Archives

Revolutionary, Regenerative Sustainability; RESTORE Training School

The UK RESTORE Training School

The first RESTORE Training School took place in Lancaster, UK between 14th and 17th November 2017 organised and facilitated by Martin Brown, Fairsnape. Over 40 trainees and RESTORE core group members attended, representing a great spectrum of sustainability disciplines, experience and EU countries. The four days were lead by trainers and guest lectures from the UK, EU and USA, but with a distinct Lancashire focus!.

The focus was firmly on Regenerative Sustainability, Biophilia, and Sustainability Education,  in four days trainees gained a deep understanding of Restorative and Regenerative Sustainability and the key topics from RESTORE working groups.

The week was very busy and very interesting, with topics and activities that went well beyond my initial scope and expectations” Trainee Report Feedback

Training school designed to progress the RESTORE Cost Actions purpose.

“I believe this was the beginning of something bigger and totally revolutionary”            Trainee Report Feedback

Discussions and agreement on sustainability definitions was a crucial start to the four day training school

“I received clear definitions and deep understanding of three basic, but important words: sustainability, restoration and regeneration. I think that this precise explanation will allow me to direct my research toward more “green direction” Trainee Report Feedback

 

“So one of the key insights to me was to understand sustainable design as a philosophy. It’s not a list of do’s and don’ts about materials, site development, and building systems. It’s a holistic ethic that includes all the stakeholders in the dialogue, encouraging feedback for continuous refinement and improvement. It seeks to imitate the efficiency and diversity of nature and create design solutions that are responsive, self-regulating, and full of spirit” Trainee Report Feedback

“Working with experts from different fields, discussing different ideas, learning about others and about their expereinces, their work, education, their side of the story – that is how you can learn so much in just few days, something that you can not learn by reading only books. I am so very glad that I was part of this Training School and I can surely say that I had a great time, but at the same time learnt a lot”  Trainee Report Feedback

“Do nothing today to compromise tomorrows generation” Also, the concepts of salutogenesis and healthy materials were introduced. These were completely new expressions to me, so besides trying to process all the information I had great times in the debate parts, where discussions among a completely heterogeneous group lead to a perfect understanding. Trainee Report Feedback

State of the Art and Visions from the working group subgroups central to the training school content

“Newly learned term: salutogenesis. The “sustainability” of the people living/working inside a building could be more important than the sustainability of the building itself”  Trainee Report Feedback

Quotes and comments shared through social media during the four days made for a good number of Regenerative Sustainability Takeaways …

“The Living Building Challenge presented itself as one of the most holistic sustainable building standards I have come across and I would really hope to get the LFA certification and aim for a LBC building in one of my future projects. I also thought the 20 LBC imperatives provide a great lens in which to scrutinise projects”. Trainee Report Feedback

Project visits to Brockholes and CVP enabled the students to witness the application of the topics covered during the training school. Planting trees at the Living Building Challenge Project ( in part to offset carbon from travel, but also to provide locally available Larch timber for any future cladding replacement of the Visitor Centre)

“New approaches were given, new ideas were born and this was only possible due to amazing hosts and organizers which knew how to keep us motivated and focused all day long… hard work was done, and great results were attained” Trainee Report Feedback

Read our Storify here 

Download our full infographic here

 

(Header Image Credits TopL JustEngland.org TopR Lancaster Uni. Bot L+R Martin Brown @fairsnape)

Advertisements

What does good ‘Facilities Management Sustainability’ look like? And why aren’t we doing it now?

I was honoured to be invited to the EuroFM ReseCGb8As1WsAA4i1varch Symposium as a guest of EuroFM, held at the recently completed Technology Innovation Centre at Strathclyde University in Glasgow.

