Monthly Archives: February 2009

twittering facilities management

Post UPDATE:

A twitterleague group has been created at  http://www1.twitterleague.com/view_league/181  – this may not be the ideal method in the long run but a good starting point to identify those in FM who use twitter.  I can see the definition of facilities management may well be discussed again as we have fm’s, architects, construction people and property managers in the group.  As it should be !  

To be involved follow @fmleague 

 

Twitter has certainly become the buzz of the new web applications and for good reasons.  Earlier, last year, I could see that twitter would be big, but didn’t really understand why or how.  Now, after a years use I start to see the benefit, broadly around open communications, learning, sharing and inspiring concepts.  

I am also convinced that twitter can and will have a major part to play within facilities management, in engaging with building users, and even in twittering data from building systems to facilities managers.

Inspired by the work of Su Butcher to create a league of twittering architects I would like to create a directory of those in fm using twitter, and collectively start to explore and pilot using twitter.

If you are in anyway connected with facilities managemement and use twitter, and would be interested in discussing twittering fm, please leave your details as comments to this post or send me a twitter @martinbrown

A quick search on tweepsearch suggests there are only 23 users with facilities management in their profile – but there must be more ( I know there are!)

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Carbon Consultation Confusion (update)

There are a number of papers and proposals out for consultation at the moment, one just closed and another still to come.  So as a guide (and really looking for correction here if anyone can add to):

Code for Sustainable Buildings Consultation closed – expected feedback from UKGBC at Eco-Build

Zero Carbon Definition for Housing and Non Domestic – consultation closes 18 March (see my post defining zero carbon – more clarifications (for homes at least))  Doesnt include non domestic definition.

Heat and Energy Saving Strategy – sets out emissions from existing buildings to be approaching zero by 2050 – consultation opened yesterday 

Zero Carbon Definition for Non Domestic Buildings – expected later this year but anticipated to follow the principles in the Defintion for Homes.

*Update:  today National Energy Action (NEA) released their own strategy document entitled “National Energy Efficiency Strategy”. To view this document please Click Here.  According to the paper, this Strategy should establish a Code for Sustainable Existing Homes 

Confused?  It is not clear how these will ‘mash’ together, and indeed that is part of consultation, for example how will the Zero Carbon Definition (for Homes) relate to the Code for Sustainable Homes (in particular CSH6) – will it endorse or replace the CSH definition?

Whatever, this is an important aspect of the future of design, build and fm in the UK. The government are to be congratulated on being open on consultation – it is down to us to respond, make our points known …. for forever hold our peace and as Casey put it bitch in the pub.

 

For more informed views on LZC (low zero carbon) see Carbon limted blog posts

defining zero carbon – more clarifications (for homes at least)

On Wednesday I sat in on a Zero Carbon Hub consultation event relating to the defining-zero-carbon-homes-presentation2zero carbon definition  for buildings. I did manage to send some tweets via twitter during the session, and here, I have pulled these together to give a view on the consultation paper.

The event was not quite what I was expecting, as confusingly although the document out or consultation is entitled Definition of Zero Carbon Homes and Non Domestic Buildings, it doesn’t, Neil Jefferson head of the Hub informed us, cover Non Domestics – a separate consultation is expected soon.

Key to the proposal and principles are three elements expressed in the pyramid:

zero-carbon-hier

There is so much thinking, science , technology and even politics behind this hierarchy that isn’t (imho) expressed in the paper, but was covered in the slides from the session, handed out on USB drive and from here : defining-zero-carbon-homes-presentation2

Some interesting thoughts:

As to the rate of homes being built to CSH 6 (zero carbon) the following profile helps to explain the anticipated progress to 100% post 2016:

of-homes-to-zero-carbon

The aspirational target is a UK version of the German PassivHaus concept.  (as Denise Chevin mentions in Building Its principles are simple – the best way to go low carbon is to build a well-insulated, airtight envelope that is nice to live in. It also comes with a copper-bottomed pedigree, with thousands of completed buildings over its 17-year history.)

Nearly 50% present at event were developers and contractor and saw the on site achieving of standards as most demanding aspect of zero carbon. (Cost and quality) 

Will allowable solutions be just another complex carbon off-setting scheme? Could offsite allowances mean business as usual for designers / developers / builders ?  although 2/3 of those present thought that offsite renewables should n0t be included within carbon compliance.

New build house projects to (could?) decarbonise existing housing stock – this is an exciting new idea but received low interest in terms of potential (votes) from those present 

And as to who should monitor and police zero carbon?  Given three options ( Local Planning Authority/ Building Control Bodies/New form of accredited body) those present opted for c, New form of accredited body.

musing on a carbon 1:5:200

Reading many items and articles on the carbon issues that the built environment faces in the coming years, I have jotted a number of random thoughts in google notebook, which may one day be useful ‘spin’ for example:

…almost every building uses more energy than design calculations …… technology alone is not enough …… design 20%, people 80% … attitudes and behaviour towards energy use need to change …….. it is our responsibility to make sure that the building users understand what they need to do to meet the carbon objectives set at the design stage…… people just change the lightbulbs and appliances as soon as they move in ……. eco bling in buildings is too complex for fm’s so they switch it off and open the window..

And then, describing the 1:5:200 concept to someone today, it clicked, maybe it is the  1:5:200 thinking that joins these snippets together and is a new paradigm required in relation to sustainability and carbon management.

