, design and build,
Stimulate local economies and building trades
Promote sustainable transport
Develop sustainable communities
These objectives have been distilled into three principles that can be applied to all our operations. For example:
REDUCE, DEVELOP, IMPROVE
This helps to channel actions and drive forward constant improvement.
These objectives then become actual and specific policies, such as:
Encourage move towards paperless projects by doing power point only presentations to clients, not printing out paper copy of project drawing stick sets. This puts into practice the ‘reduce waste and encourage recycling objective’
Operate a cycle to work scheme or a car share, work towards promoting sustainable transport.
Encouraging project architects to do a ‘specification map’ that pinpoints the location of all manufacturers and suppliers and proximity to the site, so each project can examine how local it is and whether it is stimulating local economies.
How should it be implemented?
In order for the objectives to be put into practice, an analysis of current workflows needs to take place. Understanding the current situation, and then integrating environmental objectives is the only way that the policies will materialise.
The environmental policy will clearly distinguish areas for how the business runs its operations, premises and staff protocols from the design work that the practice does.
The policy is to be part of the recruitment procedure and be communicated to new architects, assistants and admin staff.
The policy is also to be actively communicated to our clients and people we collaborate with, at the earliest stage of engagement.
All policies are to be easily to monitor and review – for example, keeping track of each projects active carbon footprint by displaying it on a communal notice board, or using energy usage monitors that show electricity gas used by the office.
Each policy is to have a person responsible for ensuring the practice is actively putting it into practice. For example, a year out student could be the recycling monitor, and a part 2 assistant the carbon footprint assessor for the office.
Who is responsible for it?
RESOURCES, ROLES, RESPONSIBILITIES & AUTHORITY
(ISO 14001 REF 4.4.1)
All personnel are responsible for ensuring that environmental issues arising from their own activities are managed according to legal requirements and Alston Architects environmental policy, procedures, and good management practice. Where questions are raised in respect of environmental matters, the employee consults the Environmental Representative.
The office leadership have worked to champion the environmental goals, and they must be active during the drafting of the policy to get their buy in. They are comfortable with the objectives and feel that they are compatible with the wider economic goals of the business.
We encourage you to consult with one of the team on their environmental fields, for advice and knowledge sharing throughout project development and on matters concerned with your everyday.
Evolve the policy
It is important that the Environmental policy at Alston Architects continues to evolve, we invite all our employers to make suggestions for additional practice policy that we can add to our existing environment policy.
The full signed policy has been made available by the EMS representative (Principal) for all employees to view in the office files, it can also be found on our website for clients to review. www.alstonarchitects.co.uk/environmentpolicy
What are the next steps?
As Alston Architects is a growing practice, we are looking to develop the policy into a full Environmental Management system by 2025 In ISO 14001:2015 the policies are developed into a full EMS (Environment Management System) that has more prescriptive and formalised methods of integrated policies into workflows, monitoring, reviewing practices that are guided by specific ISO references for example.
"Architecture is a political act, by nature. It has to do with the relationships between people and how they decide to change their conditions of living".