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Showing posts from 2016

Building the future

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In this month's President's blog in the run-up to Tomorrow's Engineers Week, John Field takes a look at an unusual new engineering competition for young people - and explores what it means for the teaching of engineering, and the future of talent in the industry

At the Joint CIBSE-ASHRAE seminar this month we had the pleasure of listening to a presentation by ASHRAE President Prof Tim Wentz, who introduced us to an engineering course at the University of Wisconsin by saying “"A hands-on approach is how students learn, and is almost always the most effective way of teaching". This, I think, touches on a very important issue with the way we introduce young people to Engineering.
As a profession we’re competing for talent with other high-profile careers ranging from medicine to banking and finance, who do a very good job of demonstrating the virtues of their fields. Engineering, meanwhile, has something of an image problem and is seen as decidedly dull in comparison…

What's not to like?

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Do you like your office? When I say ‘like’ I don’t mean appreciate or ‘enjoy’, I mean do you Like it with a big, blue Facebook thumb? Such questions have got a bad rap in recent years. The ‘Like’ is seen as the ultimate superficial gesture, the epitome of ‘slacktivism’ and a meaningless affirmative in place of actual thought or expression. But, in the right hands, a Like could make an awful lot of difference, and could even change the world.

A Like is really just a data point, and it doesn’t mean an awful lot when you’re talking about a friend’s holiday photos, but applied to buildings ratings can make a lot of difference both in the short and long term. The world’s biggest companies boast of their Likes online and jostle for your attention because it shows their product is good and authentic.

This model has a lot of potential with buildings: We’ve been used to measuring the energy efficiency of buildings for years, but the problem is engagement. Landlords are often reluctant to prom…

The long haul

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We have had a little time to reflect in the month since the Brexit vote but regardless of the result, we still have a lot of work to do to meet the UK’s ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions. The referendum outcome had barely even sunk in when, on 30th June, the government committed to the emissions reductions recommended by the Committee on Climate Change to reduce the UK’s carbon output by 57% relative to 1990 levels by 2030. In the light of this, it is even more important than ever that CIBSE and its members work collaboratively as we address the consequences of the vote to leave. It is reassuring to see that the engineering sector reacted swiftly to the vote and the Royal Academy of Engineering has already established a group to look at the potential consequences for the sector, especially in the UK.
My colleague at CIBSE Hywel Davies has written a detailed and informative summary of exactly where we currently sit from a legislative perspective after the vote which makes f…

Doing the right thing

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Last month, it was almost exactly a year since The Edge published their ‘Collaboration for Change’ report; something that CIBSE has been heavily involved in under my predecessor Nick Mead, Vice-President Paddy Conaghan and now myself. The report, written by Paul Morrell, was an insightful look at the areas of Ethics, Research, Education, the Performance Gap, Industry reform and Climate Change – and how collaboration between professional bodies can advance the whole industry in these areas.

For me, the report was particularly eye-opening in the way it discussed the effect that the industry could have on Government policy and the wider community if only we can maximise the potential of working together. He should know: He’s the former Government Chief Construction Advisor, and what he had to say in the report was a big influence on my own theme for my Presidency – raising the voice of Engineering in society.

The ‘performance gap’ side of the report was thrown into focus last month by so…

A new perspective

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In the first of his monthly blogs, CIBSE President John Fieldwill introduce the primary theme of his Presidency. John will write a blog every month on a variety of topics; encompassing news, views and opinion, that will lend an insight into life at the top of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers.

Last week I was given the tremendous honour of being inducted as President of CIBSE by past-President Nick Mead, whose thoughts you have been reading on this blog for the past year. Those who were in the audience at our AGM at the Royal Society will have heard me use my inaugural speech to draw attention to a few issues that are of importance to me, and will be addressed during my term in office (and if you didn’t, a video of it is above!).

In my first blog, I would like to draw further attention one particular issue in action, and what I plan to do to address it.

You’ll likely be familiar with the ongoing discussion over what is to be done about the Palace of Westminster,…

New year, new start

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Firstly a Happy New Year to you all and trust you had a good Christmas.
Well it’s all been very busy couple of months! With a bit of a lull over the Christmas period, I’ve finally been able to collect my thoughts into the blog. The 3rd and 4th of November saw the CIBSE Building Performance Conference and Exhibition at the QE2 centre in London, and extra special for me to be attending as President.
This year’s Conference was again an unqualified success, with 48% more attendees, double the number of exhibitors and a bigger splash on social media than last year. This was unsurprising given the quality of the presentations and debates that we saw during the two days, including some cutting edge knowledge on security and unique collaboration with disciplines outside engineering on comfort and energy efficiency.
Next was the SoPHE dinner in Kensington on the Thursday which was as always a great night, and quickly followed by the SoPHE Awards, which demonstrated inspiring practical uses o…