Maybe, if  the impact of construction is set to 1, then could the impact or influence of fm be 5 and the impact of building users 200? (in this thinking the influence of design is 0.1)

(and of course, as with the cost 1:5:200, these are indicative magnitudes to illustrate relationships between construction fm and buildings in use, not absolute figures)

Comments welcome ….

sustainability concerns on Preston Tithebarn

Picked up from Prestonblog, CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment), a letter of concern to the developers of the Tithebarn scheme for Preston city centre on the PrestonLancs forum, . In the letter they raise concerns that the new development does not seem to have had enough thought put into sustainabilty and other key aspects.

(comments of interest underlined)

Sustainability strategies

A scheme of this size and the mix of uses proposed suggest that it should set high standards in terms of energy efficiency and environmental design. We are therefore disappointed by the minimal targets set in this planning application. On page three of the statement under the ‘Energy’ heading, reference is made to the use of renewable energy sources to provide a proportion of the energy requirements of the private dwellings. However, the only targets relating to carbon reduction are the statutory minimum allowed by the building regulations. We are concerned that this might lead to the relaxing of energy standards of the dwellings and use of an unspecified level of on-site renewable energy to improve this up to the minimum allowed by the regulations. Therefore, we would question whether the proposals satisfy the council’s Interim Planning Statement No.3 (IPS3) which requires a 10% saving in carbon over and above total energy use.

We are also concerned that the central energy centre serving a community energy system has been excluded from the current planning application and that this might result in control over the energy systems adopted in most of the buildings being handed over to future developers. In our view, the commitment to a central energy centre should be established in this planning application and conditioned appropriately. Comprehensive redevelopment of the site creates an opportunity to put in place such infrastructure, which is far more difficult to retrofit. The document also suggests that not all buildings would connect a common energy system to achieve the benefits and synergies between different uses of CHP to reduce carbon, which would be a missed opportunity.

The sustainability statement does not seem to acknowledge the existence of the PPS1 Supplement on Climate Change and the need to consider systems at the community scale. Furthermore, given the likely extended build-out phasing (likely to extend beyond 2016) there appears to be no strategy for dealing with zero carbon homes or the scale of carbon reductions likely to be needed of the non-domestic stock given that Government intend to achieve zero carbon by 2019.

The reference to being on target to meeting the UK’s pledge to cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2050 does not acknowledge the recent revised target of 80% and is, in our view, misleading because it does not consider all the energy use of the buildings or acknowledge that the proposals are adding to the UK buildings stock and hence energy demand.

(this is an important issue – the difference between 60 and 80% would have a  very significant impact on design and energy considerations)

We would ask the design team to address the concerns raised above at this point to give the local authority the assurance that Preston Tithebarn will be meeting the standards on sustainability expected of a development of this significance.

On a related sustainability theme, that of transport, CABE also has concerns

While we acknowledge the masterplan brief required that Preston’s existing bus station be replaced, we are disappointed that an alternative way to bring buses into Preston could not have been found. Examples in other cities have shown that a simple on-street drop-off point can be more successful and effective than an expensive bus station building. Furthermore, the large footprint of a conventional bus station with many parked buses and attendant noise and exhaust fumes can have a negative impact on adjacent areas; we would expect that the necessary measures have been undertaken to minimise these nuisances. The overall strategy for the bus routes also needs careful consideration in terms of bus movements and congestion to prevent detrimental effects on the streets used by buses.

Ouch. Back to the sustainable drawing board

It will be interesting to see how Preston now deal with the planning application and whether CABE’s comments are taken on board, or a development tagged as unsustainable is allowed to proceed.

I have searched for but cannot find the application online – if I do I will review and comment – and links would be useful.



nw business start up training opportunity for females

Let our Business start up training enable you to confidently progress into self employment in the Construction Industry

 

Constructing the Future   (Elevate East Lancs) in conjunction with Elan are holding business start up training for females interested in starting a business or self employment in services related to the construction sector within the north west. 

Further details from Chris Gold, CtF Team, Elevate

The course, commencing at the end of February will include:

·       The Business Idea

·       Business Structures & Finance

·       Marketing on a Shoestring

·       Information Technology

·       Standards, Health & Safety

·       Human Resources

·       Construction & the Law

Th

T

 

facilities carbon management

Indication that carbon management is becoming a key element of the facilities management role is evident through the Guardian article Cut and Run which focuses on UCLAN’s excellence performance in obtaining the Carbon Trust Standard.

The Carbon Trust says that universities and higher education institutes spend more than £200m each year on energy, and emit 3.2m tonnes of carbon dioxide over the same period – the equivalent of heating more than a million average households.

This puts the facilities management of carbon into perspective – not only as an environmental obligation but also as a social and moral one.  And yet “there is currently a capacity gap in the skills required to manage carbon reductions across large institutions”  FM organisations and institutes take note!

Interestingly UCLAN see the big challenge in carbon reduction as being travel:

Though the university lobbies the council for improvements, problems with the interchange between rail and bus timetables, for example, discourage students and staff from using them. This means transport is a factor in the university’s carbon performance that is proving particularly difficult to improve upon.

Now wash your hands and reduce your carbons … 

I have a slight concern over the quote from Richard Rugg, head of the public sector department at the Carbon Trust. “carbon management is essential. It needs to be viewed in the same way as health and safety”  

In terms of resources, focus and appropriate funds a big yes, but carbon management (as indeed is H and S) is a people, hearts and mind topic, not one of policing, instruction and order as Health and Safety is in danger of becoming / has become.  Facilities Management tend to be fast and easy with littering (even spamming?) walls with notices and instructions to visitors building users… no more please !!