WELL & BREEAM announce alignment for credits – more good or less bad?

As mentioned and illustrated in FutuREstorative, we will see an alignment in building sustainability and performance standards over coming months and years. In the US we have seen an alignment between LEED and the Living Building Challenge on materials (Red List) and recently on energy and water.

On Monday 28th  Nov, we saw an announcement from The International WELL Building Institute and BRE for an agreement to pursue alignment between WELL and BREEAM will making it easier for projects pursuing both standards.

In practice this will mean documentation submitted for certain credits will be recognised by both WELL and BREEAM, saving project teams time and cost.

This will be a very interesting journey and further recognises the importance of health within building design, construction and use. WELL, like the Living Building Challenge is an excellent, robust but tough standard and one that cannot be attained without a different mind-set approach to buildings.

Key to that mindset is recognition of the impact of materials on health on construction workers and building users. An alignment or agreement between BREEAM and the LBC’s Red List would make great sense here.

It will be interesting to see how the differing philosophies between WELL (do more good) and BREEAM (do less bad) work together. Hopefully this further opens the door to a salutogenic approach to design – not just reducing ill-health but using buildings to improve health, for example, using light as medicine, as explored in FutuREstorative

salutogenesis-slide

Health – the next performance gap.

I will also be watching with interest if this agreement extends to the construction process, (ie. the BREEAM MAN credits) to improve the wellness and health of those involved in and affected by construction works. This is a health and wellness area that BREEAM, LEED, WELL and the Living Building Challenge do not readily address. Yet for those whose career is spent on construction sites, it is a key health and sustainability area, and one that benefits from biophilic design considerations, for example greenery in accommodation and living walls as project hoardings.

living-walls-construction-hoarding

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Bright Green – the new Black (Friday)

That Green is the new Black is illustrated through sustainability focused alternatives to the commercialism of Black Friday.

100-planet-tcl-1404x778-c-defaultPatagonia whose sustainability vision entails using business to make change will be giving 100% of sales to 1% For The Planet this Black Friday. 

This year Patagonia will donate 100 percent of global Black Friday sales in our stores and on our website to grassroots organisations working in local communities to protect our air, water and soil for future generations. These are small groups, often underfunded and under the radar, who work on the front lines. The support we can give is more important now than ever

pexels-photo-94616REI and others under the hashtag banner of #optoutside will be closing stores, encouraging staff to spend time with family and friends – out of doors.

Here in the UK we have adopted the US Black Friday sales madness. In conversation with a local outdoor gear store, they felt they couldn’t make the stand as Patagonia and REI are doing as they would just loose out (online) sales to competition over the black Friday 2 week period. But there are signs we are adopting the green Friday thinking here in the UK.

As I write this blog on a business trip to Brighton, I am encouraged to see BrightFriday activities in place coordinated through alt fashion Hubbub.org. Their three simple guidelines to create a BrightFriday also serves as a great circular economy statement.

How to create your #BrightFriday this Black Friday

1. Resist the pressure of buying things you don’t want or even need. Remember, the best bargain is not buying stuff you didn’t want in the first place.

2. Rekindle love for what you already have.

3. Create memories rather than buying them by trying something you’ve always wanted to do.

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“This Changes Everything” Paris Agreement and the Built Environment

That the Paris Agreement has come into force today, 4th November 2016, some four years early, now ratified by the requisite number of nations, is a huge milestone and speaks volumes for the global recognition and consensus to reduce carbon emissions.

cop21 article 2 draft

Back in December in Paris, the built environment was recognised as a major contributor to the carbon problem as well as having a major role to play in a low carbon sustainable future. (See How significant was the first Buildings Day at COP21?)

Now, then, is the time to review our approaches to taking carbon out of the built environment, through design, through the operation of buildings and in the manufacture and construction processes.

Through ConstructCO2 we know that up to 70% of construction carbons are travel and transport related, and much of this through diesel fuelled vehicles, further adding to our air quality problems and stretched health services. Construction transport impact must now be a primary target for sustainable construction.

