Interdisciplinary discussion: Designing sustainable buildings

Blueprints with overlaid text "Designing sustainable buildings - IES expert discussion, Monday 9th October, 12.00-13.30, online"
Monday, 9 October 2023 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Buildings, planning, and infrastructure represent a significant pressure on natural systems, but the way we design them also has the capacity to transform our social, economic, and natural world.

Key environmental challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and air quality, can only be addressed if we consider the ways that we design buildings.

This panel discussion will consider the topic of sustainable buildings from multiple interdisciplinary perspectives, bringing together design questions which address climate, biodiversity, indoor air quality, healthy buildings, and other key elements of the sustainable design question. The discussion will bring together voices from across the environmental sciences and other disciplines, with a view to shaping the ongoing work of the IES to address consenting processes and the future of environmental science.


The event will open with presentations from each of the expert panellists, followed by time for cross-discussion and Q&A. Presentations will include (subject to final confirmation):

  • Decarbonisation and design
  • Design for indoor air quality
  • Nature and natural capital
  • Integrated health and sustainability considerations

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Judith SykesJudith Sykes

Judith is a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. With a Masters in Sustainability, Judith has over 20 years experience in urban development and infrastructure delivery on projects around the world. Judith works on urban development strategies and infrastructure masterplanning for government organisations, major developers and asset owners.

Her expertise is in city and urban resilience, sustainable development strategy, and infrastructure planning. She is recognized for her collaborative approach and an ability to see opportunities across disciplines.

Judith is a member of the NIC Design Group and Technical Advisor to the Board of Homes England. She is regularly invited to speak on the complexities of sustainable design in the delivery of an integrated built environment.

Matt WhitneyMatt Whitney

Matt Whitney manages the Oxfordshire Local Nature Partnership. With a background in renewable energy, sustainable transport and non-financial corporate reporting, Matt brings a broad perspective to his current work, which seeks the systematic integration of nature-based solutions and nature recovery into decision-making across all the policy spheres.

Matt holds an MSc in Environmental Management, during which he focused on approaches to facilitating collective action amongst farmers and landowners to deliver landscape-scale environmental benefits. He is currently focused on developing a county-level framework for nature finance.

Chris Rush, BSc (Hons), MSc, PG Dip Acoustics, CEnv, MIOA, MIEMA, MIEnvSc, MIAQM Chris Rush

Chris is an air quality consultant at Hoare Lea with more than 15 years of experience working in the built environment. He is focused on promoting the crucial health and wellbeing role that air quality plays in our built environment and the opportunity that buildings play as part of this.

Through his involvement as chair of the professional body for air quality in the UK – the Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM), vice chair of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Air Quality Working Group and council member of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) he aims to improve and is passionate about harnessing the value of air quality through the design and operation of buildings.

He is a Chartered Environmentalist, a Member of the Institute of Acoustics, a Full Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, a Member of the IES as well as Full Member of the IAQM.

Catherine PinneyCatherine Pinney

Catherine has worked in the construction industry for more than 20 years. She has experience in the many varied aspects of sustainability and environmental management on development sites in both the UK and overseas, and has previously worked in construction, consultancy, regulation and research roles. She is both a Chartered Engineer and a Chartered Environmental Manager and sees much of her role as translation between these two disciplines in order to maximise environmental benefits.

As Decarbonsiation & Environment Manager for Treveth, Catherine now has responsibility for delivering the strategic environmental aspirations of the business through a carbon reduction strategy, sustainable design, social impact assessment and biodiversity net gain on Treveth’s residential and commercial development sites in Cornwall.