Back to School with Restorative Sustainability

What is Restorative Sustainability and why is Education so vital?

pexels-photo-129743

Working with Class of your Own, it is a pleasure to be organising and directing the first Training School for the RESTORE Cost Action to be held in Lancaster, between 14th and 17th November 2017.

Restore Logo

The RESTORE Action aims at a paradigm shift towards restorative sustainability for new and existing buildings, promoting forward thinking and multidisciplinary knowledge, leading to solutions that celebrate the richness of design creativity while enhancing users’ experience, health and wellbeing inside and outside buildings, in harmony with urban ecosystems, reconnecting users to nature.

Applications are now invited for the school that will focus on Restorative Sustainability, Biophilia, and Sustainability Education.  In four days students and practitioners from across the EU will gain a deep understanding of Restorative Sustainability and learn about key topics from RESTORE working groups.

Training School trainees (students, educators, and practitioners) will participate in

  • Introduction Seminars
  • Action Learning
  • Presentations (Team and Individual)
  • Designing and Delivering a School Sustainability Education workshop
  • Study Tours / Interviews with Living Building Challenge Project Teams
  • Report Writing
  • Evening seminars

We expect the school to be oversubscribed, so get your application in now! Full details, selection criteria and how to apply can be found on the Cost RESTORE website.

pexels-photo-93013

Topics to be covered include:

  • PLACE:  Relationship with place, ecology, nature, soils, bio-climate,
  • ENERGY: restorative and regenerative energy, net-zero, carbon-neutral, energy storage
  • WATER: net positive water, building influence, floods, drought, water stress
  • WELLBEING: health, happiness, Salutogenesis, biophilia, mindfulness, air, light, comfort
  • CARBON: science based targets, 350ppm, 2Deg, 1.5Deg, social impact,
  • RESOURCES:  healthy materials, responsible, transparency, conservation, circular economy,
  • EQUITY: equality fairness, inclusion, respect,
  • EDUCATION: behaviour, next generation, next project, development,

The outline agenda for the four days:

Day One (TUESDAY, November 14)

  • Inductions, Welcomes and Arrangements
  • Introduction to RESTORE
  • Restorative Sustainability Thinking
  • FutuREstorative Module
  • Introduction to Biophilic Design and Impact on Sustainable Behaviour
  • Production of Biophilic Design Plan (for Birth Center (Design or Refurbishment)

Evening

  • Guest Lecture Sustainable and Traceable Coffee – Presentation and Coffee Tasting
  • Dinner

 Day Two (WEDS, November 15)

  • Introduction: Sustainability Education, Inspiring the next generation
  • Planning An Education Workshop
  • Site Tour Lancaster Castle + Refurbishment Works
  • Working Group One: Faro Papers, Intro and Discussion
    • Social Wellbeing, Behaviour
    • Restorative Heritage
    • Regenerative Buildings
    • Economics, Resources ‘the circular economy’
  • Guest Lectures (eg Heritage, Biomimicry, Circular Economy)

Evening

  • UK ReWilding Guest Lecture
  • Dinner

Day Three (THURS, November 16)

  • Running a Live Sustainability Education Workshop at Local School (tbc)
  • Education Workshop Feedback from students and teachers
  • Finalisation of Reports/Presentations
  • Public event with sustainability, built environment professionals
  • Training School Presentations to Core Group
  • Training School Q&A Panel Session (chair tbc)
  • Dinner

Day Four (FRIDAY, November 17)

Study Tours to RESTORE demonstration Buildings

  • Building Relationships with Place and Nature: Brock Holes (Preston) BREEAM Outstanding
  • Site Visit – Living Building Challenge Project, CVP, Lancashire
  • Living Building Challenge Design Issues,
  • Designing and Building with Natural Materials
  • Training School Debriefing
  • Post Course requirements

Full details, selection criteria and how to apply can be found on the Cost RESTORE website.

Advertisements
Posted in comment, education | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking a Living and Well Building Crosswalk

pexels-photo-305833Compliance is not a Vision – Ray Anderson

FutuREstorative explored  the case for moving towards building sustainability standards that are in their nature restorative and regenerative. That is they generate more benefit to the environment, society, community, building users and owners than simply reducing any negative impact. The four standards chosen for exploration were One Planet Living, The Natural Step, the WELL Building Standard and the Living Building Challenge.

