1. CIAT Climate Change policy
  2.  CPD

CIAT Climate Change policy

CIAT recognises that Climate Change is a serious global issue and is in support of the aims of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.

As the global qualifying body in Architectural Technology, we are committed to consider, and mitigate where we can, the impact of our actions and those of our members and affiliates on Climate Change. The built environment is a significant contributor to carbon emissions, and as such we have an obligation to prevent or reduce the impact that we have within the industry on climate change. 

We believe there are overarching principles that are important in the fight against Climate Change:

Collaboration  Collaboration is essential in facilitating innovative problem solving of complex issues, avoids repetition, resources and reduces waste and reinforces key messages.

Realistic & Actionable  Providing realistic and actionable guidance to fight Climate Change is critical. Consideration should be given to how actions can be implemented in a realistic and timely manner to be effective.

Information & Education  Providing information and education to our members, their clients and the public will help them understand how they can act to reduce Climate Change. Climate Change and the construction and built environment industry's impact on it should be included in CIAT Accredited Programmes, and members and affiliates are encouraged to partake in CPD relevant to this topic. 

Influence  CIAT will be influencing and promoting the need for change to Government, members, stakeholders and the wider public. In addition, it will be engaging with other influential groups and a wider range of stakeholders.

As the global Institute representing the discipline of Architectural Technology, we have the opportunity to engage with a large number of people and organisations on a worldwide scale to provide guidance, recommendations and influence, by working together with other professional institutes and built environment organisations to compound our message and amplify the impact the built environment can have on the fight against Climate Change.

Statement from Immediate Past President

As Chair of the CIAT Climate Change Group, I encourage all members and affiliates to read and embrace the guidance and the accompanying supporting information on this webpage. It is imperative that we all strive towards the creation of a modern, innovative, sustainable, and greener built environment. I urge you to review and take note of the supporting guidance and augment it with your own best practices into your workstreams and workplaces wherever possible. I also invite you to share this information with your clients, colleagues, and other built environment professionals to help society as a whole, create a shared understanding of why it is so important for the built environment to respond collectively to the Climate Emergency and how this can be achieved.

Within the wider built environment, we as Architectural Technology professionals are best placed to respond to the Climate Emergency through our combined technical expertise, knowledge, and problem-solving abilities. Let's use these unique and dynamic competences to make a difference and demonstrate how we can positively impact this critical issue.

Kevin Crawford PPCIAT MCIAT
Immediate Past President


Construction, operation, and maintenance of buildings are significant contributors to carbon emissions, together accounting for approximately 40% of the total. Specifically, operational carbon emissions, which include heating, cooling, and lighting buildings, represent 28% of global emissions, while the materials and construction processes, or embodied carbon, contribute another 11%.

Architectural Technology, a discipline underpinned by science, architectural engineering and technology, is uniquely positioned to address these challenges. It delves into the very anatomy and physiology of buildings, encompassing structures, systems, materials, components, and their production, performance, and processes. This comprehensive focus enables Architectural Technology to spearhead sustainability in the built environment by optimising building performance. This encompasses adherence to regulatory standards, enhancing health and safety, implementing retrofit designs, and improving energy efficiency.

CIAT, as the leading professional body for Architectural Technology, considers sustainability to be a core part of its values.  As such the Institute works for the benefit of both its membership and staff to meet the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs in creating, monitoring and maintaining a sustainable world for all.

Chartered Membership

The Institute’s Professional Standards Framework outlines the knowledge and skills that are required of Chartered Architectural Technologists. Within this recently updated document, sustainability will feature heavily as a topic that all applicants must demonstrate that they have the required knowledge, skills and experience to qualify.

Through their written application, portfolio of evidence and professional interview and in line with our requirements, all Chartered Architectural Technologists will have demonstrated that they are able to create safe, resilient, robust sustainable and inclusive design solutions:

  • identifying design risks to mitigate impact on people, the natural environment, the climate and the project.
  • applying and using current and emerging technologies in building design.
  • applying and using relevant legislation, standards, regulatory frameworks and contracts.


