Category Archives: links

code for sustainable buildings

A while ago  I posted on the UKGBC task force UKGBC task group too important to be so narrow? and how it should embrace an open collaborative wiki style approach to the development of the Code for Sustainable Buildings.
This code will be so influential and far reaching that it cannot be developed behind closed doors, behind closed servers etc

Now the good news is that the UKGBC have started a consultation on the development of the Code.

Closing date back to the UKGBC is on the 12 December. A very short window compared to the months given to the same process for the Construction Sustainability Strategy.

The document can be downloaded from here, and a discussion area has been set up on the be2camp forum.

on low-carbon existing homes

From the UKGBC website, will comment when I have time to digest!

UK-GBC Releases new report

Report submitted to Government 13/1008

After a summer of stakeholder engagement, including a ‘webinar’- an online seminar – which attracted around 100 participants, the report on Low Carbon Existing Homes has been submitted to Government this morning and is available to download here. The appendices are available here and the Executive Summary of the report is available here. This is a landmark report in terms of the number of organisations that have contributed to it and the importance Government attached to the process. It will go forward to inform Government’s energy efficiency consulta  ion later in the year, and the resulting Low Carbon Homes strategy next spring.

The report can also be downloaded directly from here low carbon existing housing

on public building epc’s

The UK Communities and Local Government government website states

Our buildings are responsible for almost 50 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions.

October 1st marked the date by which UK public buildings have to display their energy performance for buildings and facilities as an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). Currently around 18,000 buildings, including town halls, museums, schools and job centres, are being tested.

The Guardian’s Hall of Shame lists a number of very prominent and public buildings that score G ( on the same A (good) to G (bad) as white goods). There is within the article a number of calls for refurbishment of these buildings – many less than 5 years old. So where was / is the sustainable design, construction and facilities management that everyone has claimed to be doing since ‘whenever‘?

a facilities management issue?

I question whether this is a design issue or the running of the building. Case studies indicate that Facilities Managers often lack the up to date eco-knowledge to manage complex building management systems, so manage all buildings ‘the same’.    In addition FM has largely been excluded from the debate, news and leading edge sustainability decision making, (at least publicly as a voice shaping our built environment sustainability future) and here we see the consequences.  (see my post on the UKGBC task group for example)

And the blame?

You can see the FM providers or managers from poor scoring buildings being called into board or chamber meetings or  to explain the low EPC score, and told to ‘do something about it’. After all no one wants to be associated with producing white goods that carry a G rating, so the same with buildings that carry a G rating.

and the costs

To be really meaningful, and easily understood the A – G ratings need to be converted into £ of wasted energy per building or per m2 for each building, to demonstrate the real cost to the tax payer of inefficient buildings or facilities.

and keep the focus on ….

It is necessary that focus remains on EPC, change will only come when the public, the building users and environmentalists (and bloggers) kept focus on EPC and displays, as with so many good initiatives this could easily fall away. Maybe the first fine for non display will sharpen minds.

picture that tells a 1000 words

This is cool.

This image, easily generated at Nokia Barcode Generator site contains links to my site.

Anyone with a barcode reader can zap the images and instantly ‘read’ the information and save to contacts.

Also works with text and links.

Could we see all business cards looking like this one day.  Or profile images on social networking sites replaces by the picture that tells a thousand words.

Badges at conferences could be far more interesting, and a great ice breaker as people get close to zap each other.

does the built environment ‘get’ the web?

CEO’s do not ‘get’ the web, according to the last of four articles in today’s Telegraph that reviewed Steve Tappin and Andrew Cave’s book The Secrets of CEOs and looked at the emerging web3.0 and its impact on business.

Web3.0 will have a profound impact on building designs and the way we use buildings, through for example the use of cloud computing that will remove the need for server space and the required power and cooling energy. It will also impact on office space layout as network access becomes unchained from the desk and floor box.

But in the built environment the biggest impact may well be on collaboration that changes relationships, supply and value chains beyond recognition …

Web 2.0 has been focused on social communities, on individual relationships; things not focused on the office. … Web 3.0 will be about more interaction between customers and vendors and competitors, on making life better for the customer.- provide better collaboration on business problems.

And of course more predictions on virtual worlds, and second life…

Forecasters Gartner are predicting that by the end of 2011, 80pc of active internet users and Fortune 500 enterprises will have a “second life”,

with no where to hide problems, mistakes or greenwash …

Reputational damage in the Web 3.0 environment will be swift for companies that are caught out, because of the speed with which information can spread around the world.

