Sustainability made Cool? Day one at #EXPOC21

Well, day one of the Virtual Green Build EXPO was fun – and a success.  From chats within the show, comments across twitter and elsewhere the comments from visitors have been very positive indeed.

BnmBaoYIAAEl1RDAnd importantly I sensed green build and sustainable construction had been made cool.

The EXPO hosted by Construction21 on the HyperFair platform has attracted just under 200 exhibitors from all corners of Europe and hopes to attract up to 20,000 visits to the show. Steve Borncamp, driving force behind the show commented  “it was exciting to see people interact in this new medium from so many countries & consBnltphoIEAAvTn2truction disciplines”

As soon as the doors opened at 7.30 this morning, visitors were taking snaps of their avatars and booths and sharing on twitter, claiming firsts and the virtual-selfie was born. (There is a photo comp with prizes being coordinated by our friends at Green Vision)

Observing the avatar arrivals to the EXPO,  there was a period where they customised appearance, read any notices and instruction notes and then zipped off into the Reception area, or vanished, teleporting to the stands or auditorium.

Visiting the stands was actually easier and more enjoyable than a real show, being able to chat and pick up brochures, watch videos and read posters with ease. I had numerous business card exchanges and agreements to get in touch after the show to discuss possible collaboration on Living Building Challenge, sustainability, green schools and social media, including a future discussion to be had on possible funding. I would have considered it a very good day at any real life show.

BnloKNQIMAIxn7oAside from the stands there was a brilliant programme of debates and expert videos running throughout the day. I watched a couple, impressed with the “Time for a sustainable buildings performance directive?” panel debate and learnt from  Coert Zachariasse CEO at Delta Developments who combined Cradle to Cradle with BIM and commented that “Buildings are just material banks” Brilliant Stuff!  WorldGBCEurope who coordinated the panel debate series observed We had some great debates as part of the first day. Speakers from industry, policy-makers and NGOs. Now looking forward to day two”

During the day I held a few in-show twitter chats which illustrated the enthusiasm of those attending This kind of event is definitely the future! Exhibitions are tiring & have not questioned their concept for ages” commented Philippa Rogers at InterfaceUK, adding ” I’ve immediately adopted this virtual concept as I have to admit I’m not a big fan of traditional exhibitions”

And that experience was shared by others as Elrond Burrell explains Attending the virtual expo was a novel experience. I visited virtual stands, browsed exhibitors brochures & exchanged virtual business cards & chatted with other attendees via the web interface. It’s a bit clunky to navigate but also kind of fun. I quickly resorted to teleporting rather than virtually walking around though! I think it is an interesting step to have a virtual expo but is still aiming to be a virtual representation of a real expo, rather than completely embracing web tech and rethinking what an expo actually is, if it takes place virtually”

And the show has a nice innovative sustainability touch beyond the virtual – Steve Borncamp again we want our virtual event to have a physical legacy in the form of a building project that will offset the c02 of this event and inspire a much higher level of ambition for our buildings and communities in Europe and for the world” (exhibitors have been able to offset the carbons they would have emitted in travelling to real shows).

Day Two opens at 7:30am UK time with sign up and log in here. And who knows, could  a post event virtual tweet up be on the cards?

 

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Introducing the Living Building Challenge in the UK

It was a real treat to introduce the public lecture from Amanda Sturgeon as part of the UK Living Building Collaborative launch at the Interface showroom in London last night.


Here are my introduction notes …

Good evening and a warm welcome to Living Building Challenge UK

Firstly a huge thank you to Interface, Kelly Grainger for hosting this evening and Claire Bowles at Green Vision for making it happen, and of  course Amanda Sturgeon from Living Building.

I and a few others have waited a long time for this …

As you may have read in Hattie Hartmans AJ article, our awareness with Living Building started via twitter and through twitter dialogues during the Living Futures conference in Portland in 2011

Later that same year I was privileged to have a guided tour of the CIRS building in Vancouver, during the week before completion (The CIRS building is one of the few buildings scheduled for LBC certification) Since then we have received Living Building related remote presentations live into Green Vision and Be2camp events.

Over the last few months we, that’s myself and Claire at Green Vision, have held regular Skype chats with Amanda and others at LBC, to set up this UK Collaborative and this event, so it’s a real pleasure to welcome Amanda along this evening

But before introducing Amanda a word about the Living Building UK Collaborative. We are part of the Green Vision / Leeds Sustainability Institute with two main aims:

One of advocacy to increase awareness and understanding of the Living Building Challenge

Secondly to provide support to clients for living building design, construction and certification in line with the challenging Living Building principles.

If you want to know more about the collaborative, would like to get involved or indeed would like support on possible future Living Building projects here in the UK please do get in touch.