Examples of Members’ work on sustainability 

Please see here for some examples.


CIAT works collaboratively with different organisations with to share expertise, good practice and to influence industry direction, including:

CIAT’s collaborations aim to tackle climate change and encourage sustainable practices.  CIAT is a signatory of the CIC carbon zero climate action plan and has participated in the development and implementation of several of the work streams including embodied carbon. 

In addition, CIAT has contributed to, sponsored and had a presence at many public facing events to promote sustainability to the wider public.  CIAT is a supporter of EDGE Eco Design Showroom which promotes the use of sustainable products in the construction industry. 

The Institute has run events at the Showroom on the topic of retrofitting and helping the public to make their properties more energy efficient.  CIAT also has a presence at a number of national conferences including Futurebuild and the World Architecture Festival and provides expert speakers on sustainability at numerous conferences and shows. In 2025 CIAT will be hosting an event at ExpoSunderland in the Future Cities Hub.

CIAT is a licensed body authorised by the Society for the Environment to award the professional qualification of Chartered Environmentalist, CEnv. Further information on this can be found below. 

Public Procurement

The Institute believes there is an opportunity for Public Bodies to lead by example when procuring services for architectural design. In NEC4 contracts and similar, Public Bodies should change their policies to ensure sustainable and low carbon specifications are included as a requirement and embedded into the brief as mandatory. The Institute recognises that there is a potential financial cost as a sustainable or low carbon design can be more expensive but would encourage Public Bodies to absorb this cost with the belief that the cost of designs would reduce over time as they become more utilised. A broader view of the long-term savings should be considered in preference to immediate cost savings. However, the Institute would urge caution when specifying products as they must be the best product for the overall design of the building and consideration must be given to how available specific products are in large quantities.

Members working in Public Procurement should be aware that local authorities may request a Carbon Reduction Statement prior to bidding for public procurement works.

Members and affiliates of the Institute working within positions of influence in Public Bodies are encouraged to bring the above suggestion to the attention of the Procurement Departments.

Members and affiliates should also be aware of the Construction Playbook, in particular sections related to Value Based Procurement.


As an Institute we will always aim to aid the continued improvement of standards and would encourage clearly defined and high standards set out in legislation. We do this by responding to consultations, calls for evidence and challenge where necessary. Members and affiliates should always work to current legislation set out and within the parameters of Building Regulations as a minimum standard, in respective countries of work. The Institute also acknowledges that the current legislation in many countries on its own does not go far enough to tackle the climate change issue but also acknowledges the conflict that arises between clients and members if the Institute mandates members to work to higher standards than the minimum laid out by legislation.

There are additional standards that members and affiliates may choose to work towards. These standards go above and beyond what is stipulated in Building Regulations and legislation with some being internationally recognised:

Policy and advocacy

CIAT lobbies and challenges Government in an appropriate and proportionate manner through partnership work with, for example, CLC, CIC, sister institutes and through direct correspondence with government departments. In respect of sustainability and climate change, the Institute will also continue to respond directly to consultations. Members and affiliates are asked to respond to consultations via formal routes or through the Institute to achieve a collective response to ensure a professional but impactful message.

Some examples of consultations to which CIAT has responded include:

  • New Build Heat Standard (Scotland).
  • Welsh Parliament: Decarbonisation of housing: decarbonising the private housing sector (Wales only).
  • PAS 185: Smart cities and connected places – Specification for establishing and implementing a security-minded approach.
  • Changes to planning permitted development rights to protect the environment and help address climate change (NI).
  • Home Energy Model: Future Homes Standard assessment.

All members and affiliates are asked to respond to consultations listed in AT Weekly either directly or via the Institute. Members are asked to bring matters to the Institute's attention that require a formal response or challenge.

Supporting clients, contractors, and sub-contractors

The Institute recognises that a move towards low carbon and sustainable design requires engagement and understanding from everyone involved in the design and construction process. Clients, contractors, and sub-contractors must all understand why low carbon and sustainable design is important and the benefits to reducing climate change, but also the benefits to the individual. Understanding must also be created for those who may be nervous about deviating away from traditional construction methods. Clients, contractors, and sub-contractors all need to collaborate to achieve the best outcome.

