#GVis Sustainable Materials : Whole life thinking 

The core Green Vision team gathered at Squires Sanders at 2 Park Lane in Leeds yesterday evening for another engaging Green Vision event. An excellent panel of speakers covering the drivers for sustainable material selection, importance of material selection in driving down Carbon and advocating the use of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and treating Buildings as Ecosystems . Paul Toyne presented a compelling case for Sustainable Procurement policies and evidence based sustainability assessment whilst admitting that our current financial models do not support LCA. Louis gave us a glimmer of hope about Whole Life thinking advocating the use of LCA with a triple bottom line approach. Gary then made the compelling case for Buildings to be addressed as Ecosystems highlighting exemplar case studies from across the world.

Paul Toyne of WSP UK shared with us his desire for the UK construction Sector to embrace Whole life thinking but hinted that whilst there much talking of LCA he has found that there can be a lack of consistency , baseline data and product data to enable the sector to take advantage of this methodology. Paul , clearly passionate about the issue of resource use and natural resource management advocates a move toward the circular economy which we are starting to see in Denmark and Holland involving organisations within the wider system coming together to rethink the way they operate.

It was a pleasure to attend the Green Vision event where people with different backgrounds and experiences share knowledge and exchange viewpoints on how to make progress on sustainability . My hope is that attendees will be more aware of and will help promote lifecycle thinking to help support future decision making (Louis Brimacombe , TATAsteel )

Louis Brimacombe of TATASteel shone some light into the room with his detailed account of LCA of Steel in particular highlighting the recent British Standard BS 8905 Sustainable use of materials helping companies perform a full sustainability assessment on their potential material choices. He highlighted some interesting figures on end of life scenarios of product types with Timber coming out at the worst with over 50% ending in landfill

Gary, author of recent book ‘Ecosystems Services Come to Town’ brought a softer tone to the evening with his thought provoking presentation of ecosystems services , cutting through the jargon to show the simplicity and ecological benefits of green walls and roofs . Gary’s enthusiasm is infectious and he successfully demystified the world of green roofs and effectively presented buildings as ecosystems , with inspiring images of living roofs from across the world ..

A lively Q and A followed covering a variety of issues such as Consistency in LCA approaches , barriers for change yet need for change in both procurement processes and financial models we currently work within .All relevant and topical to construction and future cities.

Slides from the presentations can be found here