Leeds Sustainability Institute

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Design for Building Performance: New Build and Retrofit

#gvis – Green Design and Preconstruction

A good array of construction professionals attended our GreenVision event on 8th October 2014.  This event focused on Design for Building Performance: New Build and Retrofit and 3 fantastic speakers had been secured to deliver presentations.

Mark Siddall (Principal at LEAP) started the evening by talking about how to avoid the seven major pitfalls that prevent buildings from performing properly.  Mark Warner (Sustainability Manager at Leeds Beckett University Estates) followed to talk about his experiences of integrating sustainability into building projects.  Finally we closed with a presentation from Dr James Parker (Research Fellow at Leeds Beckett University) who talked about modelling and measuring the performance of a workplace retrofit natural ventilation strategy.

Mark Siddall talked about the projects he has worked on and, as a trustee of the Association of Environment Conscious Building, encouraged delegates to join the organisation – see here.   He explained there is a huge performance gap in domestic buildings right across the whole construction industry.  A Passivhaus project that Mark designed and managed has been studied by Leeds Beckett University. It was found that these were the First Homes that the researchers had ever found to actually close this aspect of the performance gap. (He noted that even the Passivhaus Standard did not directly address all of the technical requirements that were needed in order to achieve this.) Mark also talked about problems arising from poorly conceived natural ventilation strategies.  Why are people closing triple vents in winter he wondered?  He suggested that it may be related to comfort and the desire to avoid drafts.  Mark also questioned whether Part F of the building regulations are appropriate for noise standards.  He cited a literature review that he had undertaken with acoustician Jack Harvie-Clark (Apex Acoustics). They studied results from over 1000 homes. Their analysis highlighted that the Part F recommended household noise levels (for mechanical ventilation) will mean that every other person in the property will be dissatisfied i.e. one in two people. Significant steps are needed to address this not only in legislation but in design and construction processes also.  Mark then used the RIBA Plan of Work to help describe how redesigning the design process can assist with more effective and more affordable delivery of building projects. He noted that it is important to get the process right at the start of a project.  Mark encouraged delegates to think about good practice performance standards including the Passivhaus Standard, EnerPHit Standard, AECB Silver Standard, and the AECB Carbonlite Retrofit Standard.  Mark finished his presentation by explaining he is happy to host meetings with people that are interested in building performance and Passivhaus and desire to know more about these subjects. Additional information can be found on the LEAP practice website here 

Mark Warner began by saying these types of events are excellent opportunities for sharing experiences (positive or negative) and getting like-minded people together.  Mark explained how we (Leeds Beckett University) want to be the educated client, informing the design team with actual data.  Mark described how it has taken 8 years to get sustainability into the University’s corporate strategic plan and it’s important now to prove that it works.  Mark talked in detail about problems with specifying recycled content into tenders. He explained we ask for investment appraisals not ‘value engineering’ or cost cutting when looking at energy efficiency.  The University has a responsibility to be the social conscience and critic of society (New Zealand Education Act) and using recycled products is very important in closing the loop.  The University achieves 90%+ recycled rates on construction projects.  Mark explained that some of the supply chain cannot provide information on recycled content of products.  Mark’s plea is that everybody starts asking for recycled content in tenders so if lots of major organisations do this they will have to start to listen.  Mark confirmed there are 2 Passivhaus townhouses on the Headingley campus.  Mark works very closely with the research school when working on tenders.  The Portland building is currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment to open up existing vents to naturally ventilate floors.  Mark explained it seems to be working well so far but further research is required by Dr James Parker (the next speaker) to validate our design and in use experience.  There are still another 7 floors to be refurbished and Mark agreed this echoes what Mark Siddall said previously about highlighting problems early on in a project.

James Parker began by praising Mark Sidall.  James talked about a case study on the University Calverley Building which has a 60s built concrete frame.  James explained it’s important to remember this building had been very well insulated.  Focus was on the top 3 floors to begin with.  James explained his department is keen to look at domestic buildings.  The study looks at what buildings are made of, internal heat gains and understanding what is inside.  Analysis was carried out on overheating and heat gain.  Occupancy levels are an important factor and extremes have to be considered such as maximum staff levels and all computers being switched on.  James talked about early design analysis and the impact of local shading and heat gain from the sun.  James joked that we should build really tall buildings in front of buildings that overheat!  James explained the study looks at overheating and different things that can be introduced such as blinds.  If you reduce heat gain then you also reduce electricity.  James described how an isolated study had taken place on room 1010 which is a busy office that is always occupied.  The study had looked at this office on one of the hottest weeks of the year.  James stated to be a more informed client you need to understand more.  It is really important to test, examine and monitor and to feedback to the design team.

