Category Archives: energy

Powering buildings from the carpark …

sun flower.jpgOne of the holy grails of renewables, especially solar, is energy storage. We generate but want to use energy at different times.

The Energy petal of the Living Building Challenge requires that buildings generate 105% of energy needs, storing the additional for emergency use, as for example backup to maintain freezer power supply to safeguard food storage.

In economic and political advisor Jeremy Rifkin’s thinking, we are on the verge of the next industrial revolution – one in which dramatic emergence of innovations in seemingly disconnected sectors converge to create a whole new landscape. (see FutuREstorative for further exploration of this thinking)

Recently we have seen the Tesla PowerWall and now IKEA have entered the market with a home battery offering

Ikea has partnered with renewable energy firm Solarcentury to launch a new domestic battery storage solution that could help to double the amount of solar energy used by UK households and reduce electricity bills by 70%. Source Edie

Emergence of innovation in solar energy, electric vehicles and smart homes is leading to breakthrough development and technologies of what is becoming known as Vehicle to Grid (V2G).  This will undoubtedly become more mainstream given recent news that the UK will ban fossil fuel cars by 2040 and manufactures phasing out non electric car production over the next decade.

Stored energy from electric vehicles (EVs) can be used to power large buildings – creating new possibilities for the future of smart, renewable energy – is the subject for ground-breaking battery research from WMG at the University of Warwick.

Intelligently managing vehicle-to-grid technology, energy from idle vehicle batteries used to power building or pumped back into the grid could improve vehicle battery life by around 10% and without damaging the batteries.

Cenex (UK’s first Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell technologies) describe V2G as being ‘very similar to a standard charging point’, with the difference that energy flows both to and from the vehicle, turning the vehicle into a portable battery store. This provides advantages of

  • Increasing use of localised renewables.
  • Supplying energy to energy markets.
  • Using the EV battery to provide demand shifting and reduce electricity costs.

v2g-graphic-feedback-01-1024x294

And, as the Cenex website illustrates there is much research and development in place within the UK and across the EU:

cenex-v2g-main-image

 

Our future vehicles will power our homes, and in turn, our future homes will power our transport.

However, we need to be careful this doesn’t give licence to continue designing in a car-centric manner. Alongside the energy storage challenge, we need to make the transition to liveable, walkable, human powered and healthy buildings & cities, addressing and balancing the other LBC Place and Health imperatives.

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REVEALed: a new initiative to showcase and compare the world’s most energy efficient buildings.

REVEALREVEAL – a new building energy performance nutrition label and benchmarking scheme to showcase and compare the world’s most energy efficient buildings. 

Reveal is the latest programme from the International Living Futures Institute (the Institute behind the Living Building Challenge, Living Product Challenge, Declare and JUST) to provide visible and benchmark-able energy data based on real, measurable data. Reveal is aimed at certified Living Buildings, net zero buildings, LEED buildings, BREEAM buildings, Passivehouse projects – or indeed any project with accurate measured energy data. It should be of great interest to the facilities Management and Property sectors

REVEAL taps into performance based reporting – an integral part of the Living Building Challenge and Net Positive Certification to provide a new platform for projects to showcase how efficient they are relative to other buildings.

Evidence for the Reveal using the EUI – Energy Use Intensity index – would be validated from utility provider data and audited by ILFI. Reveal Labels are date stamped and will be renewed on a two-year basis to essentially become ‘nutrition’ labels for building energy performance.

Organisations can use their label on their websites and marketing materials to tout their achievement in being one of the world’s most efficient buildings – and see how their project stacks up to other exemplary projects.

Energy Use Intensity (EUI) indicator: In the absence of a standard or benchmark it is difficult to benchmark energy uses between buildings. Simply measuring the amount of energy used per a chosen time period does not take into account building size, configuration or type of use. The use of an Energy Use Intensity (EUI) indicator provides a means to normalise the way that energy use is compared between various types of buildings, and evaluate the means of reducing overall energy consumption.

