Showing posts from 2013

Urban planting and adapting the future through learning from the past.

In recent weeks I met with RIBA on behalf of CIBSE and this has opened up the pathway to working together on strategic issues for the built environment. In my discussions with new RIBA president Stephen Hodder, important areas for development were identified as collaboration, sustainability and the cities challenge. In this blog I challenge how we put this into action. A few weeks ago I was walking with my wife in my beloved home city of London. We were on our way to a marvellous Rumford Club evening function at the House of Lords and as I passed through Parliament Square I was reminded of the awesome sustainability of the fabulous historic buildings. This led me to ponder the fact that the surrounding spectacular buildings have been there for hundreds of years and will be for hundreds more, won't they? The very same thought came to mind as I read the latest copy of National Geographic where I see, in graphic detail, the maps of the world demonstrating the change in coast line

Whole Life Thinking - David Arnold responds

President George Adams wonders whether lawmakers are doing their bit in responding to and mitigating the consequences of climate change. He points out the law, both national and international gives permission to governments, organisations and investors to take from the earth's resources but does not have a provision to create a balance that prevents the potential worst effects of climate change. This led me to think of the part building services engineers can play; we aren't lawmakers but how we can best contribute to achieving this balance and how we should best try to influence legislation? Clearly building services engineers play an important part contributing to achieving this balance by designing services installations that minimise energy use. However we usually think of minimising emissions as simply improving the operational efficiency with the ultimate goal of “Zero Energy Buildings”, i.e. zero net energy consumption and zero carbon emissions annually. The zero net e

Whole Life Thinking – Kayley Lockhead responds

The way in which the global population consumes energy is not sustainable, both in terms of quantity and efficiency. However, it must be considered that future population growth and consequently energy demand will come largely from developing nations. These developing nations will suffer the most from the climate change caused mainly by developed countries, which have previously taken full advantage of excessive and unrestrained consumption of fossil fuels. Perhaps, rather than imposing an international law, which may hinder the already unstable economic development of least developed countries, it could be proposed that improvement of the CDM mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol and guidance on country specific regional subsidiaries in relation to renewable energy and sustainable government frameworks could enhance the carbon reduction strategies in time to meet the growing energy demand of these developing nations. However, providing better access to renewable energy is not the

Whole Life Thinking

Firstly I would like to thank our guest bloggers for July, Susie Diamond, Ant Wilson and the team at the University of Sheffield who contributed to the Energy Engineering Conscience topic. Some really interesting thoughts and experiences were shared that helped stimulate a great deal of discussion on the CIBSE LinkedIn group and on Twitter . Thank you also to the CIBSE staff who assist in managing the blog and supporting activities. Continuing my theme on cities, the next thought is about international Law and whether its doing its part in this increasing world of climate change; which is resulting in serious risks to our cities, organisations and people throughout this precious earth on which we totally depend upon. The law both national and international, gives permission to governments, organisations and investors to take as much from the earth's resources on which all life depends as they want, with little or no relation to the impact on the climate. The same legal system

Energy Engineering Conscience – University of Sheffield responds

At the University of Sheffield we are exploiting the opportunity to reconnect people to their resource use . Climate change science is slowly being increasingly accepted, but it has to be used in the right way. Rewards and incentives get our staff and students into good habits, not scare tactics. It means we can develop staff and graduates who understand and are prepared for the future’s challenges. In the process, we get them more involved in our University’s work, taking students out of the “student bubble” and showing everyone their potential impact. The following three case studies of behaviour change campaigns, all focused on switching off, taught us valuable lessons: The Arts Tower Blackout proved the potential impact of behaviour change. The iconic Arts Tower, visible for miles, was refurbished only 2 years ago with new energy efficient technology. We, with 26 staff and student volunteers, recorded which office equipment was unnecessarily left on one weekend and switched it

Energy Engineering Conscience – Ant Wilson responds...

I certainly believe in the value of positive debate and I am sure we all have a conscience that can drive us to create and enhance a better world. There is a saying that for evil to prosper all that is needed is for good people to say nothing and it must be time for us to start speaking up. The rate of change in the world is accelerating and so are the harmful greenhouse gases we emit and the global carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. We have seen the 400ppm level exceeded in measurement in both Hawaii and the Arctic in the last year. With these levels of greenhouse gases, it is no surprise that we experience greater extremes of climate change. George Adams stated in his president’s blog that climate change is occurring even more quickly than predicted and that we must respond accordingly. One way is to learn how to do “More with Less”, I am currently working on a project for WRAP and CIBSE on resource efficient building services . It is no good saying we want or need

Energy Engineering Conscience – Susie Diamond responds...

