A Green Vision for Social Media at Green Build Expo

logoBe2Camp returns to Greenbuild Expo in May with Green Vision.

This year’s session, taking place on 8th May at Manchester Central from 1pm, will be the most exciting  yet, with an amazing line-up of speakers (see below for programme).

GreenBuild Expo itself attracts over 4,000 built environment professionals and takes place on 8th and 9th May. It features over 100 free seminars and workshops on all aspects on sustainable buildings, from integrating renewable energy and BIM for beginners to skills for Green Deal and strategies for climate change adaptation. Speakers include UK Green Building Council, Energy Saving Trust, Warm Up North, Manchester City Council and many more. For free registration visit www.greenbuildexpo.co.uk.


The speakers will include some of the top presentations from Green Visions last three years’ programme, along with BE2 friends old and new. Join us for the whole afternoon, or one of the three great sessions we have planned.

1.00 Welcome

1.15 – 2.00 Green Knowledge – how social media can help us learn, share and advance green sustainability knowledge, including essential tips on promoting your green credentials

2.15 – 3.00 Green Materials – transparency in green and healthy materials, featuring presentation from Kelly Grainger, Interface and Philippa Ashbee from Bottle Glass Alley.

3.15 – 4.00 Green Futures – what’s emerging in the world of green building, featuring ‘Green Towns’’ Prof Angus McIntosh from Oxford Brooks University, and Paul Toyne, Global Head of Sustainability at WSP and a keynote live presentation from Amanda Sturgeon, VP Living Building Challenge, from the recently completed Bullitt Centre in Portland, called by many the greenest commercial building in the world (Not one to miss!).

Do you have something to share, Pecha Kucha style (thats 20 slides, each 20 seconds) that will fit one of the above sessions? We will keep one slot free for ‘on the day’ contribution But if you are interested please let the Greenbuild Expo organisers know in advance. (1st come, 1st served ….)

As in previous years, our afternoon session will be live streamed and web enabled allowing real global sharing from and into the event.

BE2 (Be2Camp) are Greenbuild Expo’’s social media partners, and a social media advocacy for built environment sustainability and collaborative working

Green Vision, part of the Leeds Sustainability Institute and Centre for Knowledge Exchange and committed to driving sustainable change for construction professionals

Demystifying Green Buildings

The transcript, Storify style,  of the excellent Green Vision half day conference can be read here

Catch up with the comments and tweets through the day, revisit presentations and explore the numerous links shared during the event. Also read through tweets and observations from the day’s round table discussions

  • Financing Low Carbon Retrofit
  • The Real Green Deal
  • Better things to spend your money on
  • The business case for commercial retrofit
  • Revalue – Assessing the Improvement Fundamentals of Buildings

A sample of the presentations delivered include: John Alker

and Amanda Sturgeon live from the Bullitt centre

#GVis Demystifying Green Buildings: The Opportunities of Retrofit

A packed out room of Construction professionals gathered for yesterday’s Green Vision seminar at Squires Sanders.  Nigel Banks, Group Sustainability Director for Keepmoat   gave a compelling presentation on the Green Deal and the current Governments’ approach to tackling Fuel Poverty. George Munson Energy and Climate Change Manager at Leeds City Council highlighted the excellent retrofit programmes being delivered by the Leeds City Region and the tangible energy savings and health benefits achieved by household residents. Whilst Karen Stafeckis, Area Manager for Turner and Townsend  discussed the process and business case for adopting low carbon retrofit projects in the public and private sectors.  .

Nigel titled his presentation somewhat tongue in cheek as ‘Selling Fuel Poverty’ highlighting the importance of fuel poverty as a key priority for government. Yet despite it being high on the government agenda we are currently in our first government since 1970 which does not have a government programme in place to tackle the issue of the fuel poor.  The Green Deal with its 7% interest rate could prove off-putting for poorer households, and fuel-poor consumers could miss out altogether. Nigel argued that the Green Deal will not stop fuel poverty rocketing as fuel prices rise.

