Australian Architects Push For Commitment At Copenhagen

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18th November 2009, 10:54am - Views: 735

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Wednesday 18 November 2009

Australian architects push 

for Copenhagen commitment

The Australian Institute of Architects will deliver 15 strong

‘calls for action’ at next month’s United Nations conference in

Copenhagen in an effort to ensure the forum deliver an

ambitious and effective international response to climate


Announcing the call-for-action statement today, Institute National President

Melinda Dodson said the paper covers issues ranging from the pressing need for

an international standard of accounting for carbon emissions, to appropriate

planning for the unavoidable impacts of climate change, and incentives to drive

innovation to ensure greater and faster take-up of sustainable design.

Developed with Architecture Canada, the Royal Institute of British Architects and

the Commonwealth Association of Architects, the statement highlights the

importance of the crucial roles architecture and the built environment can play in

reducing the climate change impact on the environment. Buildings and cities

currently account for almost half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

“Our call-for-action statement is designed to encourage governments, architects

and the broader community to act on extensive research which shows the

significant contribution the built environment can make to emissions mitigation -

if comprehensive efforts in energy efficiency are pursued,” Ms Dodson said.

In summary, the calls-for-action items include 10 principles: 

Recognition of the fundamental importance of the built environment as central

to the international climate change mitigation and adaptation agenda. 

Binding emissions targets and a carbon price to drive market change - a price

on carbon reflecting the true consequences of its use and complementary

government policies and incentives facilitating the competiveness of

sustainable design.

Credible and verified measurement of built environment emissions, being an

international standard of accounting for carbon emissions. 

Innovative and pre-emptive design and adaptation of the built environment in

response to unavoidable impacts of climate change. 

Partnerships between developing and developed economies to share

information regarding sustainable design and technologies. 

Enabling policy - whether market mechanisms, government policy, private

sector initiatives or voluntary action.



Incentives to drive innovation and reward greater sustainability in the built


Investment in pilot projects to trial and demonstrate innovative approaches to

built environment models. 

Risk management in the face of climate uncertainties - future scenarios,

including the threat of peak oil and sea level rise, should be factored into the

way built environments are conceived and planned.

A concerted program to improve existing building stock to encourage positive

change, including energy efficient refurbishment and retrofitting, as well

sustainable design for new buildings.

Institute CEO David Parken said the call-for-action statement also includes a

blueprint for action outlining the Australian architecture profession’s support for a

range of measures. They are: 

Emissions reduction targets of up to 90 per cent on 1990 levels, by 2050

(President Obama’s campaign platform included a pledge to reduce

greenhouse gas emissions 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050).

Requiring the majority of all new buildings in developed countries to be

designed to be carbon neutral in energy use by 2020. Notwithstanding

market and other barriers, the technology, knowledge and expertise to do

this are becoming more widely available. 

Helping to establish an international accredited, independent offset

mechanism or framework for the building sector to offset emissions from

the built environment where emissions cannot be entirely eliminated,

particularly from existing stock. 

By 2020 a 30 per cent reduction in emissions generated by existing

buildings in developed countries. With the support of the right incentives,

the architecture profession's knowledge and skills will help reduce future

emissions, by applying sustainable design principles to retrofitting,

renovations and extensions.

An electronic clearing house to facilitate capacity building and the transfer

of knowledge skills and expertise as they relate to sustainable design

principles and strategies for the built environment and our cities.   

“The world faces a pressing challenge: maintaining, and indeed improving,

standards of living, addressing social equity and economic prosperity,while

eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels and reversing environmental

degradation,” Mr Parken said.

“The Kyoto Protocol, which was the first step towards concerted international

action to limit greenhouse gas emissions expires in 2012. The next 36 months are

crucial, and definitive international action is required to build a new international

climate change agreement. Such a treaty must be science based, equitable,

practical and binding.”

For further details, and the full call-to-action statement, contact: 

Trish Croaker, National Media/PR Advisor 

T 0408 756 163


Kirsten Trengove, National Media/PR Assistant

T 0439 555 427



The Australian Institute of Architects is the peak body for the architectural profession, representing more

than 9500 members across Australia and overseas.  The Institute actively works to improve the quality of

our built environment by promoting quality, responsible and sustainable design. Visit the Institute at

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