CIBSE President George Adams opened up his blog with a debate around the opportunities presented by climate change challenges and whether we could grasp them through behavioural change (see post below - Fri 28 June).   This week, guest blogger Susie Diamond gives her response to the  Energy Engineering Conscience debate… The first challenge here is grasping the implications of climate change – I'm just going to focus on the UK here. We are confident that the climate is changing, but how? UK climate seems likely to become more volatile, with greater temperature peaks and troughs, higher floods, and longer droughts, but as my 5-year-old asked on the way to school one day: “The people on the weather: do they really know or are they just guessing?” I had to try and explain about educated guesses. Adapting to the unknown is implicitly tricky. Our first tactic must be mitigation to lessen the damage – closing the embarrassing performance gap between what we as a construction indus

Energy Engineering Conscience

I have taken on the office of CIBSE Presidency for 2013-14 with eyes wide open to the opportunities, challenges and changes ahead for our institution. I accepted the Jewel of Office with pride on behalf of our industry, which I have tirelessly worked for now for over 35 years. During my year in office I will be continuing the President’s blog and I’d like to thank immediate Past President David Fisk for giving us such an entertaining year of posts.  Since taking over the helm I’ve already had the pleasure of numerous events, awards, presentations and meetings. Not being a practised blogger I had no doubt on how to approach the blog; ask my daughters what to do. Suitably embarrassed I concluded that I want to open up debate on some of the key issues that affect us and our industry, and their importance to human well being. So, over the coming months I’ll be introducing these themes and invite you to give your take on the month’s topic. Each week a guest blogger will have the o

All’s Well That Ends Well (or not)…

A month in which your President does a few quick trips abroad, putting Europe and the Mayor of New York to rights and sadly prepares to hand over the Blog …. Presidential April started with not much of a Spring but a trip to touch base with REHVA . Donald Leper and Derek Braham have done CIBSE and REHVA great service over the years. Their terms are coming to an end and it was time to make fresh contact with REHVA. REHVA has a very different constitution to CIBSE, but then everything is more complicated in a large European Union. Over lunch with the outgoing REHVA President and the Chief Executive we strove to put Europe to rights.  The rest of the brasserie had emptied long before we even got to the Euro or anywhere near defining Near Zero. April ended with a speaking slot in New York at the New York Times Conference on Building Sustainable Cities . It was a surprise format - if very NYT. Each session was run without PowerPoint, as a kind of Jeremy Paxman Newsnight panel, l

Putting the Bourgeoise back into ciBse?…

A month in which your President gets some sad news and the UK gas supply nearly ran out... According to the UK Press, an Energy Minister this month complained that environmental critics were bourgeoise and ‘a bit detached’. He probably never said that -  the Prime Minister didn’t actually say ‘Hug a Hoody’ [much to the relief of the lads on site], and someone else never said ‘Pleb’. But if the Minister had, wouldn’t that in any case have been the sobriquet  the Opposition would have naturally applied to his party? May be it was intended to be a compliment after all. The Minister has since been promoted without portfolio to the Cabinet Office, so I rest my case. But ‘bourgeoisie and proud of it’ was in my mind visiting this year’s Ecobuild at Excel. The Eco-build exhibition is a welcome upbeat relief from serried ranks of shining heating exchanges I had seen at Dallas in January. The stands were all rather nice and sun-lit. CIBSE had a really smart stand (not the least chintz-y) and co

Trust me, I’m an engineer…?

A month in which your President played roulette in more ways than one and struck the bargain of the year with the Government. Justin Bieber lined up for next year’s Building Performance Awards ceremony (tbc) so book early to avoid disappointment. Apparently my list last month of uplifting aphorisms from the ASHRAE Winter Meeting were so valued there is a demand for more. What about President Obama in last month’s Inaugural: “ For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, [he’s quoting the Constitution ] they've never been self-executing .” …which brings me to being a panellist at the Edge Debate about ethics and a new professionalism at the Building Centre. Edge is a neat forum hosted by the professional institutions that dares to ask inconvenient questions. Last time I was up on the platform, at a debate on climate at 1 George Street, I think I overdid that question bit. I had been preceded by someone protesting that it was five minutes to midni

Lone Ranger…?

Why wasn’t your President in Davos as an Award Winning Global Thought Leader you must be asking yourself?   I was of course, instead in Dallas, at the ASHRAE Winter Conference . Where else? If Davos was as smart as it claims it would form a Swiss ASHRAE Chapter and cut the clash. I returned packed with new wisdom and quips, care of the opening session’s dynamic guest speaker Superbowler Rocky Bleier . Let’s start with: ‘The Steelers’ were a tough team from a tough city. You played them and you got beat real bad. The only problem was that they didn’t ever win. They never had a plan’ Isn’t the trip from the airport to an unfamiliar city something that frames your view for days? Empty dual carriageways and regimented palms and you would be heading towards a despot’s palace. Mass illegal housing and you are heading towards to ‘rapidly developing country’.   Uxbridge from the Piccadilly line versus the Shanghai Maglev (when it is working) – say no more.   For Dallas you get int

Happy New Year and back to work!

The next blog will be from the ASHRAE DALLAS WINTER CONFERENCE , so get ready for 2GB of insights – meanwhile MY New Year’s Resolutions: 1.        Not to be A Grumpy President (N.B. lapses inMay ) 2.        Never to suggest that the C in DCLG stands for Conservatories 3.        Never to use Lower Heating Value when talking to architects with an iPad loaded with Biomass Boiler pdf’s 4.        Keep Black Tie Dinner Drinking to within 1 unit a day ( mental note: check whether a unit is just a bottle or could be a magnum once in a while) 5.        Remind the Mayor (e.g. next time we sit next to each other at the barbers) that London is supposed to be the capital city of something not just a global theme park…