So I guess an equally important question is how well does  the built environment ‘get’ the web?

be2camp in London on the 10th October, may well be seen as the start of awareness for many in the built environment to get to grips with and better understand some of the emerging web2.0 and web3.0 applications.

Post note – just as I finished this item I received a tweet (Twitter) from Krishna De in Ireland with a link to her blog article on the state of web use among SME’s: Organise, Activate And Influence Social Activism Through Social Media relating to a recent study released by O2 and TNS MRBI

  • SMS messaging for business communications, increasing from 29% four years ago to almost half (49%) today.
  • almost half of SME owner managers are unaware of what a blog is – and that just over one in 16 (6%) SME respondents has started a business blog while 5% have a personal blog.

future of conference – 2

My earlier post on the future of conferences being of a barcamp, open, participation nature has been picked up by Conference Bay – with a useful list of how to unconference elements of mainstream conferences.

The feature doesn’t deal with the subject of conference fees though – moving away from high corporate fees to low cost, or fee by participation is one of the key elements to ‘un-conference’.

Our be2camp unconference in London on the 10th October will break ground as being one of the first, if not the first unconference event for the built environment – that is designers, builders, clients, and facilities managers. The agenda is shaping up now with great speakers on board – what would you like to see or contribute?

the built environment twitters

There has been a welcomed increase in Twitter from uk construction recently. New to this world is:

the UK construction magazine Construction News has a twitter @CNplus with deputy editor Nina Lovelace having a twitter account at @nina_lovelace

New Civil Engineer, now also has a twitter presence at @NCEmagazine and

Constructing Excellence has now started on twitter with @constructingexc.

I still haven’t found anyone twittering from a facilities management perspective as yet (other than myself), which is a pity as I see twitter having great potential here. (But watch this space!)


be2campAs Paul has mentioned over at EvolutionExtranet, These developments are perhaps the latest indications of a growing awareness and adoption of such tools within the UK mainstream built environment industry, but we are still only scratching the surface.

I would like to think the promotion of be2camp has something to do with this, Be2camp, is an online grouping which is promoting an innovative event next month at the Building Centre in London (and online). an event run on unconference or BarCamp principles, that will seek to apply Web 2.0 to the built environment (from planning and design, through construction, to facilities management).

Incidentally you can follow be2camp activity through twitter be2camp

There has of course been a regular group of built environment twitters, twittering away for most of this year, forming a small, but global and growing nucleus of practioners from all aspects of the sector who share, learn from and inspire each other. A quick round up:

Zerochamp / Phil Clark Online business journalist writing about sustainable construction and development

melstarrs / mel starrs Sustainability Engineer, Chartered Building Services Engineer (CIBSE) and BREEAM Advisor and Assessor.

EEPaul / Paul Wilkinson London-based, blogger on IT, SaaS, sustainability, construction. Also a cyclist, a Crewe Alex FC fan, a beer drinker, founder Be2camp

pbroviak Civil Engineer and Public Works Director. Publish Grid Works at Working to integrate engineering & virtual worlds, founder Be2camp

eversion / Rob Annable Architect

the_architect / The_Architect Chartered Architect, drinker & thinker.

jodiem / Jodie Miners founder Be2camp

CindyFW Architect, futurist, adjunct prof U of Houston + U of KS, writer, tree hugger + perma-student exploring urban futures

and myself

martinbrown fairsnape: blogger, leading and supporting built environment improvements, founder Be2camp

Reactions to Tesco pulling out of eco towns

I havent posted on the developments within eco towns recently, but with the decision being delayed until early 2009 and Tescos pulling out there is plenty of comment on media sites and blogs: for example:

Tesco’s decision ‘is good for democracy’
Cambridge Evening News – Cambridge,England,UK
Cllr David Bard, SCDC portfolio holder for new communities, said: “I congratulate Tesco on the decision to withdraw from the eco-towns process following our

Tesco deals blow to eco-towns with exit from scheme
Financial Times – London,England,UK
By Jean Eaglesham Gordon Brown’s eco-towns project suffered another setback yesterday, after Tesco pulled the plug on one of the most high-profile projects.

Property crash opens door to the new council house
Times Online – UK
The news came as Mr Brown’s plan for eco-towns unravelled further when Tesco became the latest developer to withdraw its bid.

Tesco pulls out of eco-towns project
Times Online – UK
Gordon Brown’s plan for eco-towns was unravelling last night, with Tesco withdrawing from one of the proposed greenfield developments.

ELSENHAM: LibDem spokesman to visit “eco Town” site
Harlow & Bishop’s Stortford The Citizen – Harlow,UK
meeting up with Nick Clegg in Chelmsford at the Central Baptist Church, on October 9 with councillors Morson and Dean to talk with him about Ecotowns.”

Tesco withdraws Cambridgeshire eco-town
24dash – Hereford,UK
All the Cambridgeshire local authorities, local MPs, and Cambridgeshire Horizons have objected to Hanley Grange being on the eco-towns list, as have local
See all stories on this topic

Ecotowns: another one bites the dust
Financial Times – London,England,UK
Newsflash: I’ve just been told that Tesco is withdrawing plans for an ecotown at Hanley Grange, near Cambridge. We ran the story last week that the wheels
See all stories on this topic

Another eco-town bites the dust – United Kingdom
By Tom Peterkin Campaigners against eco-towns are celebrating after Tesco abandoned its plans to create one of Gordon Brown’s controversial green

Tesco withdraws bid for Cambridge eco-town – UK
By Joey Gardiner Supermarket Tesco has withdrawn its bid to build one of the Gordon Brown’s eco-towns on the Hanley Grange site near Cambridge.

Eco-town shortlist put back
Evesham Journal – UK
Chris Atkinson, a spokesman for DCLG, confirmed: “The final decision on the potential locations for eco towns will be made in early 2009, after which each


Tesco deals blow to eco-towns scheme
By admin
Tesco deals blow to eco-towns scheme The supermarket chain withdrew its proposed development at Hanley Grange, near Cambridge, from the government project and issued a statement acknowledging local opposition.

Tesco deals blow to eco-towns scheme
August 28 2008 22:59 Gordon Browns eco-towns project suffered another setback on Thursday, after Tesco pulled the plug on one of the most high-profile projects. The supermarket chain withdrew …

Is the eco-town coalition collapsing?
But it’s hard not to regard their actions as a sign that confidence in eco-towns is dwindling. After all, as this Government’s stock falls, and as further questions about the towns’ “green” credentials emerge, it’s no longer good PR

Eco-town plans progress
By admin
Progress continues to be made in planning proposals for the eco-towns project, it has been revealed. In a report by the Eco-Town Challenge Panel – which was created by housing minister Caroline Flint – it was reported that many of the

UK: Tesco drops Eco-town plan
By / TCM
Supermarket giant Tesco announced today that it was dropping its bid to build one of the proposed eco-towns in the United Kingdom.

now wash your hands …

I am always amazed at how a strategically important sector such as Facilities Management has somehow elevated the washroom, toilet maintenance sector to be of utmost strategic import.

Now I can already hear the moans from facilities managers, as this space may be invaded, at the excellent and innovative Welsh Assembly proposal for businesses to open their toilet facilities to the public. But this will surely reinforce the sense of place and community based facilities management, moving from contract-centric services to one of community-centric provision.

A new £385,000 public facilities scheme to encourage businesses to open their toilets to the general public has been announced by Minister for Social Justice and Local Government, Dr Brian Gibbons, today (Wednesday 20 August).

The public facilities scheme will encourage local authorities to work in partnership with businesses to improve the provision of safe, hygienic and accessible toilet facilities. More here

This story was picked up by twitter from @HMGOV the Unofficial service of official news feeds from UK Government

seren-dipity timelines?

Over the last few days a number of people have asked for information on Dipity or the link to Route to Zero timeline I use in presentations, or have set up timelines such as Paul on his EvolutionExtranet and for be2camp.

Dipity is incredibly easy to use and allows the aggregation of a number of sources ( news feeds, google searches, RSS feeds from blogs etc) into one timeline, as a flip book, a list or even as a google map. It provides a great and quick way to search through any topic, following the news or developments.

It also provide a futures timeline potential, either as a organisational planning tool, or a futures foresight approach. I am working with an organisation to visually map out their business plans, intentions, strategies or milestones, and in discussion with a construction project to record progress on site.  This is an obvious use of timelines, as the Walter Mill Ateliers project demonstrates