Sustainability Resource Map
The Sustainability Resource Map is an interactive PDF of recommended resources as of January 2023. Over 100 references have been added to the Map, with “Essential Resources” expanding as expertise grows in this field.
Click here to access the resource map, or keep reading to view articles curated in seven key groups.
UK engineering consultancies declared a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency in 2019, recognising the need to show leadership and drive real improvements.
In 2019, the Institution of Structural Engineers made the commitment to treat sustainability and the climate emergency with equal importance to life safety. We support the industry’s vital efforts through our role as an international centre of knowledge, sharing information and opinion with our membership and beyond.
Our Climate Emergency Task Group has generated guidance, training and other useful resources, much of which is freely available to non-members as well.
You can also contact the Task Group if you have questions about their work.
Five leading structural engineers explain why we need to take our professional responsibility seriously and commit to doing things better, starting today.
The Climate Emergency Task Group helps the profession to tackle climate breakdown. This report outlines activity in the year and sets out the Group's aims for 2023.
Will Arnold describes the role structural engineers can play in tackling climate change, by making informed design decisions and influencing other members of the project team.
Natasha Watson and Mike Sefton introduce biodiversity concepts and explain how structural engineers can influence design and construction decisions at each stage of a project to ensure that biodiversity is protected.
Grace Di Benedetto presents a short glossary of key sustainability terms that engineers are likely to encounter when reading climate guidance.
An introduction to the goals and how structural engineers can use them to tackle the climate crisis and create a better world.
Offsetting greenhouse gas emissions will be required in the short term while the construction industry develops zero-carbon materials. Will Arnold summarises the key considerations for engineers looking to offset a project’s emissions.
An essential set of embodied carbon calculation principles for structural engineers looking to change the way they practice, in order to achieve net zero carbon by 2050.
Use this tool to help you quickly estimate the embodied carbon in your structures.
Learn how to undertake embodied carbon calculations for every project and aspect of structural design.
Arup has conducted a review of European manufacturers’ CLT and glulam Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). The review demonstrates that the currently adopted industry average carbon factors for CLT and glulam have reduced when compared with factors...
Walter Swann explains how structural engineers can support a transition to a low-carbon steel industry through their design and specifying decisions.
Paul Astle explores potential ways in which engineers can seek reductions in the embodied carbon of structural concrete.
Natasha Watson explains how structural engineers can produce designs that make efficient use of material to reduce their environmental impact.
Ian Poole explores ways to improve the utilisation ratio of designs, and encourages engineers to challenge assumptions that favour rationalisation over optimisation.
The IStructE Safety, Health and Wellbeing Panel considers the safety implications when aspiring to a lean design.
A study shared by BuroHappold to share knowledge that may help address the climate emergency.
This article offers some solutions to help structural engineers design efficient timber buildings.
Isuru Nanayakkara looks at traditional technologies and modern approaches to lightweight shell construction to seek a better perspective on how shell technology can be appropriated to different local contexts.
This new guidance is an essential read for any built environment professional developing new (or reusing existing) structures today. Across four principal sections it explains why the adoption of circular economy principles is critical.
A regularly reviewed database of vendors who responsibly source building materials.
The article explores ways to justify reuse of existing structures through a thorough understanding of the original building structure, and engineer's intent.
This article discusses the analysis and modification of existing structures for new uses, allowing return on investment to be maximised and reducing the need for present-day carbon emissions from new construction.
This article discusses how strengthening an existing building can enable changes of use, achieve compliance with modern building codes, resist a previously unforeseen environmental load or increase resilience. It gives a broad description...
Jenny Pattison discusses the typical considerations that structural engineers face when seeking to add floors to an existing building, and the sustainability outcomes of potential solutions.
Tim Chapman and Ian Firth highlight the carbon differences between civil structures and buildings projects, and propose that engineers work with their clients to target low-carbon outcomes, rather than just low-carbon structures.
How can structural engineers influence decision making?
Can very low-carbon buildings be constructed cheaply enough to suit the pockets of private-sector commercial developers? Yes, says Professor John French.
William Algaard presents ways in which structural engineers can help shape the direction of a project by confidently and constructively sharing their expertise in a language that client and architect will understand.
Buro Happold and WSP UK have committed to reducing the carbon emissions of their designs by 50% by 2030. In this article, Sarah Prichard and David Leversha set out the rationale for this target, explain how they plan to achieve this, and encourage other firms to...
Peter Laidler describes a small practice's solution to calculating the embodied carbon of its standard structural designs.
Pete Winslow, Mike Sefton and Will Arnold set out a vision for a net-zero structural engineering sector and the R&D that we as a profession need to tackle to get there.
Discover Institution activity near you, including site visits, technical lectures, networking events and awards.
Architect Sam Turner and structural engineer James Norman encourage professional activism to tackle the climate emergency.
In this blog Mike Sefton considers how attitudes and responses to climate change have evolved over the last 25 years. He encourages us all to take collective responsibility for tackling the climate emergency.
In this piece, Pooja Shah shares her thoughts on how young engineers can respond to the climate emergency. Pooja is an Engineer at RDG Engineering and Chair of the IStructE Young Member’s Group.
Tackle the climate crisis by discussing issues and ideas with like-minded members
This article describes the climate-positive design for the campus of the Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture.
This article describes the design of Hams Way Footbridge from concept through to construction, including an assessment of the embodied carbon.
The article showcases the University of East Anglia's Enterprise Centre project, a low-carbon, sustainable building which achieves both Passivhaus standard and BREEAM Outstanding rating.
This article describes the structural reuse and strengthening strategies adopted to enable three additional storeys to be added to an existing office building in London.
The design of the BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ Centre was developed from the outset to control its environmental and social impact, achieving the highest standards of sustainable construction.
22 Bishopsgate was erected on the site of an abandoned project, reusing 100% of the existing foundations from three previous buildings, and incorporating more than 50% of the basement built for its predecessor. This article describes...