In the UK, our most recent industry target is within Construction 2025 Vision – to reduce emissions by 50% by 2025. Consider however that this was written when the consensus for carbon reduction was based on a 2 degree target for temperature increase. We are now looking at 1.5 degree as the emerging consensus, and that changes everything.

construction-2025-headlines

There is a sense of urgency here, and as I explored and commented within FutuREstorative ‘we no longer have the luxury of being only less bad’ but need to be doing more good, and in doing so heal the future.

less-bad-more-good-chart

In 2015 the UK Green Construction Board noted that ‘reducing built environment carbon emissions (50% from 1990 levels by 2025) is now out of reach with current practice’, and as Namoi Klein wrote in This Changes Everything (2015) “There are no non-radical approaches left before us in addressing climate change’

But we do have approaches, tools and initiatives to ensure that the built environment can contribute to a 1.5 degree future, again as explored in FutuREstorative and illustrated here in this infographic:

carbon-image

As we celebrate the Paris Agreement coming into force, lets also take the opportunity to look forward and start working collaboratively within the built environment towards a 1.5 degree future. And in doing so,to address the other hugely important aspects of the Paris Agreement, adopt the Sustainable Development Goals.

Chart_of_UN_Sustainable_Development_Goals

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Will Tesla solar roof tiles be an industry game changer?

Elon Musk in a quest to make solar as attractive as electric vehicles may have leap-frogged many solar building innovations and prototypes in revealing a range of solar tiles (to be in mass production soon) at a show case event at Universal Studios yesterday.

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It is not often, or at all, that building products are launched with the degree of secrecy and flair that is the domain of new cars or smart phones. But that’s what Tesla did yesterday, revealing new solar tiles and power packs on a completed detached home, to invited guests. The event was reportedly powered by the energy from the display home, and then as the sun sank, powered by the battery Powerpack energy stored from the roof tiles.

Being able to generate more energy than required, and store that energy within the building for when it is not being generated, is key to sustainable buildings.  Such breakthroughs will enable both new build and refurbished buildings to move closer to the Living Building Challenge Energy petal imperative. Generating 105% of a building’s energy from the sun. And with roof tiles rather than panels, start to address the challenges Beauty petal, removing the all-too-often unsightly post construction solar panels

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The tiles price point is still be announced, yet whilst reported to be more expensive than standard tiles, they will be cheaper than the cost of tiles and equivalent cost of energy  over the life of the tiles or building. And far cheaper than the cost of post-roof or post-construction solar panels.  The tiles will also have a longer life time than more traditional US roof tiles. (US domestic buildings have a roof replacement cycle of 20 years or so)

References:

BBC: Tesla shows off solar roof tiles

Tesla: Sustainably Power your Home or Business

Mashable: Elon Musk tied together some of the disparate threads of his company’s various grand ambitions in a product launch event here at Universal Studios Friday night.

iSite Related: at last … low cost solar power that works in the (Welsh) rain…

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NW England: for the best of this year’s Autumn colour.

If you’re keen to catch autumn leaves at their best then this may be the best time to head out with your camera. In fact, recent research highlights that 2016 is a particularly vibrant year for autumn colours. Owing to 2016’s wet spring, followed by above-average amounts of sunshine and a mild August and September, trees […]

via Where to see the best of this year’s Autumn leaves — Wild about Scotland

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REGENERATION17 – Your Invited …

“our responsibility must be to inspire the next generation to become better than us and to reach higher than we have” Martin Brown in #FutuREstorative

reach-higher

The Italy Collaborative through Macro Design Studio  is organising the third edition of REGENERATION, the European design competition entirely based on the Living Building Challenge sustainability certification standard .

IMG_2334Having supported the first two editions of REGENERATION as an LBC tutor and presenter, I can wholly recommend this event as truly enriching and inspiring,  not only in learning about the Living Building Challenge in applied detail, or being hosted in a wonderful region of the Italian Dolomites, but making a positive contribution through regenerating a local municipal facility.

