February 19, 2016
Earlier this week, we reported on the surprisingly large proportion of the UK’s commercial property that emitted far more carbon than it was designed to produce. Now, a new report from Cushman & Wakefield suggests that nearly a fifth of commercial buildings in England and Wales could be barred from being let because it does not comply with new Government energy standards. The report urges owners and investors to understand their risk and where necessary make improvements to ensure their buildings exceed the minimum energy efficiency standard – or face the prospect of the value of their assets decreasing significantly. The Government’s Energy Act, passed in the last Parliament, included a provision that from April 2018 it will be unlawful to rent out a business property with an EPC rating below the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), which is an ‘E’ rating. Any building that fails to meet this requirement (rated ‘F’ or ‘G’) will be classed as “sub standard” and may suffer a substantial drop in value.
February 15, 2016
Commercial buildings in the UK may be producing an average of 3.8 times more carbon than the estimate presented at their design stage, according to research from InnovateUK. The study examined six years of data from Innovate UK’s Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) Programme. It found that only one of the 48 buildings studied produced the amount of carbon specified by its design. In some cases, total emissions were 10 times the rate calculated for Part L compliance. ‘Building Performance Evaluation Programme: Findings From Non-Domestic Projects’, identifies complex energy controls and building management systems (BMS) as significant factors in poor levels of carbon emissions, suggesting that they should be simplified. Although two-thirds of the buildings studied employed renewable energy, a significant proportion of these experienced problems that had a negative impact on their energy consumption and carbon emissions.
January 26, 2016
Over half of ‘Gen S’ workers would refuse to work for employers who have a record of using slave labour, generating high levels of pollution, employing unsafe working conditions, poor environmental performance, questionable investments and unethical practices. According to the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment’s (IEMA) annual Practitioner Survey these people see environmental roles as the career change of choice, with 42 percent of professionals who now work in these roles considering themselves “career changers”. Those entering the profession come from a variety of backgrounds including finance, operations, marketing and communications and R&D. Gen S workers are typically people in their mid-thirties, above average in their qualifications with 45 percent having a Master’s degree or doctorate, looking for more than just a career and earning money, but actively seeking a career which is primarily “ethical” in nature.
December 13, 2015
In this week’s newsletter; Mark Eltringham on the prescience of philosopher Seneca on a time and a place to work; and a report by Sara Bean finds the boardroom increasingly views office space as a strategic asset. Glassdoor announces the best places to work for 2016; researchers reveal the phenomenon of ‘inattentional deafness’; a new Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction is announced; and Gartner says we’ll be using three technical devices by 2018. Over 100 councils to join an office-sharing scheme; Gen Z will blur the boundaries between home and work, and too much focus on standing in the sit-stand debate. Download the new issue of Work&Place and access an Insight Briefing, produced in partnership with Connection, which looks at agile working in the public sector. Visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
December 7, 2015
A total of 25 Green Building Councils from around the world have unveiled commitments reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that the building and construction industry plays its part in limiting global warming to 2 degrees. More than 1.25 billion square metres of buildings – almost double the size of Singapore – will be registered, renovated or certified as green building space over the next five years, under ambitious commitments made by Green Building Councils at COP21 in Paris. Green building is one of the most cost-effective solutions to climate change, which generates significant environmental, economic and societal benefits. A new alliance of 16 countries and over 60 organisations, known as the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (which includes WorldGBC, its 74 Green Building Councils and their 27,000 member companies) is now committed to help countries meet their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) through green building.
November 30, 2015
Those bewildered by the confusion of acronyms that surrounds building environmental standards will be pleased to hear that BRE has acquired a rival standard to merge with itsBREEAM accreditation. BRE claims that the acquisition of CEEQUAL, a sustainability scheme for civil engineering, allows it to ‘create a single, science based standard and certification tool for civil engineering and infrastructure projects’. As a result of the acquisition, CEEQUAL will transfer its operations to BRE Global after which CEEQUAL will then be delivered by the BREEAM certification team with support from a CEEQUAL management team. The move is supported by the Institution of Civil Engineers and has been prompted by ‘the industry’s desire for a single sustainability rating scheme that addresses the challenges that infrastructure clients, professions and contractors currently face in delivering more sustainable and resilient infrastructure.’
