A-Z Change Maker Award Winner: Chloë Yuill

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The professionals starting their careers in the built environment now will be the ones working through and supporting its decarbonisation and just transition to net zero. Recognising this group and celebrating their innovative ideas, fresh perspectives, passion and enthusiasm is the inspiration behind our Change Maker Award.


Chloë Yuill, a newly qualified Architect at ECD Architects, was the winner of the 2023 Change Maker Award at the Accelerate to Zero Awards for her significant commitment and contribution to solving the challenges faced in decarbonising the built environment.


Social responsibility in architecture


Chloë has a passion for architecture which led her to pursue her studies at the Glasgow School of Art and attend sustainable cities and conservation summer schools. Throughout her journey, she has learned the importance of incorporating social and environmental responsibility into her work. She is currently working on an assisted living project where she can realise her belief that architecture should go beyond aesthetics – and in this case, it is about creating homes and community gardens that prioritise the needs of more vulnerable individuals.


Reflecting on this shift in perspective, Chloë states, "It made me realise that it's not about what I want to put out into the world, but about creating healthy, warm, and safe homes for others."  She emphasises the importance of providing residents with equal access to enjoyable living and outdoor spaces by considering their individual needs. For example, the residents of the assisted living may benefit greatly from the acoustic advantages of highly insulated properties; the balanced daylighting strategy that drops the cills in the living rooms for an enhanced connection to the outdoors; or the provision of a shared community garden to help foster a connection between neighbours.


Environmental responsibility in architecture


At ECD Chloë has been exposed to a wide range of projects and particularly enjoys working on the retrofit feasibility studies. She started by working on the Climate Neutral Estate for Strathclyde University and has more recently worked on East Renfrewshire’s Education Estate. Both projects examine a select group of archetypes and assess their existing building fabric and propose measures to reduce their heat demand.


The aim was to find the ‘sweet spot’ between maximum heat demand reduction, cost feasibility, impact on an existing maintenance plan, intrusiveness and decant considerations. Working on these projects has given her a greater understanding of the challenges faced when tackling existing buildings. However, she understands the importance and impact this can have when done holistically.

Project Side Images East Renfrewshire 2

Taking a collaborative approach


Chloë discusses ECD’s role as Passivhaus consultants, which involves working in collaboration with other architects such as JMA. Currently, she is assisting on Montgomerie Park, a new primary school that is being designed and certified against the Passivhaus criteria. This is to achieve the required Learning Estate Investment Programme funding and minimise operational energy consumption and contribute to North Ayrshire Council’s ambition towards Net Zero Carbon. She strongly believes that working together is crucial to achieving a successful transition to net zero.


She says, "We need to shift from a culture of competition to collaboration and this project has been a great experience of that."


Continuous learning and putting knowledge into practice


Unlike other architects, Chloë has been exposed to Passivhaus from an early stage in her career and she has been fortunate enough to go on the Building Energy Modelling Using PHPP course hosted by TU Dublin. She hopes to become a Passivhaus Designer too in the coming years. Chloë's focus on upskilling not only supports her professional growth but she comments on how much she enjoys it too. Her involvement in live projects allows her to put this knowledge into practice while showcasing the tangible impact architects can have on working towards Scotland’s net zero targets.


Chloë considers each of the aspects above to be crucial and she visualises a future where they are all integrated. Chloë explains, "I'd like to contribute not only to the creation of efficient and healthy homes but also add value to the spaces between buildings. In every project, I aim to develop designs that promote and encourage people to connect with nature and foster individual and environmental well-being.”



The Change Maker Award


We finished our conversation with Chloë by talking about her recognition as the winner of the Change Maker Award. She says, "It’s humbling to be recognised among my peers and mentors. This award serves as a reminder that, no matter my age or level of experience, it's important to remain passionate, have difficult conversations and try to do better."


Reflecting on her own experiences, Chloë offers advice to aspiring architects. "Find inspiring people to spend your time with, seek as many opportunities as you can for learning and growth and try and enjoy the journey.”


Chloë’s journey epitomises the evolving role of architects – from creators of buildings to facilitators of inclusive and sustainable living. Her passion for continuous learning, collaboration, and making more valuable use of the spaces between buildings offers a glimpse into a future where architecture not only provides shelter but also enhances everyone's lives.

Accelerate to Zero Awards 2024 

Interested in being involved in this year’s Accelerate to Zero awards, either as a sponsor, applicant or attendee at the awards?