Members and affiliates of the Institute are encouraged to share the provided information and guidance with clients, contractors, and sub-contractors in a bid to convey the importance and benefits of sustainable design.


The Institute encourages all employers to set out a clear carbon reduction statement and plan, detailing how they will reduce their impact on climate change and the environment and how they will support their employees in this joint goal. Members and affiliates that are employees at companies should engage with their company's plans and encourage them to reach the highest standards by making recommendations and leading by example.

All employers and employees are encouraged to work together to prepare and implement an actionable plan to reduce the impact of their business on climate change. Employers may wish to investigate participating in schemes such as Race to Zero and Construction Zero.


A broad knowledge set and the ability to apply aspects from the three pillars of sustainability (environment, economy and society) are essential in the early stage of a career in Architectural Technology.

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Subject Benchmark Statement (SBS) for Architectural Technology 2022 defines what can be expected of a graduate in the subject, in terms of what they might know, do and understand at the end of their studies both at Honours and Masters degree level. This document also directly informs CIAT’s Accreditation standards and the knowledge requirements for those seeking to become Chartered Architectural Technologists.

The major role of the education sector is to develop and build capacity for this action, as it has been shown that at higher education level, training and research activities have a considerable impact on implementing sustainability-related knowledge and innovations into practice.

All CIAT Accredited Programmes must demonstrably embed sustainability (along with other themes such as equality, diversity and inclusion as well as enterprise and entrepreneurship) as outlined in the SBS.

Our Honours Accreditation Guidelines require Programmes to map respective modules to thresholds such as:

  • context, which includes the social, technological, environmental, economic, political, legal and ethical factors that inform and influence the discipline and practice of architectural technology at local, regional and global levels;
  • designing holistically, including the ability to detail the design from first principles, for production, performance, sustainability and better environmental performance and in response to regulatory requirements, health and safety, wellbeing and advances in sustainable technologies;
  • creating resilient, sustainable and inclusive design solutions as whole systems and in detail in response to varied situations, which are informed by current understandings within the discipline and wider context, including climate change.

Our Masters Accreditation Guidelines require Programmes to map against these additional thresholds:

  • critical awareness of the historical and contemporary context, and the underpinning social, technological, environmental, economic, political, legal and ethical theories that inform and influence the practice of architectural technology;
  • systematic understanding and critical awareness of current and emerging trends in architectural technology such as, but not limited to, digital construction.

Within the SBS, the core skills provided by all Architectural Technology Programmes align with the learning outcomes suggested by the Education for Sustainable Development Guidance produced by Advance HE and QAA (March 2021). The SBS is also aligned to the eight UNESCO key competencies for sustainability.

To ensure students gain the appropriate skills that employers are looking for, all Programmes are expected to incorporate the use of digital technologies and processes as they relate to sustainability and so on.


As a requirement of membership, all members (excluding students) must complete a minimum of 35 hours CPD each year. All members must recognise that the knowledge obtained when qualifying does not remain current and must be updated by ongoing development. It is the responsibility of the individual to select their CPD and areas of focus. Whilst the Institute does not stipulate specific topics that must be covered, it is strongly recommended that all members incorporate CPD related to climate change, low and zero carbon design, and sustainability into their CPD in order to have the relevant skills and knowledge for the future.

Through its AT CPD Register and its CPD Catalogue, CIAT signposts to courses and/or resources that relate to sustainability including home retrofit events, zero carbon, Passivhaus design, net zero, BREEAM courses etc.

AT Awards

Sustainability is a fundamental aspect of the AT Awards, and it is embedded within the criteria for entry submissions for the Award for Excellence in Architectural Technology and the Student Awards. Full details on this with examples of winning work demonstrating excellence in sustainability can be found here.

AT Journal

There are regular features in our quarterly publication which focus on sustainable issues. Past articles on sustainability include a full-length article on climate change and its effects by Professor Steve Scaysbrook FCIAT.

Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv)

CIAT is licensed by The Society for the Environment (SocEnv) to award the Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) qualification. This reinforces our commitment to the promotion and facilitating access to professional standards of excellence within sustainability and the environment.

The professional award of Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) recognises the specialist knowledge, skills and expertise of Chartered Architectural Technologists whose work contributes to mitigating and solving environmental challenges. The CEnv qualification is granted to those who have demonstrated knowledge, proven experience, and a profound commitment to applying sustainable best practice within the area of sustainability and the environment.

Institute Office and Staff activities

CIAT’s Central Office and staff are paperless, reducing our carbon footprint and emissions by over 75%. This also includes our promotional literature – none are printed and those requiring information are guided by a QR code, or similar, to our website to ascertain the information. This reduces waste as electronic documents are easier to keep up to date, without having hard copies which have been superseded.

Furthermore, the office adopts a hybrid working model, which significantly reduces the carbon footprint by minimising the need for staff to commute to the office five days a week. In line with this, most of our meetings are conducted remotely, further reducing the carbon footprint associated with travel for staff, members, affiliates, and other guests attending meetings in person.

CIAT has taken several steps to reduce emissions caused by the operation of our Central Office.  The office recently underwent a refurbishment making it more energy efficient by taking the following actions:

  • Installation of NEST temperature controllers on each floor, ensuring that only occupied spaces are heated, thereby conserving energy in unused areas.
  • Replacement of three less efficient boilers with a single, more energy-efficient boiler and hot water pump system, streamlining our heating infrastructure.
  • Upgrading to newer, more energy-efficient air conditioning units, reducing our cooling energy consumption.
  • Implementation of automatic lighting systems in areas with less foot traffic, ensuring lights are used only when necessary to save energy.
  • Introduction of a hybrid meeting system across three meeting rooms to facilitate remote participation, reducing the carbon footprint associated with travel to our central office.
  • Adoption of a paperless office policy, limiting printing to essential documents only, to reduce waste.
  • Continuation of a hybrid work model for staff, aiming to cut down on emissions from commuting by offering flexible work arrangements.
  • Installation of a bicycle rack and showering facilities to support the launch of a cycle-to-work scheme, promoting cycling as a sustainable travel option for our employees.
  • Throughout the refurbishment process, materials were repurposed whenever possible (e.g., an old shelving unit was transformed into a lockable cupboard, and the CEO’s desk was crafted from upcycled scaffold boards) to minimise waste.
  • Employing a specialist recycling company to dispose of office items, ensuring that materials were either recycled or repurposed, aligning with our commitment to sustainability.


Climate Change Society 

CIAT is transforming its Climate Change Taskforce into the Climate Change Society, which will be operating online to foster debate and discussion leading to positive actions. This Society aims to bring together both academics and practitioners, creating a dynamic community. The development of the draft Terms of Reference focuses on several key initiatives designed to enhance CIAT's proactive stance on climate change:

  • The creation and ongoing evaluation of a Climate Change Action Plan aimed at achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner, encompassing the entire CIAT community including members, affiliates, and staff.
  • Support for members and affiliates in their journey to practice Architectural Technology in a manner that aligns with net-zero carbon goals, demonstrating CIAT's commitment to sustainable professional practices.
  • The provision of specialised informational materials, such as information sheets, articles, and guidance on climate change and environmental issues, tailored for members, affiliates, and academic partners.
  • The development of resources designed to empower members and affiliates to educate and influence their employers, clients, and other external parties towards embracing sustainable practices.
  • Collaboration with other institutes and organisations to ensure that CIAT's approach to the environmental and climate emergency is both cohesive and in harmony with the broader industry's efforts.
  • Active participation in consultations and discussions, ready to offer commentary and, when necessary, challenge the prevailing status quo in pursuit of sustainable solutions.
  • The formulation of practical and actionable measures to combat climate change, intended for implementation by CIAT's members, affiliates, and the broader stakeholder community.

This evolution signifies CIAT's commitment to a more interactive and expansive approach to addressing climate change challenges.