As promised, here are my thoughts from the day, and further links to the issues I raised during the day, in conversation or in the panel presentation/debate:

  • We do not have luxury to continue being incrementally less bad, and with the built environment’s 40% negative impact, the facilities Management sector, (led by the research community) has a huge opportunity and responsibility to flip to being more good.
  • We have been talking about Sustainable FM for at least a couple of decades, but still we haven’t made any real progress. The environmental impact of how we manage facilities is huge,FM Restorative Sustainability but remains something we struggle to fully understand, to measure and to address.
  • It was good to see Restorative Sustainability language within Keith Alexander’s opening presentation – laying down a challenge to the sector to adopt different thinking for sustainable FM
  • However it was disappointing to see FM research updates or proposals that start from a very dated perspective. Starting from Brundtland’s definition is last decades thinking – and has an odd message, perhaps giving licence to do nothing …. far better to adopt Yvon Chouinard’s (Patagonia) approach – ‘ Sustainability means we give back more than we take” – Restorative or Net Positive FM!
  • I did question the “in depth studies into sustainable building schemes” that have not picked up on the relatively new thinking standards such as Living Building Challenge, Well Building Standard, Cradle to Cradle, Circular Economy and so on. FM research has to be credible and leading edge for practice to listen and adopt.
  • Research proposals presented missed the huge opportunities for FM to engage with the wider sustainability agendas, in particular on people and health issues. (Note: the days theme being People Make FM)
  • Indeed the claim that FM contributes to the health and wellbeing of people needs to be backed up with evidence. Anecdotally, it is possible that FM ( and the wider built environment) could be putting people’s health at risk – through continued inclusion of toxic materials in buildings, (PVC? Formaldehyde glues?), a lack of biophilic thinking, promoting lifts over stairways, standing desks, poor air quality, lighting quality and so on. It is on these ‘health’ issues that the Well Building Standard should be a fundamental part of the sustainable FM agenda.
  • I did note that on the tour of the 3 month old BREEAM Excellent TIC Building, prior to the symposium, many of the FM delegates commented on the ‘new building smell’ – unfortunately now an indicator that chemicals may have been used in the finishes and adhesives.CGa3mDhWgAAPrZI
  • It was good to see the work in development on Smart Cities and Internet of Things from Prof Keith Jones at Ruskin University, showing the collaborative joined up research necessary to address complex (as in complexity theory) and wicked problems of sustainable smart cities.
  • Research to Practice was the theme for the end of day panel session where access to research by FM practice was discussed. I still wonder why research is blind to social media? As an example there were only two of us tweeting (myself @fairsnape and Iain @IainMurray) – but still our tweets reached approx 20k accounts, all researchers, would I am sure, like to have seen their research message reach 20k accounts.
  • It was, as ever, a real delight to introduce Living Building Challenge thinking and the Bullitt Centre to the EuroFM Research to Practice panel session. This is where sustainable EuroFM Sustainability FM thinking needs to be, driving a wedge into the future, demonstrating what is possible, not wrestling with a dated definition of sustainability.
  • the World FM Day on 10th June celebrates Building Resilience for the Future as an online debate throughout the day – a great opportunity for the FM Research community to engage and share their work.
  • Also on the 10th June the Brightest Greenest Buildings Europe virtual expo opens – again a free to attend event giving an opportunity to learn, share and engage with others across Europe.UK_collaborative_logo
  • And, also on 10th June, (a busy day!) our Living Building Challenge UK Collaborative meets at Leeds Beckett to explore the issue of healthy and materials.

If any of the above comments seem a little negative and critical, forgive me, but the intention is to be constructively so, and after all, one of the Living Building Challenge advocacy messages is to ‘stir the pot’, … o challenge current thinking.

Related Links:

Living Building Challenge

Well Building Standard (see also Vicki Lockhart Well Building presentation here)

Bullitt Centre  @bullittcentre  and (see also my interview with Denis Hayes)

Bullitt Centre added value report: Optimizing Urban Ecosystem Services: The Bullitt Center Case Study

Bullitt Centre – From Roots to Canopy

Cradle to Cradle

Circular Economy – Circulate

Responsible Business – Yvon Chouinard

Research and Social Media: Rethinking Sustainability Research: Eight Global Challenges and  my presentation to UCLan CSD 

