The Practice invented* the simplest rule in Sustainable thinking – the ‘400 Yard Rule’, where building materials that are within 400 ‘yards’ (excepting transport over water) can be said to be ecological, vernacular and sustainable. Social and economic sustainability are just as important as energy in use; and embodied energy used in a buildings construction often provides a very good reason for retaining existing fabric.
Long lasting solutions, materials, good workmanship and the orientation of buildings are equally important. Good Business Planning and economic realism, along with cost control, are key to the long term success of our projects. A degree of built-in flexibility can accommodate shifts in use or changing requirements.
When work is appreciated and loved by people then its social sustainability is ensured. Beauty and practicality are essential components of this.
*Historic Scotland Traditional Buildings Conference 1997, Proceedings, p.43