When using EUI, energy use is expressed as a function of a building’s total area or “footprint”. For Reveal, as is common in the US, EUI is expressed in energy used per square foot of building footprint per year. It is calculated by dividing the total gross energy consumed in a one-year period (kilowatt-hours or kilo-British Thermal Units) by the total gross square footage of the building ie KbTu/sqft/year  In the UK and elsewhere this would be KWh/m2/year. See Calculating a Building’s EUI

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) will begin issuing the new energy label, called “Reveal,” in late 2015 according to Eric Corey Freed, vice president for global outreach at ILFI.

Tesla’s Powerwall: a game changer for BIM and Built Environment Sustainability?

Following the announcement from Elon Musk, we have seen energy and sustainability commentators proclaiming the new Tesla PowerWall a game changer for energy management, and for good reasons, moving from centralised energy to local energy management.tesla-demand

Tesla estimate that with only 9 million Powerwall devices, carbon targets to address climate change can be achieved and that’s not such a big number given the number of cars in the world. What happens when every home, office, building has a Powerwall (or similar: there will be others) enabling local energy management, connected to the internet of course.

The Information Age Is Over. Welcome to the Infrastructure Age.

The Powerwall has also be heralded as an example of the emerging ’world view’ age, we are leaving the Age of Information to enter an Age of Infrastructure. An age that will focus on the way not only energy but how information is managed, transported and communicated, constantly and in real time – the Infrastructure of Information.

Imagine future Building Information Management models that up date instantly and constantly based on incoming data feeds from building’s internet of things , from weather, from other BIM’s building user data and so on

The age of Infrastructure, in which the internet of things is a key element will mash up physical and cyber spaces. Will BIM’s also start to blur the boundary between physical and web space, making Augmented Reality the tip of an iceberg. Building Infrastructure Management anyone?

But of course there is the security aspect:

There are the inevitable dangers that come with infusing physical space with all the vulnerabilities of cyberspace. People will hack your building; they’ll inject malicious code into delivery drones; stealing your phone might become the same thing as stealing your car.

Whilst this could well give us near perfect buildings and facilities, it could also take us one step closer to the Blade Runner vision of cities and buildings that is the antithesis of the environment, restorative sustainability thinking movement, and a danger “We’ll still be mining unsustainably to support our glorious batteries and photovoltaics and smart dance clubs”

It is shaping up to be an incredible fast paced journey ahead for the built environment and even more reason for sustainability watchdogs, and for educational focus.

Sources/Credits:

Tesla’s new Powerwall battery could be world-changing

Tesla Powerwall: Game-changing batteries for homes and businesses, starting at $3,000

The Information Age Is Over. Welcome to the Infrastructure Age.

The Internet of Things (IoT)— an integrated fabric of devices, data, connections, processes, and people.

Green Deal November

*Updated 11/11/11*

Seems Green Deal is high on my agenda for November! Here is a round up on ‘happenings’ and events:

On the 2nd I attended an interesting Green Skills in construction event hosted by teh Guardian. I blogged here on the Great Green Re-Skilling but the Guardian report will be out on the 16th Nov.

On the same day I attended the GovToday Sustainable Communities event where the reduction on solar FITs seemed to feature in every presentation and discussion, especially in the community solar programmes.

On the 10th I am talking to SELCA with an overview and awareness session on Green Deal. And of course the 9/10 November is Sustainability Now with plenty of Green Deal essentials, and fringe chats.

On the evening of the 10th I will be across in Leeds for the Green Vision event ‘The Landlord/Tennant Divide: Understanding User/Occupier motivations and engaging people’ A great line up of speakers. Details here

The 17th November is our be2camp Retro-fiting and the Green Deal event In London, taking a look at how the role of the web and social media amongst other aspects, all in the familar be2camp styled un-conference, with some great presenters.

I am sure Green Deal will pop up in the TBIMChat tweetchat on the 22nd November, exploring how BIM and Sustainability will work together.

I will be talking at the Lancashire Best Practice Club  Preparing for Green Deal event on the 23rd in Blackburn, Lancs with Brian Berry from the FMB and many others. (only a couple of spaces left for this one!)

The UKGBC have an interesting Green Deal Consultation event on the 30th November

And then finally to round off the month we have the Green Vision half day web enabled conference, Retrofit Reality, in Leeds. This will again be with a twist, keynote speeches from industry leaders and a range of expert led round table discussion groups to really get to grips with the issues.

