From one point of view, there should be no ‘need’ for a sustainability consultant, but the truth is most traditional architects, designers and engineers have not been trained in how to achieve holistic, integrated and sustainable solutions. For example, I know several architects who had only two days of ‘sustainability’ training over a five year bachelor course. This means such professionals might be experts in creating amazing visual experiences and great technical solutions but they cannot give sound advice on what will provide the best overall design solution, considering all domains; for example, material impacts, product lifecycles and waste, renewable energy, water capture and use, transport, technology, climate, orientation, thermal mass, governance, operations and marketing.
For instance, what angles should solar energy or hot water systems be set at, to ensure optimal efficiency for a residential dwelling?
The answer is, it depends on a lot of factors, including building type, usage patterns, roof type, climate and the relationship to other mechanical systems, and the answer is typically very different for solar water and solar energy.
Good sustainability consultants frequently work on leading edge sustainability focused projects, so they can deliver the best advice from all previous experiences to future clients. They can also provide innovative ideas from around the world, which can make projects stand out and achieve new echelons in building or estate development.
3. Coverage and integration
Traditional development and design methodologies give architects and engineers very specific roles and often they are not used to delivering truly integrated solutions. A professional sustainability consultant will have experience across at least five disciplines and be able to liaise, negotiate and support all design and development team members. They can provide advice directly to the client, about design options, risks, future trends and new meaning to Value Engineering, which can struggle to take into account non-tangible benefits.
4. Return on investment
A sustainability consultant is typically one of the lowest cost items in any development or design team, and yet they can provide many ways to save on development, building and operational costs, whilst maximising the benefits for the end user. They can also evaluate outcomes, report on the experiences and ensure developments continually improve over time, rather than repeating the same model that will eventually be superseded by competitors.
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Ecomplish can assist you to provide that missing link, quality advice and rating submisisons if required. Why not contact us today with your project, for some free initial advice.