We recognise the collective responsibility of the industry to address the escalating impacts of climate change. Sustainability is at the core of every stage of our commercial operation and project delivery. We participate in research and development, progressing our thought leadership to ensure our contributions to the built environment are working towards a positive impact.

This approach is holistic and ambitious; we look beyond minimising the carbon footprint of our projects by seeking to promote increasingly sustainable lifestyles to deliver environmental, social and economic value.

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It is necessary to engage with sustainability at every level of design, brief and project stage. We have a dedicated in-house sustainability team to support all staff and clients, offering technical expertise alongside dynamic thermal modelling, parametric studies, future energy and carbon predictions. The team is formed of specialists who are Passivhaus and BREEAM trained, all with a robust academic background.

Embedding building performance principles from the beginning of a project identifies clear performance ambitions, and offers an ability to test concepts, assumptions and track evolving designs. An integrated approach is key to align with our net zero pathway and to optimise our clients’ ambitions and investments.


New build: regenerative design

Our new buildings are designed to stand the test of time, both materially and stylistically. If we achieve our goals, they should be the listed buildings of the future, pairing emerging technology with contextual design, local materials and craftmanship. We adopt innovative and strategic solutions rather than bolt on measures, delivering fully integrated design allowing the architecture of our new buildings to respond fully to their location and broader environmental targets.

We see the construction of new buildings as an opportunity to drive forward the principles of the most sustainable architecture, ensuring our built environment responds to the challenges of our time, and is fully embedded with positive and thoughtful contributions to the world around us.

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We focus on minimising energy demand through a fabric first approach, avoiding reliance on fossil fuels, and exploring options to prioritise a regenerative response to the environment, acknowledging full building life cycles. We improve the health and comfort of our buildings through optimising site potential and promoting renewable energy generation. Our building’s fabric is shaped by local craftsmanship and materials so that upfront embodied carbon is minimised. Key principles of sustainable design are adopted to define the buildings orientation, optimise the form factor, and consider thermal zones to ensure building user comfort.

This approach has now evolved into delivering projects which have a net positive impact on their surroundings. It goes beyond energy and carbon reduction, through considering every development as an opportunity to restore biodiversity and ensure human and natural systems are mutually supportive of one another.


Historic and existing buildings: low-carbon retrofit

We understand the heritage value of the historic buildings and places which have endured the test of time. We look to preserve the legacy and the sense of place which contributes to the sense of community, meanwhile increasing comfort and adaptability of buildings to the future climate.

In questioning the demolition of our existing buildings, we can capitalise on the embodied carbon and develop new solutions to ensure maximum energy efficiency and return on investment, alongside tangible conservation promoting the cultural heritage of our built environment.

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We recognise that transforming the existing building stock increases asset value and provides an ethical alternative to the wasteful cycle of demolition. In pursuing opportunities to preserve and enhance the character and significance of the buildings around us, we prepare them for a for a low-carbon future. But decarbonisation of our built environment requires careful consideration of the heritage environment; a full understanding of the story of a building, and the landscape in which it resides. Only then can we adopt solutions tailored to the building’s fabric, services, and often the occupants’ behaviour, and promote a whole house approach to retrofit.

Changes are typically sensitive, with great attention to detail and rooted in an understanding of the specifics. There is no one-size-fits-all. We incorporate renewable technologies wherever possible by way of a contemporary stamp, and promote a strong ethical approach at every level, often reverting a building back to its original construction promoting breathability, traditional craft and locally sourced materials. In our experience, this approach can often result in a strong return on investment and secures the future of our heritage assets.


Masterplanning and commercial housing: popular and sustainable urbanism

To respond properly to the global climate emergency, we know we must look beyond the scale of individual buildings and focus upon the sustainability of our settlements. We have a responsibility to improve our existing cities, towns and villages as far as possible and ensure our new built environment takes a more holistic approach to development.  We must provide an environment for society to live a healthy, happy and low carbon lifestyle; where the community is fully integrated; where the economy is vibrant and diversified; where the ecology is enriched through habitat creation, and that the natural blue and green assets are husbanded both within the settlement, and on its hinterland.

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Our designs aim to integrate the new building forms within the surrounding context, balancing indoor and outdoor spaces. The need for the car is reduced to increase pedestrian connectivity through the design of walkable neighbourhoods, and to promote active travel in all its forms and for all sectors of society. Dependence upon fossil fuel must be minimised during the construction phase and thereafter for every aspect of everyday life. Our approach promotes site wide infrastructure to meet energy demands by optimising utilisation of equipment.  Embodied carbon can be reduced dramatically by setting up local supply chains for natural materials, building components and labour, whilst boosting the local economy.

Long term strategic thinking is required from the outset to ensure that each phase of development has a cumulative benefit and fits into a bigger vision as to how the place will evolve.  Significant long term social and economic value can be added though a patient approach to placemaking which is facilitated by the players: the local authority, landowners, the developers and the local community all working together in harmony.  To achieve this, confidence must be earned through what is promised at the design stage being delivered on site and, thereafter, being properly looked after through an active programme of stewardship.

Development that responds positively to local need, ensuring that those who are affected by it feel its social and economic warmth; designed and built beautifully and for longevity, and that allows for future flexibility can be popular.  ADAM Architecture and ADAM Urbanism are pioneering these important new and exciting ways of working and have a proven track record of working collaboratively to help raise standards across the United Kingdom.


Commitments: RIBA 2030 Challenge, Architects Declare and ISO

As the UK’s leading traditional and classical architecture practice, ADAM Architecture has always promoted robust, sustainable design principles, capitalising on lessons from the past to inform the designs of the future.
As society becomes increasingly aware of the construction industry’s impact on global emissions, we focus on refining these long held principles and beliefs within our future work.

ADAM Architecture is a signatory of both the RIBA 2030 Challenge and Architects Declare, emphasising our commitment to address the climate emergency in the design of our projects. You can read more about the declaration here:

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The RIBA has identified several actions practices must take to meet their 2030 Challenge targets. We are identifying how to implement these across our portfolio of projects. More information about the RIBA 2030 Challenge can be found here.

Concerning international standards, we aim to be ISO14001 certified by 2023. We believe this is an important step forward in improving the performance of our environmental management systems through more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste.


Becoming a net-zero practice

Beyond ensuring the sustainability of all our projects, we believe that we should practice what we preach and have set out to reach net-zero as a practice.

We measure our energy consumption and calculate our carbon footprint year on year to measure our progress. Through the energy uses breakdown, we can identify the areas of highest consumption and respond accordingly. We have embraced a flexible working policy to reduce employees’ commuting costs and emissions.


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