And in between all this supporting some great contractors such as Emanuel Whittakers and others prepare for Green Deal  an exciting trial of PAS 2030 requirements on a live retro-fit project with Salix Homes.


#tweetchats … observations + how to

What is a tweetchat? In my view: a global online brainstorm: a fast paced collection of expert opinion, links, references, questioning, learning but above all sharing around the theme of the chat.

“A tweet chat is a pre-arranged chat that happens on Twitter through tweets that include a predefined hashtag to link those tweets together in a virtual conversation” Formal Twitter tweet chats are arranged in advance and occur at set times. They may include a formal agenda with a specific leader or “speaker”, or they might involve a free flowing discussion between all participants.

Dont attempt to make too much sense of it at the time, dive in, chat and share. Make sense of it later (which makes the output and transcripts very important). A brilliant use of twitter!

Having participated in a number of tweetchats over tha last few months #futrchat, #CSRchat and the more frivolous #sugarfreetweets for example, I recently took on the task of oragnising and facilitaing #GVisChat ‘Future of Energy in Buildings’ for Green Vision.

For an inaugural chat it worked well, with thought leaders and seasoned tweeters conversing and sharing with those who made their first tweet during the chat, which has to be a result.

Here then are my thoughts and observations:

Preparation:

  • Choose a hashtag and check it hasnt been used for another chat.
  • Most hashtags end ‘chat’ which has become a notation for tweetchat.Make the hashtag simple and memorable
  • Get the word out there – through twitter but also through related groups, forums both online and real.
  • Get the time and date agreed: Check there are no other big, subject related chats scheduled around the same time: Balance between working day time (9-5) and a global enthusiast though leader chat: It does seem the popular time is 7, 8 or 9 pm UK time for a global input. (and looking at a recent spreadsheet of existing scheduled chats, USA tweeters would appear to be more comfortable with the tweetchat format.)
  • Have instructions you can point to in order to help participants, for eg: How to take part in a tweet chat and How to join up to twitter (you don’t want to exclude those not on twitter who may see the whole twitter thing a bit of a dark mystery)
  • Agree roles – I think there are three, a facilitator, a subject driver and an amplifer See below  (I did all three so it can be done but … wow – it gets busy)
  • Agree Questions in advance, say 5 or 6 but be prepared to change and flex with the direction the chat may take.

Setting up to capture: 

Register the hashtag with  tweetchat.. Tweetchat provides a nice simple format that puts you in the ‘tweetchat room’ for the chosen hashtag and automatically adds the hashtag. Overall though I find tweetdeck easier to use during the chat.

‘Facilitating’ the chat:

  • Introduce topic, and the first question.  The start of the chat was probably the most ‘awkward’: unlike real meetings there are not many signals to pick up on that people are there and ready to go so you have to dive in. I had a sense of I was waiting for tweeters and they for me to kick off.
  • Welcome – be sure to welcome people as they enter the chat, that is make their first hashtaged contribution
  • Let twitter know the chat is running
  • Feed in the questions – the skill would appear to be in introducing next question at the right time, not too soon or too late – keep the fast pace going…
  • Amplify good points (ie RT and add to)
  • Praise good points being made, thank people for links (as you would in a real world brainstorm)
  • Challenge, question, throw in off the wall out there concepts to widen the discussion (eg future of energy chat led to possibility of building on the moon)
  • Give time checks, especially towards the close  – the 60mins flies past rather swiftly!
  • Watch for contributions from people forgetting or not using the hashtag and RT them so they get into the mix. (and remind people to use the # and Q and A numbering)

During the chat I used tweetdeck so I could have a DM channel open for closed communication with other hosts and a timeline to watch for related tweets from friends who forgot the hashtag!

Post Chat

Use a service such as the brilliant Tweetbinder to capture the tweets as well as statistics on the tweetchat.

