A North-east company is leading the way in the field of environmentally sustainable architecture.
HRI Architects, which has bases in Peterhead and Inverness, was recently nominated for a prestigious award in the RIAS Awards 2012 competition for work on the Thurso Centre for Energy and the Environment.
The local firm is renowned for its high environmental design standards.
Assessed under the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method, or BREEAM for short, HRI Architects achieved an ‘Excellent’ rating of 80.18% for environmental efficiency using the BREEAM measure for its Thurso design.
The company also previously held the title of having the highest BREEAM score for a further education building in the UK in 2001.
Commenting on the award nomination, director Mark Williams said: “It is wonderful that a small practice such as ours in the North-east is able to compete with much larger firm from across the UK.
“The architecture industry can often be quite London-centric so I am delighted that we have been able to hold our own, despite the challenging economic climate.
“It is incredibly gratifying when researchers approach us to ask us if they can use the buildings we have designed as case studies for their academic work and dissertations on evironmental standards.
“The government’s at Westminster and Holyrood are extremely keen to raise the evironmental credentials of buildings to meet their Kyoto targets and BREEAM is a recognised method of measuring progress on this front. 2016 is the next big milestone year.
“The government is aiming for all buildings designed and built after this date to be ‘Carbon Neutral’, which is a particularly massive challenge given the ambiguity surrounding the definition of carbon neutrality at the moment.
“But with our knowledge of environmental construction, we are actively developing methods of design that may go some way to making this ambition a reality.
As for their plans for the future, Mr Williams added: “We would very much like to be involved in the Energetic project which is coming up.
“Despite the difficult economic circumstances, we are very optimistic going forward.”