01 June, 2023

Sustainability is not a Trend

Holland Harvey has a values-led approach to design. As a Certified B Corporation we are proud to meet high standards of environmental and social impact. We are also in the process of completing our ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) accreditation.

Our approach to sustainability is ingrained within both our organisation and our projects; however, we have pledged to focus on specific outcomes and processes rather than use the word “sustainable” in a generic way. This is based on a shared belief that the word can imply a level of performance that is not present and that by using more specific outcomes we can promote a broader discourse on the topic and push others to evidence their claims.

Our Operations

As an organisation, we are also committed to reducing our environmental impact. For example:

  • We provide employee training that includes social and environmental issues material to our company and its mission – primarily through our extensive CPD programme aligned with the RIBA curriculum Manager roles incorporate specific social and environmental goals
  • Performance reviews formally incorporated social and environmental issues
  • We have a stringent waste recycling programme
  • We widely publish our commitment to the environment through social media, press, awards, and our website
  • We are active members of industry groups such as B Corp Built Environment Working Group and Pathway to Net Zero, and signatories of Architect’s Declare and Tell the Truth
  • We utilise ISO 14001 environmental management system (pending)
  • We incentivise cycling to work through a salary sacrifice scheme

Our Impact

The UN Sustainable Development Guidelines have been overlaid with the RIBA Plan of Work to form the Sustainable Outcomes Guide, which acts as a helpful checklist for our work. See below for a worked example with specific RIBA outcomes in brackets:

Case Study

At Inhabit Queen’s Gardens, we undertook the deep retrofit (1.1) of an existing building (2.1) to create an award-winning hotel, where we prioritised the ethical and responsible sourcing (2.3) of low embodied carbon, healthy materials (2.4). This included:

  • Carpets made from recycled fishing nets and single use plastic bottles
  • Tiles that are 45% recycled content, Cradle to Cradle Platinum Certified® Gold
  • Solid surfaces made from recycled or FSC Certified® paper
  • Timber flooring all FSC/PEFC Certified® with no Volatile Organic Compounds

100% of the waste was diverted from landfill, 45% of which was recycled (2.6).

32 photovoltaic panels were installed on the roof to offset energy usage (1.7).

Following on from the success of Inhabit we are now working on two further hotels, both pre-certified BREEAM Excellent, putting them in top 10% of UK non-domestic buildings – both are adaptive re-use or refurbishment projects. One is aiming for operational Net Zero.