Nigel advocated the importance of understanding and working solutions appropriate to the house and occupiers when looking to improve social housing stocks on a whole estate basis . He also emphasised the importance of these upgrades being offered at Low or no cost helping residents move out of extreme fuel poverty in tough times when fuel bills have tripled. Keepmoat have done extensive work and research around solutions and technologies and how they work together , delivering savings of up to 80% on carbon in some properties and demonstrating considerable cost savings to residents . Nigel said the Green Deal has excited the construction industry but it may only bring benefit and be appropriate for a tranche of the market with its 7% interest rates and can’t be seen as a solution to tackle Fuel Poverty as the bottom 20% may not even be eligible for the Green Deal finance.

George Munson shared Leeds City Councils learning of delivering the green deal in the Leeds City Region on the Green Deal Demonstrator programme which started in October 2012. The programme emerged following on from DEEP and Wrap upLeeds.LeedsCityregion agreed to collaborate for the 2.6 million green deal demonstrator programme involving a small framework of suppliers. The programme was set up with the primary aims of testing the green deal with a longer term agreement to work on a 3-8 year green deal programme  . This project was a test bed to investigate the appetite for loans and test the market for new niche housing types  of solid wall properties and hard to treat cavities. George indicated the first project of external insulation to 1960s properties as a real success with great take up and low impact in terms of intrusion and high impact in terms of comfort improvements. Great way to transform an estate. The second part to the demonstrator is testing the appetite for loans which when offered at 0% enquiries have been flooding in. There is a third element to the programme in the pipeline which will look at Victorian terraces where internal  insulation would not have been possible had the  Government not just released its new planning guidance whereby external wall insulation is permitted unless in listed buildings or conservation areas.  George brought his presentation to a close by drawing out key learning to date indicating an appetite for loans, an appetite from the market yet the need for an alternative to the Green Deal finance. Leeds City Region will be looking ahead to their long term Green Deal offer to deliver improvements on 450,000 properties over the next 3-8 years.

Karen Stafeckis shifted the focus of the evening from housing to an in-depth look at Retrofit of non domestic buildings , both Public and Private, highlighting the importance of optimising energy performance in existing occupied buildings. Karen saw social and economic pressure driving businesses towards the low carbon retrofit agenda change alongside increased movements around CSR and increased consumer demand for optimised buildings.  She delivered a clear message around the process of measurement, benchmarking, setting realistic energy targets and bundling of buildings to optimise paybacks.  Karen shared her experience of the Mayor of London’s public Sector initiative RE:FITwhich was first launched in 2008 and guarantees energy savings achieved through low carbon retrofit. 5 years into the scheme and it is achieving guaranteed savings typically up to 28% pa and payback periods typically less than seven years.   .

Karen concluded with discussion of the recently launched World Green Business Council’s ‘Business Case’for Green Buildings, and a strong message that optimising energy efficiency can deliver economic as well as environmental benefits.

GVis members posed some excellent questions around occupier behavior and its impact on the Green Deal. Also good points raised on multi occupancy buildings and a shift towards community heating systems. Green Deal finance was a hot topic as ever raising the questions around interest rates, saleable value of homes under the Green Deal.

Greenvision and Fairsnape launch the Living Building Challenge UK Collaborative

Martin Brown, Fairsnape, and Claire Bowles, Greenvision at Leeds Sustainability Institute, have launched a UK Collaborative for the Living Building Challenge (LBC) with events planned throughout 2013 including awareness and training sessions led by Amanda Sturgeon VP of LBC., currently planned for 3rd April.

The purpose of a UK collaborative is to create a platform for like-thinking built environment sustainability professionals, who, as LBC ambassadors, can explore and increase awareness of LBC in the UK and, in time, provide support and assessment services for UK clients and buildings looking to LBC accrediatation. The creation of a UK LBC Collaborative is also in memory of Mel Starrs, a passionate sustainability professional who inspired many, and was very keen to see the LBC established in the UK.
Read the full article in Greenbuild news at the link below

Leeds Sustainability Institute at Ecobuild 2013

By Professor Chris Gorse, Director of the Leeds Sustainability Institute

Having been invited to speak and take part in the “Making sustainable construction happen, Green for growth reality check” session at EcoBuild 2013, I was asked to join a panel discussion in the Arena with Rt Hon Michael Fallon, Minister for Business and Enterprise.

The host was none other than Jonathon Dimbleby, who drew out a balanced debate on the challenges that are facing the industry and the measures necessary to build confidence and start to move the industry from the grips of recession.  Other panel members included  Mike Putnam, Chief Executive of Skanska UK and Co-Chair Green Construction Board  and Rhian Kelly, Director for business environment at the CBI.