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Q and A summary

Observations from the floor included:-

  • Concerns about the EPC on existing buildings. Is this still worth the paper it is written on?
  • EnerPHit standard uplift and not being comparable
  • Is the PH Quality Assurance the best standard?
  • How will the CIBSE comfort model affect things?
  • Has testing been done on fluid dyanmics?
  • You’ve transformed a building into a building that is performing better. It’s important to put your study into perspective.

Mark Warner agreed that the results of the study have been great and the information gleaned will be used in future design.  James agreed it is cheaper and easier to deal with issues at the start of a project.

Some slides from the presentation given by Mark Siddall can be found here.

LEAP_Focus Finder_CENE_Leeds [Compatibility Mode]

Our next Green Vision event will take place on 12th November 2014 and will focus on Workplace Productivity: The New Business Case for Sustainable Buildings.   To hear more about this event and to book your place see here

Author:  Donna Lee

Workplace Productivity: The New Business Case for Sustainable Buildings

Join us on 12th November 2014 from 17:30-19:30.

This twilight seminar will focus on discussion and knowledge sharing on the topic of workplace productivity and healthy buildings.  We have secured 3 fantastic speakers and this event promises to be very interesting and informative.

To read more about this event and to book your place see here

Building Design and Performance

Don’t miss out on networking and speaking to designers , contractors , engineers and clients  all interested in Building Performance and quality environmental design . We will be hearing three perspectives on Building Design and performance and how this can best be done …

 

So far down to attend are the following:

Leeds Beckett University Estates

Rance Booth Smith Architects

Fairhurst

William Birch and Sons

BAM construct

Mott Macdonald

Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Sustainability Institute

Martin Walsh

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Leeds Environmental Design Associates

University of Leeds

 

Don’t miss out Book here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is the future of UK Sustainability Standards Collaborative?

Following the conversations in the construction media, you may think that clients are forced to make a choice between BREEAM or Passiv Haus or One Planet Living, or that the youngster on the block, Living Building Challenge, is setting itself in competition with the established standards.

Sustainable design and construction professionals in the Green Vision debating area at Leeds Eco Fair on 22nd May 2014 heard that whilst all these approaches provide tools, guidance and certification, the future is collaborative, and that these standards can compliment each other.

Green Vision 2012, Green Building Drivers for 2012 presentation at Squire Sanders, Leeds

 

Chair John Alker (UKGBC) kicked off the panel debate with an audience poll, checking who has used the tools represented today, few hands were raised, and secondly who is here to learn more, most hands were raised.

John then invited the panel, Martin Brown UK (Fairsnape / Living Building Challenge UK Ambassador), Chris Herring (Passiv Haus Trust), Martin Townsend (BRE/BREEAM) and Sue Riddlestone (BioRegional / One Planet Living) to introduce the standards.

Sue Riddlestone reminded us of the concept of living within planetary boundaries, and how the One Planet Living scheme, based on 10 principles of sustainability, creates a common language for holistic living.

Martin Townsend reminded us that the popular BREEAM assessment method and rating system for building sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design.

Chris Herring described Passiv Haus as a leading approach to low energy buildings focusing solely on the need to get our buildings performing efficiently, and that there is really no point designing buildings that look great if they do not perform correctly and efficiently.

Martin Brown introduced the Living Building Challenge as a regenerative sustainability philosophy and advocacy tool, based on required practices, not just current best practice, to stir the pot with other green standards, as arguably they are not challenging enough to address the broader sustainability agenda.

Questions from the audience included zero carbon homes for 2016, and how to value sustainable buildings by more than just financial measures.

Martin Brown saw the industry as being too unresponsive on the 2016 issue, that even after 8 years to prepare for the target we are still awaiting Government lead rather stepping forward with industry solutions. But importantly taking a broader look at benefits of health is essential, looking at health and social issues which we need to value alongside energy costs.

Chris Herring saw Passiv Haus being driven by those with vision, initially by passionate individuals but now a mixture ranging from schools to offices.

Martin Townsend commented on the need to understand where the government is at the moment with the Housing Standards Review, and really examine how we get to the ambitious 2016 targets, and bring the consumer on board to say I want lower energy bills.

Sue Riddlestone stated if we are serious about being sustainable get zero carbon in the building regulations, train the sector and alert the consumer.