Writing in FutuREstorative, Claire Bowles commented:

Imagine if all of the green building standards complemented each other and worked together to accelerate an overall improvement in the standard of our building stock and the quality of life for its inhabitants.

Since FutuREstorative we have seen movement in the two establishment standards (BREEAM and LEED) in seeking and agreeing alignment with elements of WELL (in the case of LEED and BREEAM) and the Living Building Challenge (with LEED)

It is encouraging to see then the recent publication of Living Building Challenge and the WELL Building Standard – Approaches for projects seeking a dual rating. The publication cross-maps each WELL feature and LBC imperative, identifying where the mapping is complete, partial or not addressed.

Download: WELL – LBC Crosswalk Document

IWBI and ILFI recognise the complementary nature of addressing holistic environmental and social impacts within the built-environment while specifically addressing health and well-being at the organisational and occupant level. Both organisations understand the value of multiple certifications for projects addressing broad sustainability issues and strive to support those efforts.

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) and the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), have agreed to work collaboratively to promote the design, construction and operations of healthy and restorative buildings. The two organisations will work together to identify opportunities to align the two rating systems, coordinate events and education offerings, and promote building practices that significantly raise the standard of what buildings should be.

phippsFew projects have achieved both Living Building Challenge and the WELL Building Standard. One project that has done so is the Phipps Conservatory, Center for Sustainable Landscapes. This project also has attained LEED Platinum and SITES 4 Star recognition, giving good right to call itself one the greenest buildings in the world. The projects website and LBC case study made for essential reading to further the important interface between the built and natural environments, further demonstrating that human and environmental health are inextricably connected.

About the Living Building Challenge

The Living Building Challenge is the built environment’s most ambitious holistic performance standard. The program was launched in 2006 and is administered by the International Living Future Institute, a non-profit organisation offering green building and infrastructure solutions at every scale— from small renovations to whole cities. The mission of the Institute is to lead and support the transformation toward communities that are socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative.

About the WELL Building Standard 

The WELL Building StandardTM (WELL) is the first building standard to focus exclusively on the health and wellness of the people in buildings. WELL is a performance-based system for measuring and certifying features of buildings that impact human health and well-being through seven concepts: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. It marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based medical and scientific research – harnessing buildings and communities as vehicles to support human health and well-being.

FutuREstorative Extract in GreenBiz The Case for ReConstructing the world of Sustainable Building Standards

Posted in comment, sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Circular By Design

IMG_1100

Circular Economy: the Bright Building at Bradford University

Furthering the discussion on circular economy here on the fairsnape blog, the recent publication Circular by Design, Products in the circular economy from the European Environment Agency, makes a valuable contribution and a worthwhile read.Of particular note for the built environment:

  1. policy questions posed, related to the circular economy from a materials perspective on eco design, design for disassembly and production.

Circualr by Design - Table 2

and suggested policy measures for the building sector to advance a circular economy.

Circualr by Design - Table for buildings.jpg

The Circular Economy will have a profound impact on building design, resources and waste management. The Circular Economy has been valued at a potential £29billion and estimated to create over 100,00 new jobs, and as defined by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is both restorative in nature and design seeking to maintain products, components and materials at their highest value at all times – avoiding down-cycling, conversion to energy or disposal to landfill.  MB

Posted in circular economy, comment | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blockchain: Explainer and Grenfell relevance.

In relation to transparency and responsibility in the material supply chain we have covered material passport on a few occasions on this blog and in event workshops, (Cradle to Cradle, LBC Declare etc)

 

censorship-free-social-network-akasha-aims-to-tackle-internet-censorship-with-blockchain-technology-950x528

 

Emerging Blockchain technology, the technology of trust is redefining the way we transact. Combining the internet’s openness with cryptography security,  Blockchain can give everyone a faster, safer way to verify supply chain transactions, verify key information and (re)establish trust. 

pw tweet grenfell

Being able to verify everything we specify, procure and install on building projects will go a big way to removing the uncertainty highlighted in the Grenfell Tower materials issue.

 

Blockchain can provide that certainty.

Blockchain is designed to store information in a way that makes it virtually impossible to add, remove or change data without being detected by other users.

 

But what is Blockchain?

