Studio: Haworth Tompkins - Climate Emergency Response 
Studio: Haworth Tompkins - Climate Emergency Response 

We are co-founders of the Architects Declare movement launched in May 2019.

Here is a summary of our actions, events and activities organised as a response to the climate emergency:


- We are promoting the RIBA 2030 Challenge and the LETI Climate Emergency Design Guide targets on new projects, and aim to improve the embodied carbon and operational energy use in our designs by supporting Whole Life Carbon Assessments and TM54/PHPP analysis in our current work

- HT have started to carry out in-house embodied carbon analysis and research, looking at: CO2 savings through retained structures in refurbishments, comparison between embodied carbon in different types of structures, and façade build-up options

- We are currently developing and testing an improved in-house Toolkit and Sustainability matrix, to help us have a broad overview of design aims and targets from the start of the project

- HT have also started to carry out Post Occupancy Evaluations on key projects including performance spaces, residential and educational buildings, and became Building User Survey (BUS) partners with Arup

- Materials: HT now use a dedicated product data sheet questionnaire to ask for information regarding the health and environment credentials of materials and products we use, alongside EPDs; we are also in the process of overhauling our samples database along the same lines.

- HT are advocating retaining and re-using existing structures wherever possible; we have also started to commission pre-demolition audits for projects where existing buildings cannot be retained, to assess the construction materials that could be stored and re-used on site

- We now carry out dedicated project audits to assess strengths and weaknesses of current ongoing designs and find ways for improvement

- There are several in-house research projects focusing on: Embodied carbon analysis comparing various form/façade options, modular auditoria, modular prefabrication, recycled materials for theatres, flexibility of use and adaptability of buildings: ‘Useless buildings’

Skills, knowledge sharing and training
As designers we need to know the impact of our decisions, therefore it is key that sustainable design becomes part of the skill set for each and every one of our architects and architectural assistants. Rather than deferring critical design decisions regarding energy use and embodied carbon to our consultants, we are now training our teams to be able to produce in-house analysis that can easily inform our designs:

- HT organised the first in a series of in-house training for almost a third of our staff on Passive house principles, and using PHPP and DesignPH to produce indicative energy performance estimates from early design stages

- We have a series of dedicated sustainability focused CPDs

- The Sustainability team organised a full day in November 2019 for the entire office, entitled ‘Rethinking the way we design and work’, focusing on five main themes: Regenerative design; embodied carbon and circular economy; operational energy and fabric performance; POE; office operations. The invited speakers were: Judit Kimpian, Michael Pawlyn (Exploration Architecture), Simon Sturgis, Joel Gustafsson (Max Fordham), Will South (Etude), Joe Iles (Ellen MacArthur Foundation), and Roderic Bunn (BOOM Collective)

- We have set up a dedicated Regenerative Design section on our website where we share information regarding activities and measures taken to improve our designs and reach our goals

- Office environment: we have installed environmental sensors in our offices to assess our working environment, taking live readings of temperature, RH, VOCs and CO2

- Office operations: HT now vet office suppliers and overhauled our suppliers for food and stationery

- Our Carbon footprint report for 2019 can be found here

- The AD declaration fed into the principles of our Employee Ownership Trust

- HT have created a dedicated sustainability role in the practice, alongside the existing Sustainability team


- HT supports LETI and their research work and have started to promote the LETI Climate Emergency Design Guide targets with clients on current projects

- We have signed up to the RIBA 2030 Challenge and RIBA Sustainable Outcomes document, and are actively involved with RIBA and UKGBC. HT are members of AECB

- HT helped organise the Architects Declare Event in 2019 where practices gathered to discuss the AD goals and actions and are part of the AD steering group

We are signatories of Architects Declare, and these are the actions we are taking in response to those commitments

Project: BREEAM Outstanding for Kingston School of Art 

Haworth Tompkins’ major refurbishment of Kingston University’s Mill Street Building for Kingston School of Art has been awarded BREEAM Outstanding, with a score of 86.2%.