While positive statements were made, clearly the challenge of delivering buildings takes much more than words, we need action from both the policy makers and industry. Yet, I do see some signs that the industry is starting to get to grips with the gap between theory and reality and what it needs to do in terms of research if it is to gain confidence in those that are investing in green construction.

I still argue for a fabric first approach, get it right and we can adequately service and build smart interfaces that are dynamic enough to respond to the environment and user needs.  The Green Deal Trial that we are undertaking in Leeds will also give us a greater understanding of what can be achieved with the existing building stock.  As far less than 1% of our current buildings meet nearly zero or passive standards, almost all of our existing buildings need an eco upgrade. If we can build confidence that is a lot of buildings for the industry to develop.

Closer to Zero – Green Vision Seminar 13 February

The recent snow, disruptive weather and congested roads turned the planned Green Vision seminar into an intimate evening at Squires Sanders last Wednesday evening.  Sue Riddlestone , OBE, founder and CEO of Bioregional, along with Dr Craig Jones principal sustainability consultant at Sustain Ltd, shared their experience and learning from the Olympics Games 2012 .

Sue described the meaning concepts behind the One Planet Living ten principles, based on the need to re-address the balance of consumption behaviour on our planet. The OPL is focused on making sustainability simple – through addressing ecological footprints – leading to a more informed holistic approach based around the ten principles

Sue currently lives and works in the bedzed zero carbon development which has achieved excellent results although at an above average build cost. The One Brighton project however was built on the OPL principles  at normal build costs and sold twice as fast a BedZed. It has also created a vibrant hub where people are happy with their sustainable lifestyles, proving that it is possible to build sustainable developments  with much improved health and community benefits without additional costs.

The ‘One Planet Olympics ‘ is an excellent example that led to huge savings in material costs through recycle and reuse strategies alongside the purchasing of materials & systems ‘on lease’ and returning them after the Olympic Games. A demonstration of Circular Economy thinking!

As the London Sustainable development commissioner , Sue was given access to the consultants on the Olympics project thanks to Ken Livingstone who provided the leadership for Bioregional influence with their ambitious sustainability strategy – the Greenest Games Ever – at the bidding  stage.  Of course , no one ever really thought the UK would win the Olympics , but when we did, the ambitious strategy became a legally binding document of the ‘One Planet Olympics’

Sue stressed the importance of contracts , strict guidance over reuse of buildings and materials from dismantled buildings on the site . Whilst there were no embodied carbon targets for the games there were strict reuse targets as there was a huge drive to dematerialise buildings. Innovative novation approaches were used such as take back schemes for air conditioning systems .

Sue summarised by giving two take away key principles:

  1. leadership and commitment to a sustainable project no matter how big ,
  2. embodied carbon must also be considered alongside health and well being.

Sue described the current environment as a clunky gear change into a more resource efficient environment.

Next, Dr. Craig Jones gave a detailed account of embodied carbon, its meaning and its impact at this time of huge growth of GHG emissions explaining the difference between embodied carbon and whole life carbon.

Embodied carbon mainly comes from energy and is also known as the carbon footprint of a material. It considers energy consumed to process, transport and fabricate a product. Taking us through the ‘cradle to gate’ approach and then further to ‘cradle to site’ including powering onsite, assembly equipment and construction waste. Managing construction waste is effective but buying less materials would be the most efficient saving to be made.

Craig indicated a few culprits such as bricks and cement in concrete as materials that could be replaced by lower carbon alternatives. In particular he drilled down into the detail of the cement low carbon substitute products (Ggbs and pfa) which were used in the Olympic Park and some of the resistance to using such materials n construction projects being down to lack of understanding and the impact on schedule of a longer curing time.

The key message from Craig was that Embodied carbon, once it’s emitted, it’s gone and we can never go back and improve the embodied carbon, its irrecoverable.

GVis members posed some interesting questions around the WRAP net waste tool which has a lack of up to date data and the open access nature of the university o f Bath embodied Carbon materials database (which is currently seeking funding to sustain maintenance and upkeep)Recommended resources from the event:

Best foot forward report 

Bath Embodied  Carbon Database 

SKA rating guidance 

Better Buildings Partnerships Guidance 


Notes from Claire Bowles Green Vision and Martin Brown Fairsnape

Green Vision 2013 #GVischat Tweet Chat Schedule

This year sees our third year of Green Vision tweet chats under the #GVischat hashtag. Previous tweet chats have included discussions exploring CSR, Retrofit, Cradle to Cradle and Green Materials amongst many other topical sustainability themes.

