Design for Resource Efficiency

Research project to investigate resource efficiency in building design.

The aim was to build on the guidance that is already available and, at the same time, to determine how to best stimulate action, including the uptake of resource efficient behavior within small and medium design and construction-related companies. The investigation focused on how best to overcome communication issues with those in the construction sector and simultaneously examine the practical challenges and barriers that architects and designers face when striking an acceptable balance between resource efficiency and the optimum selection of materials and design of components.

An initial review of the data and tools available to designers was undertaken to understand how designers obtain this information and how they use these resources in day-to-day design. This work identified a number of fundamental limitations that inhibit designers from reducing waste in design. This discovery prompted us to develop a short survey, which was sent out to gauge the views of professionals in the construction industry to determine if the assumptions made were correct. Following an analysis of the results of the survey, which attained 477 respondents, the information was disseminated at the RIBA’s (Royal Institute of British Architects) Small Practice Conference. Reactions from the architects to the project and data were recorded. This cumulative data was then presented at a roundtable discussion with key representatives from the construction industry that included architects, an engineer, developer, quantity surveyor, interior architect, and WRAP and Envirowise representatives. This event was filmed, edited into an 8-minute film and provided for uploading onto the Envirowise website.

Click here to watch a movie of the roundtable discussion.

'Overcoming Barriers to Waste Reduction in Small Companies’ Envirowise roundtable, BDP London, 25 November 2009, ©Envirowise 2009,

A transcript of the roundtable discussion can be downloaded here.

"Sylvia brought a wealth of industry knowledge along with excellent project management skills to the Envirowise project. She produced a plethora of possibilities, which could be explored further. One of the most interesting deliverables from the project was a filmed 'round table session', which highlighted the key issues of leading figures in the architects and design world. Sylvia's knowledge of this industry, together with her key contacts, influenced the success of this project. She was a communicative and very organized person to work with and I would happily do so again!"
- Jo Harris, Business Resource Efficiency Programme, AEA Group

"Sylvia led this research project for Envirowise, a government organisation charged with communicating waste reduction measures to the design community. She chaired a round-table discussion with a broad range of design team stakeholders and experts in the field which was filmed and broadcast over the internet as a learning resource. Sylvia creatively and ambitiously took on the challenge of amassing the opinion of designers, through several communication channels. She researched existing press, disseminated a well-designed survey, presented at an architecture conference and chaired a round-table discussion with a broad range of design team stakeholders and experts in the field which was filmed and broadcast over the internet as a learning resource. Through her thorough analysis she was able to provide the client with numerous solutions by which to approach designers."
- Richard Buckingham, Head of Sustainability, BDP
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