Carbon Reduction

Carbon Reduction

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has declared a call to arms with their 2030 Climate Challenge, requesting architects to respond to the crisis by changing their design and construction practices to promote carbon reduction. The built environment accounts for more carbon emissions than any other human activity at 39%, with operational emissions from buildings accounting for 29%. This places the opportunity and responsibility on all those working in the built environment to do everything they can to address the climate emergency by reducing their carbon footprint.

Bowman Riley has taken this call to action seriously and has been working hard to reduce our carbon footprint through all we do, from our designs to our in-house operational practices. We are proud of the range of services and added value that we can bring to your projects in the fight to reduce the environmental impact of the construction industry.

What are we doing?

Industry-Wide Efforts & RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge

The UK’s construction industry is making a significant effort to address the climate emergency. Architects and interior designers are exploring new ways of designing energy-efficient buildings, using sustainable materials, and having a minimal carbon footprint. Construction professionals nationwide are collaborating and experimenting with building methods and technology to reduce buildings’ embodied and operational carbon quickly. As part of this, we are proud to have signed up to the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge.

Sustainability Beacons

We have established sustainability beacons in each of our three offices in Leeds, London, and Skipton. These beacons promote learning sustainable architectural design through regular and collaborative skill sharing. The beacons encourage sustainability within the practice and ensure that all projects meet the highest sustainability standards.

Our Operational Carbon

We are working with Positive Planet, which helps companies measure and reduce their carbon emissions. The practice is committed to reducing its operational carbon footprint year-on-year, and Positive Planet is helping us achieve our goal. By measuring our carbon emissions and identifying areas for improvement, we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment, even outside of the projects we deliver.

Travel Plan

All of our people have been consulted, identifying opportunities and incentives to travel more sustainably to the office, to sites and to meetings. This has taken the form of a travel plan outlining journeys that could be taken by public transport, car-sharing opportunities and meetings that can take place virtually.


Continuing Professional Development is essential for our people to stay updated with the latest sustainability trends and practices. We have increased the frequency of our CPD sessions, ensuring that our people are educated on sustainable design and its importance. This culture of continuous learning and developing new sustainable design strategies helps our team stay updated with developments and opportunities to improve.

Social Sustainability

Sustainability is not only about our operations and our projects’ environmental sustainability but also social sustainability. We take social value seriously and seek opportunities to work with charities and local communities.

How can we help you?

Sustainability Checklist

Bowman Riley has developed a sustainability checklist that ensures all of our projects meet a high standard of sustainability and performance. This checklist provides a framework for the team to consider sustainability at every stage of the project, from design to construction and operation. The checklist covers energy efficiency, water conservation, and waste reduction. This gives the client comfort that the key drivers that lead to successful and sustainable projects are achieved.

MMC, Timber Frame and Modular Construction

The practice has extensive experience in modern methods of construction (MMC), timber frame, and modular construction. These construction methods use sustainable materials designed to reduce waste and energy consumption. They also result in shorter construction times and improved quality control. We are proud of our demonstrable and long-running achievements within this field and always look for opportunities to reduce waste and embodied carbon through contemporary construction methods.

Carbon Calculators & Embodied Carbon Analysis

We use software that can easily compare the embodied carbon impact of various construction methods and options throughout a project, allowing control and sight of the carbon impact of design choices through the very earliest stages. This analysis considers the carbon emissions associated with the materials used in construction, including manufacturing, transportation, and disposal. This analysis allows the practice to identify areas where they can reduce the carbon footprint of their projects.

Fabric First Design

Bowman Riley adopts a fabric-first approach to designing buildings. This approach focuses on creating a high-performance building envelope that reduces energy consumption and improves indoor air quality. It involves using sustainable materials, such as low-impact insulation and airtight membranes, to create an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly building.

Passive House

Passive House is a rigorous energy-efficient building standard that reduces the ecological footprint of buildings while providing superior comfort and indoor air quality. We are proud to have two members of the Bowman Riley team who have obtained the Passive House qualifications Mark Hayton and Daniel Postill, allowing us to deliver Passive House projects and incorporate efficiencies brought about by Passive House design in all of our projects.

The benefits of Passive Houses include reduced energy consumption, lower carbon emissions, and improved air quality. Buildings that adhere to the Passive House standard have been shown to use 90% less energy for heating and cooling than conventional buildings. This gives a significant reduction in embodied carbon and also dramatically reduces the operating costs of a building, helping to reduce the stress of rising fuel costs on businesses and individuals and taking steps towards eliminating fuel poverty.

BREEAM, LEED, and Well Building Standard

Bowman Riley has experience in BREEAM, LEED, and Well Building Standard, which are internationally recognised sustainability assessment methods. These standards assess buildings’ environmental impact, health, and well-being, ensuring they meet a high-quality standard with minimal environmental impact.

Biodiversity Enhancement

We support and encourage biodiversity net gain on all their projects. Biodiversity net gain is the process of enhancing the natural environment through the design and construction of buildings. This process involves creating habitats for wildlife, planting native species, and reducing the impact of development on the local ecosystem. Creative opportunities to minimise the impact of our buildings on the surrounding habitats are always taken and implemented.

RIBA Stage 7 In-Use Analysis

Our projects do not end when we hand them over to the client. We are dedicated to following projects in use and analysing data to inform our future projects. Our BIM expertise can manage and monitor data for the building in service for clients. This helps to deliver on our promise of genuinely sustainable buildings with an observed, low-energy impact for years to come.