BREEAM provided a structure for benchmarking and assessing the sustainability aims with the team paying attention to measures reducing energy use and CO2. BREEAM was supplemented by Haworth Tompkins’ own sustainability toolkit, with further priorities incorporated relating to wellbeing, adaptability and resilience.

Studio: Our Carbon Footprint Report 2019 

The current climate and biodiversity emergency highlighted by the Architects Declare movement – now celebrating its 1 year anniversary - has prompted individuals and organisations to become aware and take responsibility for their impact on the environment.

As founding signatories of the AD declaration, HT have started to calculate their office carbon foot­print with the aim to find ways to reduce it, and then to offset the remaining carbon emissions in a way that is meaningful for the environment.

Research: Sustainable and regenerative design: reading list, research and design tools 

Here are our suggestions for a broad reading and research list - including articles, books, databases, tools and guides to help understand the problems and the solutions. Please click for link:

Regenerative Design

We fooled ourselves that sustainability was getting us where we need to go - Michael Pawlyn, Dezeen

Doughnut Economics - book by Kate Raworth

Circular Economy

Design for a Circular Economy - Mayor of London/Good Growth Primer

UKGBC Guidance on Circular Economy

Studio: Passive House Training 

In a bid to adopt more regenerative design principles, and to design architecture and urbanism that goes beyond the standard of net zero carbon in use, a third of our architects are receiving specialist training this week, focusing on Passive House.

Advocacy: Future Homes Part L consultation 

Haworth Tompkins are supporting LETI’s response to the Part L consultation, focusing on the need for:

- improved fabric performance requirements
- use of metered energy (kWh/m2yr) as principal metric for performance evaluation
- retaining the power of Local Authorities to set carbon reduction targets beyond Building Regulations

Advocacy: The London Energy Transformation Initiative 

Haworth Tompkins are an organisational supporter of the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI), a network of over 250 built environment professionals who are working together to put London on the path to a Zero Carbon future. LETI have lobbied for policy change and their recommendations have been included in emerging London Policy. These recommendations include energy use disclosure, use of updated carbon factors and whole life carbon assessments for referable schemes.

Event: Rethinking the way we design and work 

‘Rethinking the way we design and work’ was the theme of a day held by Haworth Tompkins focusing on the Architects Declare emergency goals and commitments. We acknowledge that addressing the AD goals will require an important change in our design process, and in our studio, and this was an excellent opportunity to get everyone in the office involved in the discussion.

Project: The Den - a low-carbon portable, community theatre 

Minimum environmental impact and social equity are at the heart of the design that composes this super-lightweight theatre.

Advocacy: Architects Declare 

The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most serious issue of our time. Buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions whilst also having a significant impact on our natural habitats.

Event: Exploring Doughnut Economics 

Steve Tompkins and Beatie Blakemore recently attended a workshop at Hawkwood College led by Kate Raworth and Juliet Davenport, looking at how businesses can meet the needs of people within the means of the planet. The workshop explored the principles of ‘Doughnut Economics’ – a concept developed by Kate Raworth that has been widely influential amongst sustainable development thinkers, progressive businesses and political activists. Juliet Davenport is founder and CEO of renewable energy supplier Good Energy.

Project: Offsite construction for Osco Homes 

Transportation associated with construction site activities, material delivery and waste removal account to just under 40% of total energy use within the construction industry. At Baycliff Road our houses are constructed off site as separate wall, floor and roof cassettes and then assembled on site in typically around 12 hours per house. The construction period on site is much shorter than a traditionally built project and relies on considerably fewer deliveries to site and vehicle movements.

Studio: HT appoints Head of Sustainability & Regenerative Design 

Diana Dina has recently joined Haworth Tompkins to help develop and lead the practice’s sustainability and regenerative design strategy, balancing practical in-house support/training, external advocacy and independent research. Diana will work closely with the Directors, the Associates and the HT Sustainability Team to focus on progressing a vision and strategy for sustainable and regenerative design and practice including the education of staff, developing and reporting on sustainability metrics, maintaining sustainability resources, and greening the practice operations.