This Blockchain explainer from Goldman Sachs is one of the best introductions (despite its clunky format!)

blockchain

Image: http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/blockchain/

Posted in comment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Circular Economy: the Practitioner’s Guide

WBCSD-releases-Practitioner-Guide-to-the-Circular-Economy_i1140

At the 2017 US Circular Economy Summit, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) officially launched its Practitioner Guide to the Circular Economy after a three-week beta testing period.

This follows the launch of WBCSD’s CEO Guide to the Circular Economy at the World Circular Economy Forum in Helsinki. The Practitioner Guide, a great wealth of circular economy resources, was created specifically for sustainability professionals in design, procurement, marketing, waste management and financing.

The Practitioner Guide offers insight into over 70 strategies, 40 examples, 90 resources and numerous tools that companies can use to implement the circular economy. It’s a living catalogue that will be continuously updated to include the newest examples, strategies and tools in the circular economy space.

Users can explore the Guide to learn what circularity is, how it impacts business and what companies can do to move away from the linear “take, make, dispose” model.

The Guide is an open, freely available tool. Companies with compelling case studies and/or effective tools are encouraged to submit their content to the Guide. The idea is to make circular economy information easy-to-understand and widely accessible for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Source

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) 

Related Fairsnape iSite Circular Economy Posts:

New standard and guide for the circular economy: BS 8001:2017

PreCycling: A gateway to the Construction Circular Economy

Ready for a Circular Economy?

 

Posted in circular economy, comment | 1 Comment

Grenfell Tower and the precautionary principle.

Many have written, blogged and commented on the avoidable tragedy at Grenfell Tower. I have been in two minds whether to add my voice, but then as a colleague pointed out, I have been blogging on themes pertinent to the tragedy since 2007. Theses themes (on risk, collaborative working, health sustainability, standards, strategies,  and construction improvement) have featured in this and other blogs, in numerous articles across many journals and of course brought together within the recently published FutuREstorative.

No doubt, in boardrooms across the world of built environment organisations, questions are being asked: have we designed, specified or installed similar materials and systems in similar situations. Do we really know? Do we know the materials, chemicals and the impacts of insulation we have installed? Where are the inspection and audit results, where are the material test certificates and evidence of compliance with specifications.

We do not know the exact cause and failures at Grenfell, but what has become clear is that this a systematic failure, a cocktail of failures and certainly not just a single cause.

faq_cce1

Back in my biz improvement / safety advisory role in the 90’s, we used the swiss cheese model for a systematic thinking approach to risk. In the swiss cheese model each slice of cheese is seen as a system activity or aspect layer, holes in individual layer may be problematic but other layers act as a defence to prevent more significant failure.

But when too many holes line up we see a catastrophic system collapse event.  As sadly we have seen at Grenfell Tower.

 

London fire: Screaming people trapped as blaze engulfs 27-storey Grenfell Tower in Notting Hill

Grenfell Tower will undoubtedly have a profound and highly significant impact on design, construction and building management worldwide, but we do not need to wait for an inquiry when we know the problems, the holes in the myriad of swiss cheese layers, and we know what needs to be fixed.

BUILT ENVIRONMENT HOLES IN THE SWISS CHEESE

deregulation and desire to have a legislation bonfire
slow response by government to head lessons learnt
lobbyist pressure to affect change
a fashion for ignoring experts
partial privatisation of the building inspection regime
fragmented supply chain
inappropriate materials or systems
lack of system thinking
a lowest cost mentality that still persists
passive fire strategies
material testing in isolation, not as a system
lack of transparency and impact knowledge of materials we specific, approve, install
ignorance of precautionary principle thinking
lack of collaborative working
failure to question – the “we can only do what the client, architect, contractor specifies’ culture
lack of understanding of building technology (cf uncompleted fire stopping)
inspections (see the Edinburgh Schools Report)
and so many more …

Grenfell should be seen as a warning for the deregulation many would like to see following Brexit. The great repeal bill is set to repeal many of the health and environment EU regulations (those that that ‘hamper uk business’ but will prevent other Grenfells).

