U.K. Building Clients Push for Recycled Materials

U.K. Building Clients Push for Recycled Materials

Architects and clients throughout the U.K. are striving to make greener buildings, with many attracted to cost savings, according to a new survey.

Software maker Autodesk and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) asked 211 members of RIBA about their thoughts and actions for the first Autodesk/RIBA Green Index. The survey found that 88 percent of architects believe they should utilize green practices where possible. Seventy percent said their clients are the primary drivers of green building.

A little over half of those surveyed said client interest is driven by the lower operating costs associated with energy- and resource-efficient buildings.

"This contradicts the popular belief that when money is scarce, clients are more worried about initial costs than long-term savings and are not so concerned about their environmental credentials,” said Adrian Dobson, RIBA's director of practice.

The most popular green practice is the use of salvaged and recycled building material products, noted by 64 percent of respondents. The other most-cited practices are on-site renewable energy, retention tanks for storm water runoff, solar heating and using design software to evaluate alternative materials.

About half of the architects surveyed said clients ask about green specifications on about half of their projects. The other half of architects said they are the ones to initiate the green conversation with clients.

Practices expected to grow over the next five years include green roofs, highly reflective roofing materials and minimizing construction waste by using design software to specify material quantities and schedules.

Many of the figures from the survey mirror those from Autodesk's U.S. survey, which is conducts with the American Institute of Architects. In the most recent Autodesk/AIA Green Index, 66 percent of architects said clients are the primary influence on green building, and 64 percent said that clients are interested in green practices primarily because of reduced operating costs.