Another initiative alongside the development of these sustainable design guides is that of developing an accreditation scheme for designers keen to register their performance in delivering sustainable design.
Gaia Research initiated the idea for an accreditation scheme for building designers, along the lines of the existing RIAS scheme for building conservation.
The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland – RIAS was supportive and following a consultation a pilot scheme has been launched and the first awards made in 2004.
The uniqueness of this accreditation lies in its emphasis on practical implementation. Whilst the training course gives an indication of the issues and skills required, the scheme itself only rewards project work. Therefore it rewards not what designers know but what they have been able to achieve in practise. In this way it fully recognises the significant difference between aspirations in sustainable design and the realities of the constant vigilance required to overcome the current hurdles.
It is envisaged that the final scheme will allow design professionals to personally advance through classes of environmental design within their own institutions, based on demonstration of practical experience.
Gaia Research hopes that the scheme can extend to other professions over time.