John Alker invited comments and questions from the audience:

“I see the Living Building Challenge as a way of being, but it has to be the client that decides, so let’s have things from a client’s perspective rather than to beat a particular standard”

“How does Passiv Haus advocate healthy building products”

“Competition is a good thing, but are we competing against each other? Is there a danger that the standards are starting to compete and the vision of sustainability is lost?”

“The whole process is key”

“Speaking from a contractors point of view we need to see it as a driver for change and not the extra cost”

John Alker challenged the panel members to address these great comments , adding that you are all working in the same space, so, if we wanted to use all the standards, could we, should you not be doing this together?

Martin Brown commented its not just about tools, standards or accreditations, but a mindset for real and wider sustainability, and that whilst LBC is stirring the pot, it both compliments and challenges the other standards to reach farther.

Martin Townsend saw competition between standards as healthy, giving the customer choice, but that we need a common way to measure the same things, have consistency in systems, noting that the pace of change is not as quick as it needs to be.

Chris Herring reinforced the focusing on building performance; focus on the Passiv Haus standard “all the rest, including healthy building products is just fluff”

Bringing realism to the discussion Sue Riddlestone said we have to take a whole lifestyles approach, for example we use as much energy driving a car as a house.

A point picked up by Martin Brown – that we focus too much on ‘the building’, forgetting the community, social equality, human and diversity issues central to sustainability, observing the unacceptable and unjust practices in Qatar were producing high performing building “Lets not loose sight of the purpose of sustainability here”.

John Alker challenged the panel on how would you persuade a client to use your tool and how do you get across a business case.

Chris Herring saw the most important sell was to get people to visit a Passiv Haus, see first hand, consult the website and speak to somebody who actually live in one of the houses.

Martin Brown said we are selling the future built environment – healthy buildings that contain no harmful materials, have fresh air, using only sunlight are energy efficient but importantly, foster creativity and are a joy to live or work in. Martin suggested reading the LBC standard over the long weekend (Version 3 is out today) there will be something in there that will challenge your thinking, make you say wow.

Martin Townsend would ask clients the question “do you want a happy, healthy workforce, happy staff with water and energy savings”.

John Alker observed the obvious in that the people on this panel are passionate about this suggesting as leaders they come together regularly to discuss common ground, in panels and around the table, exploring future collaboration.

Author – Claire Bowles

First of it’s kind, virtual Construction 21 Expo – 14th & 15th May

Happening on 14th & 15th May is the first virtual construction trade show, Construction 21 Expo, which will showcase the latest in sustainable products & technologies for the European market. Leading green investors, developers, bankers, building owners, project managers, architects, engineers, facilities managers, technology, materials, products, and service providers along with municipalities, expert organizations and other key stakeholders of green building projects will participate in this one of kind event.

Visit the C21 Expo website http://construction21expo.eu/event-info.html and sign up now to join in from the comfort of your desk

Construction 21 Photo competition – send us your images!

Green Vision are delighted to have been asked by Construction 21 #Expoc21 to coordinate a photo competition happening over the two days and we want your entries!

Share your images, photos and screen grabs from within the show. We are looking for two types of entries, the best of each category will win a prize.

Category 1) Best image that captures the brightest greenest aspect of the show

Category 2) Best image that captures the best Avatar side of the show

Share to instagram, facebook or twitter, but make sure you use the hashtags #EXPOC21 and #EXPOC21snapped on instagram & twitter so we can pick up your images. 

The competition closes at midnight on 15th May. The winners will be announced on Friday 16th May.

Great day for @lsigreenvison at #GBexpo14

 

Myself (@clairecke ) and Martin Brown (@fairsnape)  took to a few of the stages at GreenBuild Expo yesterday in Manchester presenting with partners on topics including Healthy Buildings and The Living Building Challenge. The audience was varied but on the most part we fended some good questions and connected with some new organisations wanting to know more about Living Buildings some seeing it as a real and exciting  new way of looking at buildings focusing on the end goal rather than box ticking.

We kickstarted the day with a bit of networking in the speakers rooms closely followed by our first session up on the Yellow stage

10:45 – 11:30, Yellow Seminar Room Introduction to the Living Building Challenge with Green Vision & Fairsnape

The principles behind the Living Building Challenge are starting to ‘stir the sustainability pot’ encouraging us to think differently how we approach sustainability in design, in construction and in green building certification.
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13:00 to 13:45, Blue Seminar Room Green Vision Health Buildings with Nigel Sagar, Skanska and Claire Bowles , Green Vision

This session was brilliant as Nigel Sagar took to the stage to present on their Green Palette , the presentation dovetailed excelelntly with the Health petal of the Living Buidling Challenge , with a strong determination as an oprganisation to exclude hazardous materials in their materials selection . Great to see a contractor taking sucha  strong stand and will be looking forward to working with Chris Hayes and Nigel moving forwards.