We cannot let this evening pass without mentioning Mel Starrs, and her advocacy for deep green thinking. Mel, in her last blog piece (an article which you must read) welcomed the idea of LBC in the UK as a standard worthy of the green credentials of leading clients.

Mel’s blog was read by Su Butcher.

I am sure you will agree – launching the LBC here in the UK is in fitting honour for Mels passion for sustainability, green building and challenging standards.

Amanda – Vice President Living Building Challenge

Amanda is an award winning architect recognised as a pioneering leader in the green building movement in the US northwest, a founding member of the Cascadia Green Building Council and is a visiting professor at the University of Washington

Amanda was awarded with better bricks Architect Award in 2008 and recently gained Fellowship of the AIA, the American Insitute of Architects

Amanda, welcome to London and the UK Collaborative

The event was well tweeted, to catch up on comments and pictures view the #lbcuk and #uklbc hashtags (don’t ask) and follow @UK_LBC.

Record of the evening now on Storify

There will be a Slideshare record very soon

Image Building Pieces

3 R’s for rethinking built environment sustainability

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Its over ten years since rethinking construction became the driving force for improving the construction industry. Back then, in 1998, sustainability wasn’t on the agenda for many construction organisations, and didnt feature in Egans influential report.

Now at the close of 2012, it is of course one of the key challenges for construction.

But is it now just a ‘must do, tick box’ matter, rather than a real agenda for improving, reducing costs and reducing our impact?

Earth2.0 Hub in an excellent blog post ( The Future of Business – inspired by and in harmony with nature.) provides a framework and the language of 3 R’s for future businesses working in harmony with the earth .  And its a framework we should learn from, borrow, adopt or adapt  at project and business level in rethinking built environment sustainability; Re-Design, Re-Connect and Re-Kindle.

Re-Design. Not only design of buildings, but to re-design the way we build. No longer are transactional efforts (reducing waste, conserving energy and recycling) enough.

How?: Take a look at Cradle to Cradle thinking, Circular Economy, Designing out toxic materialsDesigning out Landfill

Re-Connect. Time to rethink our relationship with nature. However just including nature as a natural capital to be costed is not meaningful approach. We need a relationship that is deeper, that is deep green thinking.

How?: take a look at Living Building Challenge – what if every building, like a flower, contributed to its environment. Or the One Planet Living ten principles

Re-Kindle. Time to rekindle the sustainability debate – moving away from the negative, harassment to doing less bad, to encouraging a move towards a positive new world of doing more good,  better. Resilience.

How?: Learning and benchmarking from other industries and sectors, for example Patagonia, or closer to the built environment, Interface Flooring

This blog, since 2005, has had as a tagline built environment improvement and its connectivity to the natural world . Since then, it has been a core philosophy within fairsnape.

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Since 2005 we have organised and facilitated benchmarkwalks, discussing sustainability issues , across and within sectors, whilst walking in the natural environment. Rather than in the conference of training room. You would be amazed how diffierent, how green, sustainability discussions when conducted in the great outdoors. Try it !

Cradle to Cradle, Circular Economy, Healthy Products Standard, Designing Out Landfill , Interface UK, and the UK Living Building Challenge all featured in our #GVis2012. Green Vision Conference in Leeds on the 12 Dec 2012.

>>> See Green Vision event material, links, blogs and more here  <<<<

<<< Read the Cradle to Cradle tweetchat transcript here <<<

The Living Building Challenge UK Collaborative will be ‘launched’ at this event on the 12th.

And, Cradle to Cradle is the book-topic for our Dec #GVisChat tweetchat on Dec 10th at 8pm.

Five questions to drive sustainable construction

Whilst being a great advocate for learning from others, sharing and benchmarking best practice, often it is essential to ask questions of our approaches to topics such as sustainable construction, before comparing.

In this mornings twitter fed reading stream was an article describing the five questions that Interface ask of themselves.  Interface are world leaders in design, production and sales of environmentally responsible modular carpets “Design is a mindset and sustainability is the journey of a lifetime”

Now whilst Interface’s responses in the article are inspiring, it struck me these are the questions we should all be asking of ourselves. Asking across the built environment, in design and specification, in product manufacture, in construction procurement and supply chains. Asking within project sustainability meetings, within company sustainability development and review sessions, at board level and even in ISO14001 audits.

Asking until we have answers and approaches we can live with.

1. How can we increase use of recycled and bio-based materials? 

2. How can we prevent our materials from ending up in landfill?

3. How can we reduce carbon and GHG emissions and at the same time increase our use of renewable energies?

4. How can we reduce water consumption?

5. How can our clients and customers make decisions about materials based upon trustworthy environmental facts? 

Once you have answers to these questions, you will want to take a look at Five Questions Businesses Must Answer to Advance Toward Sustainability According to Interface, Inc.

Join the discussion on these questions, share your responses and learn from others through twitter with @fairsnape and others, through leaving comments below or getting in touch.