Restorative Sustainability: Future Restorative

Living Building Challenge UK follow @livingbldgUK

Brightest Greenest Buildings EU  – the EU Virtual Expo for Built Environment (opens 10th June)

World FM Day – 10th June – Building Resilience for the Future

Restorative Sustainability – Once something exists, no one can say it’s impossible

Insights from a Sustainability Leadership Conversation with Denis Hayes:

Martin Brown and Andrea Learned

As part of the Sustainability Leadership Conversation series we held a twitter conversation with Denis Hayes, founder of EarthDay and CEO of the Bullitt Center in Seattle – the worlds greenest commercial building. The full transcript from the conversation can be found on storify, with insights from others, but here is an summary of insights, compiled from Denis’ tweets

MB: What is inspiring you at the moment?

Denis: Big change happening, but is it fast enough? That’s the question. I’m inspired by huge amount of talent and money flowing to sustainability investment and by young people rolling up sleeves to make things better.

MB: What are your views on Effecting Change

Denis: Media plays big role, for example President Obama engaging meteorologists, trusted and relevant Best place to effect change is in City Hall – whether as employees, elected, NGO, advocate. I’m bullish on cities right now.

MB:  … and on Nature and Natural Laws?

Denis: We have been breaking lots of little laws in the built environment. Now the big law, Nature’s laws, are catching up with us. You can’t break Nature’s laws.  When you try, you wind up proving them.

We need to align human and natural laws, then economy will fall into place.

And yes I agree we need more circular  thinking, buildings only ‘borrow’  materials, we need to design with senescence in mind, the Building’s not mine. Biomimicry just makes good sense, nature has been beta testing ideas for millions of years, the least we can do is observe and learn.

 MB: What is the role of Big Data in sustainability?

Denis: Analysis of big data is key, living buildings need cerebral cortexes and Central Nervous System to function, big data helps see patterns, offers vast potential, but right now there is too much noise and not enough signal and analysis.

MB: How important is Equity within ‘Restorative Sustainability’?

Denis: For too many people, environmental performance is a luxury. Race or income shouldn’t determine whether your building is full of poison. Everyone deserves clean air to breathe.

MB: Why the Living Building Challenge as the standard for the Bullitt Centre?

Denis: The LBC is most ambitious metric for sustainability in built environment. It’s hugely challenging.  LBC Buildings sequester carbon, generate more energy than use, remove toxics from ecosystem and promote human health. LBC Buildings have no toxics, compost all waste, use only rainwater and sun, they put water back into soil to recharge aquifer. All are natural ideas.

“But the Bullitt Center is about opening a wedge into the future. Once something exists, no one can say it’s impossible”

MB:  why after 40 years of Earth Day are we still pessimistic?

Denis: 40 years happened. Still possible to mitigate worst impacts, but is now expensive and difficult instead of cheap and easy.   Not too early to think about Earth Day 2020, aka ED50, a month long Earth Celebration

MB:  where Next?

Denis: I’m writing a book – COWED – with my wife about the impacts of bovines on North America.   COWED is not anti-cow but “pro-cow but with limits.” 93 million cows in America are way too many.

MB: And finally your views on twitter and (sustldrconv) tweetchats?

Denis: This is an exciting day to be doing this with @fairsnape @AndreaLearned and with the new NCA out, the chatter class is talking climate change

This article was originally co-authored by Martin Brown and Andrea Learned with contributions from Denis Hayes and Brad Khan. 

Denis Hayes, founder of EarthDay and CEO of the Bullitt Center in Seattle – the worlds greenest commercial building. Brad Khan is Principal at GroundWork Stratries and communications consultant to the Bullitt Centre in Seattle

Martin Brown @fairsnape is a UK built environment sustainability and social media advocate, Andrea Learned @AndreaLearned is a US based social engagement and thought leadership strategist. Both are Guardian Sustainability Business contributors and are co-founders of Sustainability Leadership Conversations, a transatlantic and global twitter based social media programme that enables sustainability leadership sharing.

Contact us to discuss support in amplifying your messages, experiences and commitment within the sustainability leadership arena through our monthly #SustLdrConv series and other social media programmes.