Category Archives: links

my shared links over the last week (May 12th)

Experimenting with a round up of key links shared via twitter over last few days, brought together by Rebel Mouse.

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Green Deal Update Sources

Slowly green deal details are emerging.  A number of people and organisations have asked me for good reliable Green Deal update sources.  Across the web the situation still seems very patchy and I guess will remain so until we have further news from the government on the Energy Bill and release of PAS 2030 for consultation for example.

UPDATE: PAS 2030 Issued for Consultation

However, here is my list of sources as a starter for 10.  If you have any to add (that are informative rather than outright service/product/training ‘sell’) please add to comments and I will incorporate.

DECC Green Deal 

DECC Green Deal Advisory Forums

Energy Savings Trust Green Deal 

Green Deal Guide Green Deal Guide

Microgeneration MCS Certificate Scheme

Asset Skills – Green Skills

The Guardian Sustainable Business Built Environment Hub

Social Media (Blogs, Forums and Twitter):

Green Deal Linkedin Forum

Fairsnape (this blog)  eg: CSR – the hard, the soft and the CSR

Great Green Deal (PB Energy Solutions Blog)

Green Deal Twitter List (curated by me @fairsnape)

Green Deal News Weekly (Twitter  based Paper.li) (curated by me @fairsnape)

Green Deal Providers (Blog)

Future Fit Blog 

Use of social media can lead to innovative #smworkplace employees

Following my last blog on Social Media in the workplace two very interesting links have come to light:

From Business Insider:

As elaborated by the Harmon research on social media productivity … inclusive collaboration will unleash huge organizational potential for knowledge discovery with benefits including greater innovation, reducing time spent searching for information and elimination of duplicated effort.

and

Innovation comes also by multidisciplinary collaboration … with … social media are a means to this end, obstructing this opportunity will do more harm than good in the long term. Adaptation and transformation of people, processes and technology will have to occur sooner or later, because both the organization and the competitive landscape will demand this.

(my emphasis)

And from Tools for internal communications back in Jan 2010:

Melcrum have also begun a major research project into the use of social tools for internal communications; initial findings confirm “widespread adoption, a clear business case and visible return on investment for communicators.”

“Many organizations have now moved beyond the experimentation phase and begun embedding social media into the way they do business,” said Victoria Mellor, CEO of Melcrum. “There is a fundamental shift happening with how information flows inside an organization. Peer-to-peer online networks are enabling real-time feedback from employees to inform decision-making, not to mention facilitating collaboration between remote workers,” she added.

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.

sustainable resources and publications update

Items of interest to built environment + natural environment + sustainable communities filtered from the Sustainability Development Research Network (SDRN) update

Engaging Places
A new initiative has been launched by CABE and English Heritage to help every school exploit the world’s biggest teaching resource; ‘Engaging Places’ will champion and support teaching and learning through the whole built environment, from grand historic buildings to the streets and neighbourhoods where we live. Great web resource here

Creating green jobs: developing local low-carbon economies
This publication outlines measures to help create 150 000 new jobs in the low carbon economy – jobs that help save carbon, reduce fuel poverty, increase our energy security and build resilience in those areas at greatest risk from climate change. A must read document.

Policy Exchange Report – ‘Warm Homes’
This report argues that Government efforts to improve energy efficiency in the existing housing stock have been slow and expensive. The grants available are too complicated to administer and have had to be applied for on household-by-household basis, with those that do wish to upgrade required to cover a large part of the upfront costs. This has resulted in millions of homes not applying for the grants to which they are eligible and those unable to find the cash for upfront installation costs being excluded. In addition, such a variety of organisations are responsible for the delivery of energy efficiency improvements, including the Warm Front Scheme and the Energy Saving Trust, that effective joined-up action is prevented and the costs of bureaucracy increased. To quickly install basic energy efficiency measures in every household that needs them, ‘Warm Homes’ suggests that the structures of energy efficiency finance and delivery have to change and makes recommendations of how to achieve this. More…

Comfort in a Lower Carbon Society
The January edition of Building Research and Information includes a set of five commentaries on the earlier special issue ‘Comfort in a Lower Carbon Society’. The commentaries examine from different perspectives the opportunities, barriers and potential for significant carbon reductions through changing the social expectations and behaviours for what constitutes thermal comfort. The heating and cooling of buildings consumes a significant proportion of energy in developed countries and the trajectory of consumption continues to rise. Given that developed countries have a large and slowly growing building stock (less than 2% per annum), technical solutions to upgrading the building stock will take a substantial period of time. Altering societies’ behaviour and expectations surrounding the consumption of ‘comfort’ – specifically through how much heating and cooling we require – presents an important opportunity for lowering energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. Commentaries are written by Jim Skea, Mithra Moezzi, Harold Wilhite, Russell Hitchings, and Ian Cooper. More…