November 30, 2015
In this week’s newsletter; Mark Eltringham argues the six hour working day is a deeply conservative idea, dressed up in radical clothing; Matias Rodsevic says it’s important to understand what employee engagement actually means and Darren Bilsborough identifies seven separate layers or “skins” of workplace productivity. As COP21 gets underway, there’s evidence that Megacities are taking the lead in climate action, WeWork unveils its latest plans to dominate London; three new reports reveal technological confusion in the workplace; and a study says the Government’s challenge is how best to match its commitments with its resources. You can also download the new issue of Work&Place and access our first Insight Briefing, produced in partnership with Connection, which looks at agile working in the public sector. Visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
November 27, 2015
The built environment has a vital role to play in helping governments meet their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions targets says RICS – ahead of the 21st Conference of the Parties or COP21. This begins on Monday, when 196 governments meet in Paris for the climate change summit hosted by the United Nations. Buildings are some of the biggest emitters of CO2 accounting for one-third of global greenhouse gasses. Commercial and residential buildings also account for 40 percent of the world’s energy consumption. RICs is working with members in the land, real estate and construction sectors to find solutions across the property lifecycle to support more sustainable business practices, and will be in Paris to join stakeholders from governments, industry and civil society to support efforts to reach an agreement. The commitments made at the summit could have far-reaching repercussions for the built environment, and the global economy more generally.
November 26, 2015
Ahead of COP21 next week, a new report ‘Climate Action in Megacities 3.0’, published by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and research partner Arup states that since COP15 cities have taken the lead in climate action by forging a collaborative pathway to low carbon and climate resilient development. Mayors have scaled-up action- with 51 percent of schemes now delivered city-wide, as opposed to 14 percent in 2011. Since the last major COP in Copenhagen, C40 cities have taken 10,000 climate actions – a doubling of actions in just six years – and have committed to reduce their CO2 emissions by 3 Gt CO2 by 2030, equivalent to the annual carbon output of India. Furthermore, decisions taken by global cities to invest in low carbon development over the next 15 years have the potential to avoid locking in a total of 45 Gt of CO2, or eight times the total current annual emissions of the United States.
November 17, 2015
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Awards Jury has announced that Bosco Verticale, Milan, is the overall “2015 Best Tall Building Worldwide” at the 14th Annual CTBUH International Best Tall Building Awards Symposium, Ceremony & Dinner, held last week at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. In July, the CTBUH Awards Jury named a winner from each of the four competing regions in the world: Americas, Asia & Australasia, Europe, and Middle East & Africa. The Regional Winners were One World Trade Center, New York City, United States; CapitaGreen, Singapore; Bosco Verticale, Milan, Italy; Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Tower, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Although the overall winner was primarily a residential tower, offices were well represented in the regional winners thanks to the inclusion of One World Trade Center and Capita Green.
November 5, 2015
Developers, owners and occupiers of buildings might expect that compliance with regulations will produce a building that is energy efficient in operation and well on its way towards the 2020 nearly-zero energy target mandated by a European Directive. In practice, the actual performance of most buildings falls well short of the design intent – the so-called performance gap. In Australia, this chronic problem has been eliminated for new office building projects in which clients and their teams sign up to – and then follow – a “Commitment Agreement” protocol to design, construct and manage their buildings to achieve agreed levels of actual in-use performance. Now with the backing of the Better Buildings Partnership, a four month study to develop a prototype UK scheme which embraces Australia’s ‘design for performance’ approach has been launched by a team led by Verco and including BSRIA, Arup and UBT.
October 27, 2015
People who work in well-ventilated offices with below-average levels of indoor pollutants and carbon dioxide have significantly higher cognitive functioning scores in crucial areas such as responding to a crisis or developing strategy than those who work in offices with typical levels. That is the headline finding of a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Syracuse University published this week in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.The researchers looked at people’s experiences in “green” vs. “non-green” buildings in a double-blind study. The findings suggest that the indoor environments in which many people work daily could be adversely affecting cognitive function-and that, conversely, improved air quality could greatly increase the cognitive function performance of workers.