Amongst the many causes, it has been suggested the fire may well have started from a faulty appliance. How sadly ironic that it was the perceived EU over-regulations on safe & efficient kettles and vacuums that became a cause-celeb in last years Brexit referendum. (Who are the EU to tell us how safe our kettles and vacuum cleaners should be ….?) See George Monbiot Too often safety has been sacrificed to an agenda of deregulation backed by lobbyists 

6442Moving in from the green fringe of the built environment sector, we have robust standards emerging containing material schedules built on the precautionary principle. (Here we can list the Living Building Challenge, WELL standards along with the Red List, Pharos, Declare and other lists.) Organisations and clients have their own schedules, for example Google’s Portico, British Lands Material Schedule. If such standards and red lists were adopted by the public sector, embedded into building regulations, then the cladding insulation at Grenfell would in all probability not have been permitted.

‘The precautionary principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk’

The precautionary principle states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public, or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus (that the action or policy is not harmful), the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking that action. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. These protections can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result. (Wiki)

Lloyd Alter blogging in Treehugger illustrates the impact of the material used in Grenfell. What is sad is that this, to most, has come as a surprise.

What appears to have happened is that the Reynobond’s polyethylene core caught fire and the stack effect in the two-inch gap made it spread almost instantly. Apparently it got hot enough that the supposedly flame-retardant polyiso charred as well, putting out tons of smoke, possibly contributing cyanide and other toxic gases. The vinyl framed windows also melted, letting the toxic fumes into the suites very quickly.

As may be expected from media such as the Daily Mail, the green, carbon reduction, climate change agenda has emerged as a blame. Alice Bell writing in the Guardian(Don’t blame green targets for Grenfell) soundly kicks this into touch

But we do have a problem with many seeing building sustainability as simply being energy & thermal performance. The key message of FutuREstorative was to address the necessary shift in sustainability thinking, away from a blinkered focus on energy to one that embraces human and planetary health within a socially just and ecologically sound sustainability.  And … perhaps we should not use the word sustainability until we do.

Today, it is difficult to attend sustainability events where health and wellbeing is not a key theme and message, it is sad that this message is not percolating down through the long tail of construction where lowest cost is still prevalent. Lowest cost even at the high price of social and human life. (A mineral based insulation with a Fire Rating would have cost £2 m2 more than the polyurethane based, more flammable insulation used on Grenfell. It will be interesting to see any records of the value engineering exercise to arrive at this material choice, if indeed there was a recorded VE, and how the decision met the Social Value Act.

Update 30 June BBC Reporting evidence of VE (or cost engineering)

_96745579_document

Time then for all in the built environment sector, the government, lobbyist, clients, designers, contractors and building operators to adopt precautionary principle thinking, particularly when human health hazards have been flagged by coroners reports, data, research and lessons learnt .

This can be voluntarily done now, today.  To wait years for outcomes from an inquiry and the regulation changes that will surely follow, changes that will tell us what we already know, is simply irresponsible.

Posted in comment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

New standard and guide for the circular economy: BS 8001:2017

Following consultant the BSI has launched a new standard for the circular economy, BS 8001:2017: Framework for implementing the principles of the circular economy in organisations, the world’s first for implementing circular economy principles.

circular economy image

I have covered the circular economy within the built environment over recent years, eg within blog posts here, through numerous presentations and workshops and of course within FutuREstorative. It is good therefore to see that BS8001 standard for circular economy guidance is now available.

The new standard is designed to be applicable to businesses of all sizes as they seek to move to a more circular model.

BSI 8001 aims to aid the navigation of the tricky transition period for businesses towards a circular model, outlining what the circular economy is and providing guidelines for the implementation of more sustainable practices.

BS 8001 is built on six principles of the circular economy – innovation, stewardship, collaboration, value optimisations, transparency and ‘systems thinking’ – with the concept that components, products and materials should be kept at their highest utility and value at all times, placing emphasis on the importance of an economy that is restorative and regenerative.

Guidance included in the standard revolves around specific issues that may hamper the transition to the circular economy, such as measurements, liability and insurance, logistical concerns and materials, and also guides on associated business models such as leasing, the sharing economy, and remanufacturing.

The principles and guidelines within the standard are not meant to be prescriptive, but are intended to be used flexibly by businesses and organisations, no matter their size or stage of transition to the circular economy, to reduce costs and supply chain risks while contributing to a low-carbon and resource efficient economy

A free download short executive briefing document has also been produced which is aimed at senior level decision makers.

Related:

Posted in built environment, comment, sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment