When our Green Deal and BIM worlds collide

Rushing from a Green Deal event in Lancashire to the ThinkBIM BIM event in Yorkshire has me thinking of when and how these two seemingly separate worlds and agenda will collide.

Green Deal, if successful will drive mass refurbishment of domestic, non domestic and commercial existing properties with an objective of reducing energy costs / use and carbon.

Not dissimilar to Building Information Modelling (BIM) objectives of reducing waste, energy, costs and carbons in a truly collaborative manner.

Within Green Deal there will be the need to model energy efficiency options and solutions, to really collaborate across green deal players, and importantly capture all building improvements within CoBie style BIM’s for future improved approaches and solutions.

Perhaps if we were to adopt the Americanism of ‘Re-Modelling’ rather than ‘Refurbishment’ the synergies may be more transparent.

Please share your thoughts and examples of GreenDeal meeting BIM

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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Where Greendeal will succeed …

We are now some 9 months away from Green Deal going live in the UK.  Whether or not the initiative meets its very ambitous, even courageous aims, and manages to unravel its complexities and confusions,  be assured Green Deal could be very successful and instrumental in changing and hopefully improving our industry.

How? My thoughts …

Re-Igniting the sustainability debate in construction, particularly in areas of the industry not as yet engaged with sustainable construction.

Forcing an open and general debate about eco and energy performance of our buildings. (Some of which have been completed recently in the last decade, when we have all been building and upgrading sustainably,  or not?)

Creating the need for a total review of education and training in the industry. Are we really only now debating just what is a green skill and how we train for building green.

Revisiting collaborative working relationships in the built environment. Will we see new look consortia comprising of funders, clients, builders, energy providers, renewable energy companies and more. Who will lead?

Redefining the client – the building owner, the green deal provider, or the funder of the eco improvements.

Cutting through Green Wash in construction.  Could PAS 2030 be seen as a green build standard in the UK providing some form of green accreditation for all eco work, whether Green Deal or not.

So, to those who think that green deal does not apply to them, I would urge you to find out more – its possible the green deal concepts will reach into most areas of the built environment.

To find out more, I invite you to join me in the green deal debates on twitter, subscribe to this blog or just get in touch for more information on preparing for green deal

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 

Ten tips: building green for contractors on a budget

Ever-changing regulations surrounding environmental policy require contractors to re-examine business practices on a regular basis. Unfortunately, contractors are left to interpret a great deal of industry regulations on their own. Among these confounding regulations are those concerning environmental protection.

Guest blogger, Kirsten Bradleyworking to educate professionals and their lawyers about construction industry regulations in the USA has the following advice … and although USA focused, these tips make good sense elsewhere … 

Once contractors have worked their way through the legal jargon found in many environmental policies, they might feel overwhelmed about what exactly their responsibilities are. Fortunately, however, a number of services and products have been created to help eco-friendly contractors.

The National Association of Home Builders plans to roll out the first and only national ratings standard for remodeled homes this year. Contact them for more information on how green products will affect ratings. (In the UK we wait for the Green Deal installers’ Code of Practice and a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) for the retrofitting of energy efficiency measures in domestic and non-domestic buildings)