Tackling Climate Change, Reducing Poverty
A new coalition of leading UK environmental and social justice groups, convened by Oxfam and the new economics foundation (nef) and including Friends of the Earth and the Royal College of Nursing, has released a report – ‘Tackling Climate Change, Reducing Poverty’ – showing that tackling climate change actually offers a huge opportunity to boost the economy and tackle UK poverty at the same time. The report shows how the need to combat climate change could present a huge opportunity to tackle poverty too. Key recommendations include: increasing household energy efficiency, reducing both emissions and fuel poverty; planning for an equitable transition to a low carbon economy (paving the way for the UK to capitalise on the opportunities and reap the benefits of the new low-carbon economy including the creation of new ‘green collar’ jobs; promoting sustainable public service provision, including low carbon food procurement for hospitals and schools; improving the existing housing stock (moving towards low carbon design in housing and urban development); and investing in a public transport system, which is better for the environment and more equitable. More…

Natural England Draft Policy – ‘All Landscapes Matter’
Natural England is leading on the implementation of the European Landscape Convention (ELC) in England.  This document sets out their detailed policy for working with and through England’s landscapes as an integrating framework for managing change and raising the quality of all landscapes and the benefits they provide, whether they are rural, urban or coastal, ordinary or outstanding. Key policies highlighted consider: landscape management, protection and planning; dynamic and evolving landscapes; landscape as an integrating framework; European Landscape Convention; valuing landscape; landscape, design and development; European and International context; Landscape Character Areas; and landscape monitoring. Natural England is keen to hear views on this draft policy, and invite written comments until the 13th March 2009More…

Community development in local authorities
This new report from CDF examines how community development teams are structured in local authorities. Findings are amalgamated from discussions with a number of local authorities, together with findings from a more formal process of investigation. It attempts to give practice-based insights and intelligence about the role of community development teams. It looks at different structural models and the key factors that help community development, and therefore the voice of the community, to have an impact. This report is part of an ongoing project and the final section poses questions for those currently engaged in developing CD within their local authority. More…


More @ SDRN 


keeping communities of practice alive

This week I find myself involved with and or facilitating four communities of practice (CoP) , two new and getting started like the Leeds Sustainability Forum and Green Drinks Lancashire ( which after the second ‘gathering’ is becoming a useful green business network) one well established like the BAE FM CoP, and the Constructing Excellence Collaborative Champions Group which is looking to move into a web 2.0 environment for communication and collaboration. And of course regular participation in the be2camp and twittering communities.

In preparation for the four CoP’s I dug out a paper from Harvard Business School that I had referred to back in 2005 when starting the FM CoP , Seven Principles for Cultivating Communities of Practice that describes and discusses approaches to evoke a community’s ‘aliveness’, to bring out its own internal direction, character, and energy:

  1. Design for evolution – Remember communities are dynamic; changes can create new demands or reshape the community; “‘Alive’ communities reflect on and redesign elements of themselves throughout their existence.”
  2. Open a dialogue between inside and outside perspectives – effective community design is “built on the collective experience of community members” and “brings information from outside the community into the dialogue about what the community could achieve.”
  3. Invite different levels of participation – Three main levels of community participation: a core group engaged in regular, intensive activities (usually 10-15% of the group); the active group (another 15-20%); and peripheral members, who rarely participate.
  4. Develop both public and private community spaces – “orchestrate activities in both public and private spaces that use the strength of individual relationships to enrich events and use events to strengthen individual relationships.”
  5. Focus on value – “Rather than attempting to determine their expected value in advance, communities need to create events, activities, and relationships that help their potential value emerge and enable them to discover new ways to harvest it.”
  6. Combine familiarity and excitement – “combine both familiar and exciting events so community members can develop the relationships they need to be well connected as well as generate the excitement they need to be fully engaged.”
  7. Create a rhythm for the community – Vibrant communities have a rhythm, a tempo, ideally somewhere between breathless and sluggish. “There is no right beat for all communities, and the beat is likely to change as the community evolves.”

(I should note a word of thanks to Paul at ExtranetEvolution who also blogged on this earlier)