 

This session was moving away form the traditional themes of Green Building and starting to talk about Health benefits o occupants taking the audience through both the  Skanska Color PaletteTM and the Living Building Challenge certification scheme being launched in the UK.

Reference was made to the major global project which will help to define the health and productivity benefits of green office buildings is being formally launched in March 2014 by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC).

Alex Whitcroft brought his insight and hands on experience of Material selection on a living building challenge project in the US . His knowledge and hands on experience of dealing with suppliers and manufacturers offers brilliant insight into what can be achieved with a team who are determined to work towards a ‘living building’

13:30 to 15:30, Green Deal Foyer Sustainability & Social Media with Be2Camp & Greenvision

This BE2 session, excellently led by @fairsnape Martin Brown showcased a range  of web approaches that address and push built environment sustainability through a series of interactive BE2 talks  from  @fairsnape @annehydeparker@alexwhitcroft @clairecke @lsigreenvision @meme_cloud @thirlwallassoc @mking007 @davidburden @vinsumner

The day was filled with discussion and presentations around emerging themes for the Buildt environment touching on Twitter as a tool for project management , fully immersive environments , Data and Its use , The use of social media for Higher Education and last but not least some insights and practice of mindfulness from @annhydeparker which stopped and made us all think … for more of her great work check her out here

Thanks to all of the team Liz , Mitch and Donna for makling it a great day of presentations and networking for all .

Green Vision at Greenbuild 2014

Green Vision are pleased to announce that we have partnered with a number of great organisations to bring you three interesting, innovative & stimulating sessions at this year’s Greenbuild and we want to see you there!

 
10:45 – 11:30, Yellow Seminar Room
 
Introduction to the Living Building Challenge with Green Vision & Fairsnape
The principles behind the Living Building Challenge are starting to ‘stir the sustainability pot’ encouraging us to think differently how we approach sustainability in design, in construction and in green building certification. This session, led by Martin Brown and Claire Bowles from the Living Building Challenge Collaborative will provide an introduction to the Challenge.
 
13:00 to 13:45, Blue Seminar Room
 
Health Buildings with Green Vision & Nigel Sagar, Skanska
Green Vision will focus on Healthy Buildings and the benefits to occupants taking a look at Skanska Color PaletteTM and the Living Building Challenge certification scheme being launched in the UK and the impact of these on healthy materials selection.
 
13:30 to 15:30, Green Deal Foyer
 
Sustainability & Social Media with Be2Camp & Greenvision
This BE2 session, curated by co-founders Martin Brown and Paul Wilkinson, will showcase a number of web approaches that address and push built environment sustainability through a series of interactive BE2 talks (TEDx style presentations) from innovative organisations and individuals.
 

13.30 Welcome, Introduction and Be2Camp Sustainability Manifesto. Martin Brown, @fairsnape

13.40 Your brain as your best renewable building material. Anne Parker @annehydeparker

13.50 The sharing economy for businesses Alex Whitcroft, &Share @alexwhitcroft

5 Min Break

14.05 Sustainability Event sharing across social media, Claire Bowles, Green Vision @lsigreenvision

14:15 Construction Carbons Vassos Chrysostomou, ConstructCO2 @constructco2

14:25 Social Studio, Collaborative Learning for Sustainable Futures, Jenni Barrett UCLAN @meme_cloud

14.35 Scissors, Tweets, Stone: social media the new paper? Claire Thirlwall, Thirwall Associates @thirlwallassoc

5 min Break

14:50 A census of sensors – Internet of things, Mike King, Housahedron @mking007

15:00 Immersive Environments – The Social Building Model, David Burden, DADEN @davidburden

15:10 Immersive BIM – Through the Looking Glass, Vin Sumner Clicks & Links @vinsumner

15:20 BE2 and the Be2Awards 2014 Martin Brown, Be2Camp @be2camp

Join us for the first #gvischat of 2014 focusing on Living Building Challenge

Join us on the 6th February where, as part of the UKGBC’s Pinpoint programme taking place 3-7 Feb to increase awareness of The Living Building Challenge in the UK with UKGBC members, we will be hosting, with @UKGBC Pinpoint, a conversation with Amanda Sturgeon, VP of the Living Building Challenge at the International Living Futures Institutein Seattle.

The tweetchat will run for 60mins and provide ample opportunity to post questions to guests, share your experiences and comment on the subject matter.

