Reconnecting the eco system: Specifi Services London

logoIt was a real pleasure to present a sustainability keynote to the 100 plus service experts and engineers attending the Specifi Services event in London on the 29th November.

The keynote focused on the impact that the built environment sector  has on climate change and how we can all become part of climate change solutions. I introduced the need to think beyond sustainability, to a regenerative approach that connects with and enables natural eco systems to flourish.


Sharing insights from FutuREstorative, I put forward the case that we no longer have the luxury of being less bad, and that we need increasingly radical approaches of being more good.

This includes working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (that will replace the Brundtland definition of sustainability) and for example meeting the World GBC from Thousands to Billions target for all new buildings to be net zero carbon from 2030 and all buildings to be net zero carbon by 2050

One particular mention for London services is the Getting to Zero report which lays out a ‘roadmap for making all London buildings zero net energy by 2050‘ from the London Energy Transformation Initiative. LETI is driven by Clara Bagenal George at Elementa who was able to respond to questions during the evening, particularly the recommendation, endorsed by the London Plan, that public and private buildings to disclose their performance on energy use.

On LETI, the following extract is from the recent Integral publication Impact, transforming the engineering industry’

Focused on mitigating catastrophic climate change by dramatically reducing carbon emissions from the city’s buildings, LETI was established as a multidisciplinary collaboration working toward a zero-emissions future for London.

LETI is poised to make a big difference, and it all began with the vision of one person, a member of Elementa’s London office named Clara Bagenal George. Hers is a story of the power of one to make a big difference, and is also a story of the power of many. It shows how a person with a vision, backed by a supportive team with access to resources, can mobilise like-minded people who together can have a tremendous impact on one of the world’s biggest cities.

The new normal

We now have many solutions available to us that will undoubtley become the new normal. For example, Project Draw Down contains over 100 solutions that already exist in practice, and the new emerging regenerative sustainability standards such as the Living Building Challenge  that gives us a new direction for a new future built environment.

The keynote focused on two new normal aspects – Healthy Material and Rethinking Carbon …

Healthy Materials:


Declare is the ILFI material declaration standard against the Living Building Challenge Redlist– a key area of debate for LBC, Well Build, Google and other projects in London at the moment.
The Declare label asks three questions .

  • Where does a product come from?
  • What is it made of?
  • Where does it go at the end of its life?

Rethinking Carbon:

There is a growing recognition to reimagine carbon. Thinking of carbon as an unwanted evil may be preventing real advance on effective carbon management.

Maybe the metric for carbon success is not just reduction in fugative emissions but a metric that acknowledges the carbons locked into circular economy materials (Durable Carbon) and carbon returned to where it belongs (Living Carbon)

The keynote provided examples of two Living Building Challenge projects, the Bullitt Centre in Seattle & the Cuerdon Valley Park in Lancashire, and concluded with the question – ‘how will your organisation, your product, your building get beyond zero’

Specifi events are unique, providing an opportunity to listen and to learn from inspirational speakers, an opportunity to learn and share in an informal networking format with leading exhibitors and industry colleagues, and then to discuss in more detail over a three course meal. (All included in the free attendee ticket price!)


Download an abridged version of the Specifi Services London keynote

See you at the next Specifi: Design in Manchester in 2018

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