Category Archives: blogs

are EPC’s working

Fellow bloggers Phil at ZeroChampion and Adrian at McFilter have commented recently on the feedback from their EPC (Energy Performance Certificates) assessments and made the observation that the recommendations do nothing more than suggest low energy lighting. I hear the same from friends who have undertaken EPC’s recently and asked me what can they really do to improve the banding.

With EPC’s being seen as a key tool in shifting the energy performance within existing housing stock (and indeed on commercial and public buildings) surely this has to be better.

Also this week They Work for Us posted results of Lib Dem Shadow Housing Minister, Sarah Teather, question, “How many domestic energy performance certificates have been registered on the central database for properties in each rating band”, Iain Wright, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the DCLG, responded with a breakdown of the numbers lodged on the central database in his written reply.

Rating Number lodged
A 228
B 50,210
C 315,623
D 526,613
E 352,354
F 117,916
G 33,035

As expected D is the most common band, but the majority are D and worst. And just what are the 228 A’s doing to achieve top marks – surely this is the information that should be relayed down to the other bands.

This post also gives me the opportunity to use WordPress new Poll tool, so here goes:

be2camp goes live

BE2Camp, 10 October, London

be2camp

Web 2.0 meets the UK construction industry at a novel new event,

BE2camp, to be held on Friday 10 October at the Building Centre in London.

Having been part of the (international) planning team behind this event, I am delighted that we now have some details confirmed. If you fancy becoming part of the event, whether as a sponsor, a speaker or simply a participant (whether in person or virtually), please join in.

You can also follow developments on twitter by following @be2camp

There will be more here and on the site as the event shapes up. The other members of the planning team have blogs which will I am sure carry be2camp news as well:

EvolutionExtranet (London) Paul Wilkinson

Public Works Blog (Illonois) Pam Broviak

I have no opinions (Sydney) Jodie Miners

on power blogs and tweets

Impressed that our Foreign Secretary blogs to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office blog, FCO Blog , and these are picked up through twitter, Downing Street and HMGov as a means to communicating.  Through this we can keep in touch with G8 summit, not only on the main issues but also on background stuff, like the weather, the view from the hotel and the ‘fringe’ events,  plus a whole array of government communiques and activities.

For example today:  the tweet and blog on Climate Champions…

150 school children gathered in an ex-sewage works (honestly) for presentations from the international climate change champions and Q and A with me.

And on G8 check out the summits own blog.

Illustration of how Web2 approaches can be used to good effect,

isite radar and roundup monday 23rd june

Last week was a busy one so not too much posting here, but below are a few of the items that caught my eye

Bristol is to become the first cycle city with 11 others – York, Stoke, Blackpool, Cambridge, Chester, Colchester, Leighton Buzzard, Southend, Shrewsbury, Southport and Woking – named as demonstration areas for the scheme. They will be added to the current six demonstration areas – Aylesbury, Brighton, Darlington, Derby, Exeter and Lancaster.

Last Saturday I led a benchmarkwalks walk in the English Lake District for a group of Facilities Management people. Great discussions over usability, eco towns, fm sustainability, fm in Cape Town shanty towns and the future of fm.  An emerging topic from the conference earlier in the week, and continued on the walk – the need for Aggressive Facilities Management

On blogs, Mel’s excellent article over at Elemental on Global air conditioning while Phil at ZeroChampion has an interesting post on Should we carbonize interest rates? and Pam over at Public Works talks from the trenches on investing in infrastruture in the face of credit crunch.

The Guardians articles that ‘revealed‘ the UK Governments blue print plans for a tougher approach to climate change. Many of which involved housing or buildings. Now why was this not included within the UK Government Strategy for Sustainable Construction. Joined up thinking, just in time thinking?

On a similar line a German town forces homes to fix solar tiles

Eco towns seem to be never out of the news with google alerts working overtime – has the opposition changed, from ‘we cant build zero carbon’, to ‘nimbyism’ to what now seems to be the ‘tescopolising’ of eco-towns. Next weeks headline? Eco towns ate my cat.  But today the Guardian reports on the forthcoming report that criticizes eco town proposals:

The choice of sites put on a shortlist to be England’s first ecotowns has been strongly criticised for their lack of adequate public transport links and other shortcomings by a government advisory panel.

George Monbiot on coalWe must leave the fossil century behind to reach the golden age of renewable energy, Mr Brown – making the important comment that its not what we do but what we stop doing

And finally, for now, much blogging and twittering of the planned be2camp event in London in October. here here and here

second life orientation day for built environment ppl

Friend and colleague Pam Broviak from the Public Works Group in SL, GridWorks and LaSalle Illinois, has just posted an item on her blog regarding our planned orientation day on June 28th.  Join us for an introduction and guided tour. UK times and a programme are still to be confirmed, but it should be possible to log on from 10am BST.

Pam explains:

With the upcoming Sustainability Now virtual conference, the Public Works Group is offering an Orientation Day on Public Works Island in Second Life on Saturday, June 28, 2008. Seasoned Second Life residents will be on hand to greet you as you enter Second Life.

If you have never been in Second Life, this is a great opportunity to try it out knowing that there will be people there to meet you and help show you the ropes. Because most people have not been exposed to this type of interface, entering Second Life alone with little guidance at the beginning can be challenging. We are hoping to make that transition a little easier by being there to answer questions, give away free stuff you might need for your virtual world, and point you to some interesting places in Second Life that are tasteful and engaging.

By registering through the Public Works Group Web site, you will enter Second Life on Public Works Island instead of through the normal orientation that others go through if registering on Second Life’s site. This way you avoid all the chaos and instead enter Second Life in an area that is more professionally themed.

on zero carbon and routes to get there …

There have been some very worthwhile and considered articles and comments on the definition of and feasibility of zero carbon recently – take a look at Mels post .. and Phils post for excellent round ups and for good technical comment take a look at CarbonLimited from Casey

The difference in opinions and views is healthy – maybe there is no ‘one’ definition, maybe we should not waste (mental) energy on defining – but as per the zero accidents, zero waste and zero defects debates of recent years accept it as a worthwhile, Utopian goal and work how how to best get there. I recall from my TQM days the concept of zero waste drives lean management approaches, but absolute zero waste is not ‘defined’ – it is a philosophy.

From the supply, contractors, perspective the very confusing debate on what is zero carbon just encourages the ‘keep heads down until it blows over approach’. Understandable, but a strategy that will return to haunt those not prepared to address the changes we will have to make. Most do not have a strategy or vision for moving to a low carbon future, content to be led by circumstances.

Within the Route to Zero programme I run, we start to understand, from industry intelligence, what an organisations customers, shareholders, people and even suppliers are expecting in the context of zero carbon over the next 10 – 20 years. From this intellenge we can develop a maturity matrix of strategies and objectives that would be necessary, ie a Route to Zero. A matrix that would be reviewed regulaly as ‘requirements’ will unfold and change and most likely toughen up. Armed with such a route-map, organisations may not achieve zero , but have the evidence that they are thinking of a zero future.

And as to the general public, those who will buy the zero carbon homes, Mel is correct in pointing out the confusion we as an industry may be giving, a damaging message maybe? What home owners would like to know is the balance between capital purchase and the running costs per month, and what savings per month would a code 6 or zero carbon home give me over a traditional home? Take a look at the house sale literature in the states – this is exactly what green homes are sold on – a reduction in energy bills, making the purchase of green homes desirable, a no brainer and making non green homes nearly unsaleable.

Ad then there is the existing housing stock issue …. which is where effort must be put, not on new build, eco challenges, eco home etc etc ….