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Sustainability Overview

Sustainability is a broad term, covering everything from energy efficiency and use of renewable technologies, to incorporation of green infrastructure and adaptation of buildings to climate change.

Our focus is on adopting a co-ordinated approach at all stages of the life cycle of buildings, including conception, briefing, design, procurement, construction, operation, maintenance and ultimate disposal. We have brought together a  range of resources to support you in doing this, from training courses to detailed technical guidance, in each of the following areas:

CIBSE’s role 

Building services engineers work within in an industry that has significant environmental and social impacts. Building services engineers are directly responsible for ensuring that buildings:

  • Use minimal amounts of fuel and energy
  • Provide acceptable thermal comfort for occupants
  • Provide good indoor air quality
  • Deal effectively with wastes
  • Are adaptable to climate change
  • Are properly operated and maintained

There are many drivers for change in the industry including; client requirements, legislation and regulations, professional responsibility and competition. CIBSE aims to provide up to date and authoritative knowledge and technical guidance on all relevant aspects of sustainability, alongside appropriate training sessions and best practice examples.

Professional Responsibilities

Building services engineers have an opportunity and professional responsibility to provide strategic input on sustainability issues early in the design process and to follow this through to detailed design and operation. By influencing key decisions at an early stage, building services engineers can play a major role in delivering sustainable outcomes.  The drivers for sustainable development are becoming more urgent and those who understand and embrace this agenda are likely to see an increased demand for their skills.  
The Engineering Council has developed six principles in relation to sustainability which usefully summarise professional obligations in this area: 

  1. Contribute to building a sustainable society, present and future.
  2. Apply professional and responsible judgement and take a leadership role.
  3. Do more than just comply with legislation and codes.
  4. Use resources efficiently and effectively.
  5. Seek multiple views to solve sustainability challenges.
  6. Manage risk to minimise adverse impact to people or the environment.