Drop the tweets into Storify to create a transcript

Use the tweets and links to craft an interview sytle article for publication on blogs or elsewhere

Thanks:  These are my observations and lessons learnt from organising a tweetchat for the first time. I do hope they help and encourage you to get involved in a chat and to facilitate, they are great fun, generate a real buzz and to me prove the potential business and learning power of twitter is yet to be fully realised

I am indebted to Cindy @Urbanverse, a great friend and seasoned tweetchat expert for help and guidance

 

ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard issued

ISO has issued ISO 50001, a new standard for energy management systems that aims to help organisations establish systems and processes to improve their energy performance, including efficiency and consumption. It will of course be of particular interest to facilities management organisations who will undoubtedly be asked to manage facilities to ISO 50o01

Firmly aligned with ISO 9001 and 14001, the standard is based on the well proven Plan Do Check Act Deming cycle of continuous improvement.

Plan : conduct an energy review and establish  baseline energy performance indicators (EnPIs), objectives, targets and action plans

Do : implement the energy management action plans.

Check : monitor and measure processes and the key characteristics of its operations that determine energy performance against the energy policy and objectives and report the results.

Act : take actions to continually improve energy performance and the EnMS.

ISO have issued a brochure providing back ground information to the standard

Counting construction carbons with ConstructCO2

This blog has reported on numerous occasions (eg here and here) on the need to measure and improve carbon emissions from construction activities separately from that of the building itself or the facility in use. And the need for an easy, simple to use tool.

As noted many of the available applications for calculating carbons were linked dubiously to carbon offsetting schemes.  Of note for use in construction were the Google Carbon tool (but not construction specific enough) and the Environment Agency tool (but is proving to be too detailed and cumbersome for most projects)

Measuring and improving carbons on site is increasingly important as more and more projects seek higher standards to BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes (and soon Non Dom Buildings).  One recent project set ‘damages’ for the contractor not achieving the ‘management points’ (for waste, CO2 and considerate constructor standard) for CSH at £40k per point. (See the CSH Technical Manual for more on this)

Recently at EcoBuild Paul Morrell, Construction Tsar commented  that focus on carbon emissions should be a number one site priority as it is measurable and addresses other areas of ‘waste’ in the industry

And yet the majority of contracts just do not know their project carbon footprint, whether its close to 1tonne or over 100tonne. We do not have a feel for the magnitude of emissions, or indeed what 1kg of CO2 actually looks like.

So it is good news to see the release of ConstructCO2, developed through Evolution-ip, by construction people for construction use.

ConstructCO2 is a simple carbon calculator based on the premise of keeping it simple and easy to use on site. It makes use of existing site approaches for data collection (induction sheets, daily log-ins, plant sheets, utility invoices etc). Carbon emissions through transport are calculated through use of google mapping API .

Construction (people) travel miles are recorded for management, operatives and visitors. (With a dispersed project management team you will be surprised at the carbon footprint of a project site meeting and probably think of alternative arrangements) Material transport miles are derived from delivery notes or goods received sheets.

Where the power of ConstructCO2 lies however is in its reporting. Construction carbons can be measured in terms of co2/£project value, co2/dwelling, c02/m2, co2/bed or other, enabling benchmarking with other projects and generically through KPI’s such as those from Construction Excellence.

But simply knowing the project footprint, the construction company’s total project footprint, and where the biggest areas for carbon emission are enables action for real improvement.

ConstructCO2 is currently being used by a number of different projects in what I guess would be called a beta stage. Current projects include a large new build hotel project, a small industrial refurb project, school extension and an architect’s office.

Currently the use of ConstructCO2 as a tool is free, with a (currently optional) fee based support and training package to help contractors understand carbon issues, carbon standards requirements, measuring, benchmarking and improving carbon footprints.  So it makes sense to take the opportunity now, measure and understand the carbon footprint of one of your projects. At the moment sign up is through request via email contacts on the ConstructCO2 front page

Future developments include the option for live energy feeds from site power meters to ConstructCO2 and live exporting from ConstructCO2 to Google and Pachube for example.

ConstructCO2 is on twitter at @constructco2 and has a ning forum in development for discussion and benchmarking of project carbon issues.

Note: As an associate with Evolution-ip, I have been involved in the ConstructCO2 concept development and testing.  Evolution-IP is a be2camp partner, presenting at and sponsoring be2camp un-conference events.