  • Taking advantage of tax credits and other applicable programs, contractors can offset some of the additional costs they might incur by using eco-efficient approaches to building.
  • Enroll in green building event, training seminars and/or certification programs. (For example, the U.S. Green Building Council backs the LEEDHomes Raters program Home Raters are qualified to assess the degree to which a home has been constructed according to accepted standards of environmental sustainability)
  • Educate yourselves. Sign up for REGREEN, a program that distributes information about how to build green on a smaller scale. The U.S. Green Building Council partnered with The American Society of Interior Designers Foundation to create REGREEN, the first countrywide green residential remodeling manual for existing homes
  • If you think your customers don’t know or care about green building initiatives, think again. A February 2011 poll of Angie’s List members found that 50% of respondents plan to include green building elements in their home this year, but first they want to learn more. Educate yourself so that you will be able to educate your customer and market your services better.
  • According to some estimates, existing homes account for 94% of buildings in the U.S. The average age of these homes is 30 years, which means they often have drafty doors and windows as well as poorly insulated walls, attics and crawl spaces. Additionally, these properties are responsible for 21% of the nation’s carbon emissions. Herein lies a huge profit opportunity for contractors who educate themselves on green remodeling and market themselves to the right crowd.
  • Look at purchasing a green performance bond for your projects in addition to required contractor license bonds . Clients prefer working with professional contractors who are licensed and bonded because they appreciate the extra layer of financial protection
  • For smaller projects, check out the Habitat for Humanity ReStore as a resource. ReStore resale outlets sell reusable and surplus building materials to the public at low costs. Merchandise at the restore is especially good for home remodeling projects
  • Draw up window plans that take full advantage of passive solar energy and help maintain proper indoor temperature. Contractors should always verify that all windows are strategically placed in beneficial locations. This is a great example of implementing inexpensive, eco-conscious design that has a real impact on sustainability.
  • The cost of renewable products like solar platforms decreases as the technology gains traction with the buying public. Installing new products in today’s construction projects will play a large role in increasing eco-friendly building and, in turn, drive down costs.
  • Consider that building a completely new structure using eco-friendly processes might be easier and cheaper than retro-fitting an existing structure that has inherent design flaws.

Contractors who take advantage of green building will not only save money over the long haul, but also promote health benefits from building structures without toxic, energy-wasting materials.

What do you do – do you have any tips for improving green build?

 Kirsten Bradley is working to educate professionals and their lawyers about construction industry regulations through SuretyBonds with a special interest in helping contractors access more green building resources. Follow Kirsten on twitter @suretybond

Sustainability in Built Environment dominates Guardian Sustainable Business Awards

Sustainability in the Built Environment dominates Guardian Sustainable Business Award winners:

At British Land – winner of the Guardian Sustainable Business built environment award:

As the relationship with Camden council shows, British Land takes its corporate responsibility seriously and this is reflected in the goals for Regent’s Place. From design to construction, the project team has been expected to apply the highest standards of ISO 14001 certified sustainability brief for developments. As a consequence, all the new office buildings have Breeam “excellent” sustainability ratings.

From fit-out to property maintenance the developer has worked with occupiers and on-site teams to use natural resources efficiently, with a waste guide and sustainability brief for management – leading to 8% less like-for-like energy use since April 2010.

When the masterplan is complete, the Regent’s Place estate will double in size, providing 2m sq ft of office, retail and residential space for 14,000 workers and residents. What an opportunity, then, for a showcase site with sustainability at its core.

At Sainsbury’s – winner of the Guardian Sustainable Business energy award:

Crayford Sainsbury’s biggest UK store … is a breakthrough project – the first time a UK supermarket has used the so-called geo-exchange system to tap natural geo-thermal energy trapped deep under the ground.

At the heart of the system is an advanced ground-source heat pump that is linked to boreholes that capture and store waste heat from the store. This is released, when needed, to provide heat and hot water for the store and on-demand cooling for refrigeration.

Most importantly, it has allowed the supermarket group to increase the size of the store with no increase in either energy use or carbon emissions. The expanded store has exactly the same footprint as the smaller store it replaces.

As such, Crayford provides a blueprint for the UK’s second biggest grocer as it plots its future store development. The system will be used on several new and redeveloped stores now being planned.

At Tescos: winner of the Guardian Sustainable Business carbon award:

An all-timber new look store in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, is meanwhile creating a zero-carbon template for future store development at home and abroad.

A range of new technologies is being tested, including sun-pipe lighting, renewable combined heat and power (CHP), harvested rainwater to flush toilets and run carwashes, the first ever LED car park lighting system and on-site renewable energy production. Similar stores in the Czech Republic and Thailand will be built in the coming months.

Some 614 UK stores have also been fitted with electronic energy boards showing staff at all levels, and in real time, if their store is operating in an energy efficient way and suggesting ways to improve the results.

The Livingston distribution centre in Scotland will soon be equipped with a six megawatt CHP plant, while the California distribution centre has one of the largest roof-mounted solar installations in North America.

