Tag Archives: sustainable stars

Think maybe over but thinking goes on

It was disappointing to read Phils blog post yesterday that the Think sustainability conference and exhibition is to be discontinued by CMP, but the reasons given do make sense.

Having visited both Think 07 and Think 08, I would say that Think 07 made an important contribution to built environment sustainability, shaping agendas and providing a forum for discussion and innovation.  I am afraid I cannot say the same for Think 08.   Was it as Phil suggests the lack of ‘names’ (07 had Al Gore on video link for example), or was it the all too corporate feel of 08?  (see 08 thoughts from 08)

It should be noted the sterling job Phil did with Think, and it is a pity lessons cannot be learnt to have a Think 09. But whilst Think may be over the thinking goes on.

One of the topics this raises is the face to face event versus the virtual on line event. I have blogged many times on this, arguing for a mixture, and making real event material available online at the same time, either through closed streaming or through public streaming into second life. There is always the cost (and now carbon travel debate) of attending real events if you are not in the host city.

Paul (fellow Be2camp unorganiser) also comments on this at EvolutionExtranet noting from  Sustainability Now (also organised by Phil ), that pure online events are not the perfect alternative either. (see my comments on sustainability now)

So are large national exhibitions and conference days numbered?  Logic would say yes, maybe being replaced by smaller, regional and local events.  But then the Green Build and Eco City mega conferences in the USA tend to suggest otherwise as they attract tens of thousands to the event with many thousand others tuning in online. One noticeable aspect of these is the live blogging, podcasting the open approach to have a myriad of blogging media partners across the globe. This use of Web2, allows dialogue into and out of the events months before and months after the actual physical event, making them much more of a web presence than an event.  There is even the opportunity to twitter questions live into panel debates.

Looking ahead to upcoming sustainability events I am involved with actually gives comfort that we will / have avoided the issues Think may have fallen into.


The idea for an ‘event’ to explore web2 approaches within the built environment came from attending other barcamp and pecha kucha events. These have a unique buzz and vibrancy lacking at corporate feel events.

Be2Camp to be held on October 10th (London) is being organised on unconference or BarCamp principles, with a very open approach to determining the agenda, the attendees decide!  The organisers based in three continents communicate through twitter, skype and blogs, again very open, allowing anyone to contribute. Consequently it has the feel of being very much a peoples event, and grows in spirit and scope as more join the planning.  It is planned to stream happenings out from the event onto the web and possibly a parallel event within second life.

Constructing the Sustainable Way

The Elevate East Lancs sustainability conference scheduled for October organised through Creative Concern. This has been referred to as the eco build or green build of the north, but is much much more than that. Yes it will have names, but will also be the celebration of the local sustainable stars competition that  has been running for months. Care has been taken to ensure that the workshops are practical, learning and sharing sessions, there will be second life link ups and open mic pecha kucha question time evening events planned.  Again it is shaping up to be a peoples event.

(The website for this event is scheduled to go live today I am told – so watch this space)

do you know a sustainable star?

Is your project, are you, or do you know a sustainable star in Pennine Lancashire?

We are running a competition to discover the green heroes of the region and we are aiming to support every aspect of sustainability; from eco houses to schools, community project to construction.

If you know of, or are involved in a sustainable project in the Pennine Lancashire region then we want to hear from you. There are 13 categories to choose from across a broad range of themes, and entry is completely free. It doesn’t matter if your project is up and running or if it is still in the conception and development stages – we are interested in promoting the sustainable practices and awareness of sustainability across Pennine Lancashire towns, whatever level of completion.

Check out the sustainable stars website and nominate or enter.

The 13 categories range from major projects to community gardens:

Sustainable design / planning

a project that has used sustainable design methodology and planning in its inception, which demonstrates good design practice and has used the principles of the Elevate Design Handbook. This can include projects at design and concept stage, as well as completed projects. It also includes design related policy and guidance documents and best practice.

Community project

a project that has involved the local community in sustainability; through employment, environmental objectives, planning, etc.

Use of a natural material

a project that has included natural products like straw bale, lime render, cob, rammed earth, sheep wool, hemp and recycled paper insulation, etc.

Use of renewable / sustainable technology

a project that has used renewable technology or a sustainable form of energy in its development. This category can also include research and development.

Renovation project

a project that has used sustainable design in the renovation of a building, and / or it will be used to promote an environmental / sustainability programme.


a project that has used specific heritage skills or approaches to building conservation in its renovation, conversion or construction. This category also includes projects and proposals that celebrate the social heritage of places.

New Build

commercial or private dwellings built using sustainable methods of construction, adhering to the Code for Sustainable Homes criteria, BREEAM, Elevate KPI’s or equivalent. This can include any school / education new builds.


a project that has increased the biodiversity of an area, either generally or through a targeted species.

Waste recycling / resource efficiency

a business or project that promotes sustainable waste management and resource efficiency. This can include on-site waste management and stand alone recycling operations.

Sustainable skills

an example of sustainability used within a business; i.e. local employment quota, sustainable procurement, staff training and education, innovative techniques, etc.

New business start up

a business that has been trading no earlier than Jan 2007; that is encouraging sustainable methods of supply, production and employment; that promotes sustainability in any explicit manner.

College / school project

a project promoting sustainability in any form within a school or college environment, including construction skills, technology research and training, modelling, etc.

Private project (garden, eco renovation)

any project undertaken by a member of the public that has sustainability principles. This can include insulating a house, putting a green roof on a garden shed, creating a wildlife garden, building a eco-house, etc.

best practice procurement and support

The Lancashire BPC event last Thursday saw a good number of organisations exhibiting and discussing procurement and support issues with around 70 delegates.  The objective of the day was to allow organisations in the Lancashire area to showcase their procurement requirements and or areas of support, and for delegates to find out their customers requirements and talk to organisations who may be able to support them.

Throughout the day there were a number of small seminars on related themes:

Clive Weston – College and Apprenticeship schemes available through ACCROS

Martin Brown – Bid To Win – ten top tips for improving bid submissions

David Parsons – BSRIA – an overview of the work of BSRIA

Andrew PlattenSustainable Stars competition as part of the Constructing the Future October conference

Chris Gold – Elevates Women into Work programme

My thoughts on the day:

  • a successful and well attended event with plenty of buzz and discussions. It was good to see small group discussions within the networking area.  The seminars were well attended with about 25 present at each. A formula for the club to repeat, taking on board the feedback from delegates and lessons learnt.
  • as expected the sustainability based seminars generated the most discussion.  David from BSRIA generated discussions on biomass boilers not being suitable for schools,  on air tightness and zero carbon homes. Once again it was evident sustainability issues are only just being to be understood by construction people, with the efforts required for zero carbon targets of 2016 for example not fully appreciated as yet.
  • on my ‘stand’ I talked about and gave out information relating to fairsnape services.  I was also pleased to be able to communicate information and goodies on footprintfriends. However the take up on a free one to one session to demonstrate how using web2.0 on the Internet can save time, through bringing news, planning and project leads freely to your computer, was extremely poorly taken up.  Maybe if I charge a corporate fee the take up would be better?

Slides from the seminars should be available soon on the club pages