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Sustainability expert for RIBA South / South East 2019 Awards

The RIBA South and South East Awards celebration took place last night at Newbury Racecourse.

The RIBA Awards are regarded internationally as a mark of excellence, recognising the best architecture and architects. A RIBA Regional Award is given to a UK building for its regional importance as a piece of architecture.

Alongside the announcement of the winner (from 34 shortlisted projects from the South and South East), there were also several RIBA Special Awards given out including the RIBA Sustainability Award. (Sponsored by Michelmersh: Britain’s Brick Specialists).

This year the RIBA Sustainability Awards go to:

RIBA Sustainability Award Winner (South East Region): Cork House, Berkshire by Matthew Barnett Howland with Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton.  

RIBA Sustainability Award Winner (South Region):  Hill House Passivhaus, East Sussex by MELOY Architects.  

Every project shortlisted for a RIBA Regional Award is visited by a carefully selected jury of leading architects and relevant experts in the built environment. To encourage new talent and fresh perspectives, the regional juries (comprised of a Chair, regional representative, lay assessor, sustainability specialist and conservation specialist) are changed each year.

And this year it was the turn of very own Ruth Butler as the sustainability expert for the region.

sustainability expert RIBA awards
King’s Cross Academy and Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children (for developer, Argent) – RIBA Award Winner 2016.  Ruth was the Partner responsible for this project pre-planning while at David Morley Architects

As part of the RIBA’s commitment to sustainable design, the RIBA Awards programme requires a sustainability statement for every building submitted for an award. In this statement, they have to supply energy metrics, as well as a narrative text explaining the project’s overall approach to sustainability. Because the buildings are generally less than a year old, they rarely have actual performance metrics, so the judging panel rely on predicted design data.

The metrics required for RIBA Awards are broken down into heating and electrical demand.  Any on-site renewable energy contribution must be reported separately alongside overall demand.

For the narrative text, architects have to address the wider aspects of sustainability. This text often describes efforts to reduce embodied energy, improve social sustainability and put in place long-term energy monitoring.

Ruth’s role was to examine and judge the sustainability statements of all the shortlisted projects and make a recommendation to the regional panel for the recipient of the regional RIBA Sustainability Award.

Sustainable building design is now at the heart of the annual RIBA awards. As reported by the Architects Journal on last year’s winners:

“A perusal of the RIBA regional sustainability award winners is equally encouraging. The emphasis is on simple and smart passive design…”

If successful, the Regional Award winners will be considered for a highly-coveted RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence, the results of which will be announced in June. The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize, the best new building of the year, will be drawn from the RIBA National Award-winning buildings in July and the Stirling Prize winner will be announced in October.

Ruth Butler Architects are passionate about working with clients to create modern, low-energy architecture. Please see more about our sustainable approach to design here.

RIBA award winner
Construction Skills Centre at Kings Cross (for developer, Argent) – RIBA Award Winner 2009. Ruth was the Partner responsible for this project while at David Morley Architects.
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