And

at InterfaceFLOR – winner of the Guardian Sustainable Business waste and recycling award:

In 1995 InterfaceFLOR, a carpet tile and commercial flooring company, launched mission zero, a promise to eliminate all of its negative environmental impacts by 2020.

Born from an “epiphany” that founder and chairman Ray Anderson had on reading Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce, the mission moved the company away from the “take, make, waste” cycle of manufacturing towards a more sustainable business model.

The path to mission zero is made up of seven clear and ambitious goals, ranging from eliminating waste and using wholly renewable energy to maximising recycling and using resource-efficient transport.

For InterfaceFLOR, eliminating waste meant eliminating the concept of waste, not just incrementally reducing it. Recycling is seen as a last resort and only considered in cases where waste cannot be prevented or reused in any way. It’s an approach the judges thought eminently replicable.

At Capgemini – short-listed for the Guardian Sustainable Business built environment award.

Capgemini has established a new approach for building energy efficient data centres. Rather than build from scratch, it has used an existing building ‘shell’ and populated it with prefabricated modules, similar to those used as mobile hospitals by the British army in Afghanistan.

This in itself minimises the environmental impact that would come with a new-build project and cuts development time from 18 months to just 22 weeks.

Merlin aims to achieve a step-change in every aspect – from the smart engineering of the building to the use of many innovative features, such as fresh-air cooling, battery-free uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and use of recyclable or reusable materials.

The key feature is the cooling system, which combines fresh air and pre-evaporative cooling. It is set up to ensure the tightest possible real-time control of temperature, humidity and air-flow at minimum energy cost.

Merlin includes new “flywheel technology” in its UPS system, with kinetic energy replacing high-carbon batteries.

a transition view of the uk transition housing plan

A welcomed and important perspective on the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan was posted by Rob Hopkins on the Transition blog:

lowcarbonplancover

After many months of Ed Milliband putting himself out there are a Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change that actually gets climate change, finally his big Plan, the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan was unveiled on Wednesday, in a speech in the House of Commons that name checked Transition Towns and which is the boldest national vision for a low carbon society yet seen.  Many others have since pitched in with their thoughts, I thought it might be useful here to offer an analysis from a Transition perspective.  In his speech, Milliband said “we know from the Transition Towns movement the power of community action to motivate people..”, clearly an outcome of his attendance as a ‘Keynote Listener’ at the Transition Network conference in May. So how does the Plan measure up, and does it actually advance what Transition initiatives and the wider relocalisation movement are doing?

On Housing (of particular interest here) Rob Comments:

tpcommThe Plan restates 2016 of the date by which all new housing will be zero carbon, which is entirely laudable, although Wales has actually managed to introduce this 5 years earlier, by 2011.  It might have provided a good push to this had it been brought forward to, say, 2014. Much of this part of the report is as you would imagine, but it does contain the intriguing statement that “the Government is investing up to £6 million to construct 60 more low carbon affordable homes built with innovative, highly insulating, renewable materials”.

Does this mean that there is now £6 million for hands-on research into straw bale, hemp construction, earth plasters and so on?

Or does ‘highly insulating, renewable materials’ refer to Kingspan and other industrial oil-derived building materials?

At the moment ‘zero carbon homes’ refers only to a building’s performance once built, not the embodied energy of the materials it contains.

The role of local and natural materials in strengthening local economies is key.

My Comment: it is these points that need a wider, open and urgent debate as raised in a previous blog item here. If zero carbon is the solution what was the question? and are we defining zero carbon with enough insight?

Rob scores the Plan as follows:

Addressing Peak Oil:  1 out of 10.

Energy: 7 out of 10.

Transport 4 out of 10

Housing: 6 out of 10

Community involvement: 2 out of 10

Food and Farming: 1 out of 10

and Overall : 6 out of 10


on low carbon existing homes

Currently reading around the greening of existing homes, the following links are of interest and indicate the way forward perhaps:

Rob ‘s Axis Design Architects award winning eco terrace in Newcastle-Under-Lyme that demonstrates how existing Victorian terrace properties can be refurbished to today’s housing standards.

ECD’s Terraced house refurbishment, Mottingham, London considered use of products should ensure that the retrofit of a social-housing property achieves an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.

More to follow….

If you have further examples please add in the comments