The conversation starts at 11am PST, 2pm ET and 7pm UK. Please use the the #GVischat hashtag to join in.

Becoming Mindful in Management

The room became completely silent.  Just for a few moments, seconds even.  And yet within that silence was a deep calm, magnified even because of the number of people in the room.  The deep calm felt nourishing and rich and resourceful.

‘Whaaaaat??’ I hear you cry ‘You think this has something to do with management??’ ‘When we have targets to meet, customers to satisfy, staff to lead – and all sorts of other challenges every day!’

Yes I do.  It is well known that human beings live in a ‘Performance Paradox’ – this has been most brilliantly articulated by Tony Schwartz amongst others.  Whilst a stretch for the imagination against what seems to be the law of Physics, human beings can often achieve more by doing less.  It is the antithesis of the use of machines.  Many studies show that rather than achieving more by doing longer hours (like a machine would), a human being achieves more by doing less and responding to the rhythmic needs of their human systems.

In other words if a human being becomes very busy and overloaded, their optimal levels of performance start to diminish.  And over time this gets worse.  You may notice that a relentlessly ‘busy’ person often starts to use 50 words to explain something where 10 will do.  They may do several things at once and yet this makes each single task take longer or is done less well.  A very calm person may be incisive and cut through the weeds, bringing effectiveness to everything they do.

It doesn’t stop there.  The human stress response which is activated by lots of ‘doing’, and by multiple ‘doing’ is felt in other human ways – ones that are physical and emotional as well as mental.  Poor sleep ensues for example which adds to the loop of poor concentration, fragmented thoughts and stirred up emotions.

In a knowledge based economy where your thoughts and intellect is what adds the value to your work then the performance of your brain and your whole human system is what will give your best performance.  And this is a beautiful place to be.  The state of being  relaxed whilst alert is an optimal operating level for a human being – and it feels good!  It is often experienced as a state of ‘flow’ which is a great immersion in a task – you may even call it part of ‘employee engagement’ and, because it feels so good and achieves such great things, once you have experienced this, you may want it again and again!  This is great because achieving a state of ‘flow’ regularly programmes this into your brain and it becomes easier and easier to access.

‘Mindfulness’ and ‘Mindful Leadership’ are proving to be the antidote to 21st Century living for many people who have been experiencing the negative effects of ‘Bigger, Faster, Stronger’ and want to introduce greater depth, quality and intelligence into their work in a way that is much more sustainable over protracted lengths of time.

This can be learnt.  If learnt by one person it positively impacts those around them just as a stressed person negatively impacts those around them.  It is a 21st century set of skills and experiences drawn from ancient wisdoms of 3000 years old. 

You can learn it.  You, your team and your employer can all benefit.  You may find that as you do – your mind and body breathes a sigh of relief…..

And then, watch this space….

Anne Parker, Anne Parker Ltd:

About Anne: Anne is a highly experienced Management Development Facilitator and coach who draws from her own mindful practices and disciplines to deliver her sessions

Interested in finding out more? Leeds Metropolitan University are running an 8 week course with Anne on Mindful Management starting 19th February 2014 (evenings 6-8:30pm)

Further info and booking details here

JUST: a social justice label for construction …

Taking built environment sustainability deeper into the responsibility agenda, the International Living Future Institute are launching (Oct 2013) a new and important transparency initiative for the built environment to sit along side the Living Building Challenge and Declare. Just will provide clients, specifiers and procurers with ‘a view of how participating organisations treat their employees and where they invest their profits’

Just will cover the important areas of gender and ethnic diversity, salary equity, gender pay equity, community involvement, responsible investing and more, taking it beyond other programmes in the built environment sector. (And arguably areas that the UK Considerate Constructors Scheme should be addressing?)

The Press Release from ILFI reads:

In today’s global economy, it’s difficult to know what your consumer dollars are really supporting. JUST gives you an insider’s view of how participating organisations treat their employees and where they invest their profits. JUST works seamlessly with the International Living Future Institute’s Declare™ materials label and the next iteration of the Living Building Challenge™ (Version 3.0 — coming spring 2014).

By providing participating companies with a clear, elegant and informative equity ‘nutrition-label’, JUST aims to transform the marketplace through transparency and open communication. It aligns with the Institute’s Declare™ materials label to provide a holistic picture of both the products a company produces and the human story behind those products.
To participate in this voluntary disclosure program, an organization must submit documentation that asks for in-depth information about twenty distinct aspects of workplace equity and justice.
We’ll be launching the JUST label and searchable database FALL 2013. Join us in this critical initiative!
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