The competition is open to professionals (architects, engineers, environmental sustainability and landscape experts) in Europe, under 35 years old. The deadline for the request of participation is next January 31st, 2017. We will select the best 15 on the basis of the documentation submitted.

The event (which will take place at CentIMG_2350rale Fies, Dro (Trento – Italy), on April, 26th to 29th, 2017.) is a 64 non-stop hours of integrative design in which each team, assisted by tutors expert of LBC, will compete in designing the best redevelopment project of an existing local public building. There will be side events i.e. a final conference open to the public on the issues of LBC as well as the final presentation of the projects, with the proclamation of the best project by an international jury.

One goal is to have the most various participation possible, in terms of European countries represented. 

More information about REGENERATION:

– REGENERATION web site: regenerationcompetition.eu
– The REGENERATION Facebook group

The deadline for the request of participation is next January 31st, 2017. 

Administered by The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) based in Seattle (WA), a hub for visionary programs that promotes a sustainability that is Socially Just, Culturally Rich and Ecologically Restorative SMILFI is partner and scientific advisor of Macro Design Studio and the Living Building Challenge Collaborative: Italy in organizing REGENERATION.

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Cities setting biophilic commitments.

Pittsburgh has become the latest city to be inducted into the Biophilic City network, setting ambitions and commitments to eliminate the use of all pesticides, fungicides and herbicides, to increase the city’s tree canopy from 42 percent to 60 percent by 2030, to pursue  the daylighting of streams in stormwater management efforts and to develop more greenways.

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To qualify as a Biophilic City, cities work within a number of guidelines and monitoring indicators:

Guidelines:

  • Biophilic cities are cities of abundant nature in close proximity to large numbers of urbanites; biophilic cities are biodiverse cities, that value, protect and actively restore this biodiversity; biophilic cities are green and growing cities, organic and natureful;
  • In biophilic cities, residents feel a deep affinity with the unique flora, fauna and fungi found there, and with the climate, topography, and other special qualities of place and environment that serve to define the urban home; in biophilic cities citizens can easily recognise common species of trees, flowers, insects and birds (and in turn care deeply about them);
  • Biophilic cities are cities that provide abundant opportunities to be outside and to enjoy nature through strolling, hiking, bicycling, exploring; biophilic cities nudge us to spend more time amongst the trees, birds and sunlight.
  • Biophilic cities are rich multi-sensory environments, where the sounds of nature (and other sensory experiences) are appreciated as much as the visual or ocular experience; biophilic cities celebrate natural forms, shapes, and materials;
  • Biophilic cities place importance on education about nature and biodiversity, and on providing many and varied opportunities to learn about and directly experience nature; in biophilic cities there are many opportunities to join with others in learning about, enjoying, deeply connecting with, and helping to steward nature, whether though a nature club, organised hikes, camping in city parks, or volunteering for nature restoration projects;
  • Biophilic cities invest in the social and physical infrastructure that helps to bring urbanites to closer connection and understanding of nature, whether through natural history museums, wildlife centres, school-based nature initiatives, or parks and recreation programs and projects, among many others;
  • Biophilic cities are globally responsible cities that recognise the importance of actions to limit the impact of resource use on nature and biodiversity beyond their urban borders; biophilic cities take steps to actively support the conservation of global nature.

Indicators

  • Natural Conditions (eg % of forest or tree canopy cover, % working/living within 300m of green space, area of green roofs, living walls)
  • Biophilic Engagement ( eg daily visits to green spaces, flora and fauna eco-literacy, outdoor activity membership)
  • Biophilic Institutions, planning and governance, (eg city budget allocated to nature conservation, restoration education)
  • Human Health and Wellbeing (% spending 30 mins + in urban nature, in outdoor activities, equitable and just access to nature)

Other aspects of a biophilic city include bird friendly, water friendly (blue urbanism) and dark sky preservation.

Other Biophilic Cities include Wellington, NZ; Birmingham, UK; Victoria Gasteiz ; Spain; Portland, USA and Singapore.

The Biophilic City website has a wealth of information, stories and resources.

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