We are delighted to announce our 2013 Green Vision series, which we hope will settle into a regular Monday 8pm slot. Topics to date are:

Jan 28th 8pm       Are we getting closer to Zero?

Feb 25th 8pm       ThinkBIM chat #tbimchat

March 18th 8pm    Retrofit Revisited

April 15th 8pm       Living Building Challenge

May 20th 8pm        ThinkBIM chat (using #tbimchat)

June 24th 8pm       Green Vision

More dates and topics will be announced in the summer. Details on how to tweetchat can be found here.  Transcripts of previous tweetchats can be found on the fairsnape storify site.


Green Vision Book Chat #GVischat 10th Dec

For our last Green Vision tweetchat of 2012 we will be exploring Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart

In a slight departure from our usual tweetchat style we would really like to know your thoughts on the book, your favourite quotes and take aways as well as your thoughts on Cradle to Cradle thinking in general.

In addition this is an opportunity to share and promote your experiences of Cradle to Cradle. Perhaps you are a manufacturer applying or accredited to Cradle to Cradle, or an architect, client or builder adopting C2C thinking on your projects.

Join us, 8pm GMT Monday 10th December - Virtual non fattening mince pies included!

Cradle to Cradle Book

As usual the tweetchat hashtag is #GVischat and will be hosted by Claire @clairecke at Green Vision and facilitated by Martin @fairsnape. Finally, don’t forget our Green Vision half day conference on Sustainable Materials that will feature Cradle to Cradle keynote on the 12th December in Leeds and online

#GVis Sustainable Materials: Specifying Green

Green Vision ambassadors and professionals gathered at Squires Sanders at 2 Park Lane in Leeds on Wednesday evening for another engaging Green Vision event. An excellent panel of speakers, chaired by Martin Brown at Fairsnape, covered the practicalities of Specifying Green Products and highlighting excellent resources and online tools available for use by construction professionals.John Gelder presented a well-organised, seamless systematic review of Environmental Specification throughout the stages of a Project Timeline. Brian Murphy introduced our members to a parallel world to NBS taking us on a quick tour of Green-Spec Studio and the CAP’EM tool. Finally Sophie Stephens from Balfour Beatty showed us what they have been doing with Green Materials in practice.

John holds the position of Head of Content Development and Sustainability for RIBA Enterprises and whilst this title implies Sustainability as a bolt on, John presented the opposite: Sustainability as an integral consideration throughout the project lifeline of the RIBA Plan of Works (2013). The information was extensive and precise highlighting key environmental considerations for each stage providing the relevant standard, guidance along the way. Interestingly John was adamant that this is ‘Not just carbon, not just ‘all about us’, and not necessarily negative’ encouraging us to take a positive view of our natural environment and impacts.

Brian Murphy focused our attention on Green Spec Studio, an online free access design and specification assembly tool with over 600 registered users and 859 elemental assemblies and secondary elements. Whilst NBS software and Green Spec are parallel worlds, both will continue to grow, converge and perhaps meet in the middle at some point in the not too distant future. Brian hinted at future development of Green Spec to reclassify to suit Uniclass2012 at the next update.

Sophie, Environmental and Sustainability Manager at Balfour Beatty stressed the importance of specifying green materials in order to meet the clients ever growing demands for BREEAM buildings as 12.5 percent of the BREEAM score is down to sustainable materials procurement. Sophie highlighted difficulties in identifying chains of custody and the importance of getting evidence to prove that materials are sustainably sourced and hinted that whilst BREEAM is a great tool for stimulating demand for greener buildings, they have in fact been able to produce buildings that perform to a higher environmental standard on projects that are not working towards a BREEAM certficiation.

A lively Q and A followed covering a variety of issues such as Consistency Green Specification tools and guides, barriers to specifying green products and continued specification of ‘violet’ materials and the recurring issue of OPEX CAPEX as a barrier to specifying green materials. All good food for thought for more in-depth focus at our GVis Conference on Dec 12th at Greenhouse, see you there! Slides from the presentations can be found here