January 23, 2018
BRE and the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) have released a new briefing paper that outlines how projects may achieve both a certified BREEAM rating and WELL Certification. The updated crosswalk document, Assessing Health and Wellbeing in Buildings – Alignment between BREEAM and the WELL Building Standard, was developed as ‘part of a commitment to continuous improvement by IWBI and BRE’ using industry feedback from professionals working to achieve joint certification. To simplify the process for project teams pursuing both standards, BRE and IWBI have worked together to compare performance requirements, harmonise evidence and identify opportunities to streamline the process of achieving dual certification. Specific improvements and enhancements to the guidance document include instructions for projects that clarify how to use the crosswalk, minor amendments to the alignments and overlaps between the two standards, and a simplified labelling system. The new crosswalk also features useful notes and comments to clarify these alignments.
November 30, 2017
The UK government has set some ambitious targets for construction and the environmental performance of buildings following the announcement of a Sector Deal for the construction sector. The sector deal was an integral part of the Industrial Strategy White Paper published earlier this week. In a statement, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark revealed more details of the deal supported by £170m of government investment and £250m of match funding from the built environment sector. The announcement sets out ambitious new targets for the built environment and infrastructure including a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gases and a third reduction in the costs of construction and whole life costs of buildings.
November 23, 2017
Yesterday, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the details of the UK government’s latest budget. While Brexit inevitably cast its shadow over the whole thing, there were a number of announcements relevant to the workplace, construction, tech and built environment sectors, many of which have been broadly welcomed by commentators, industry bodies and experts. Among the announcements in the budget were new plans for infrastructure and planning, skills and training, the environment, productivity, AI and regional development.
October 13, 2017
A strategy setting out how the UK plans to lead the world in cutting carbon emissions to combat climate change while driving economic growth, has been published by the Government. The Clean Growth Strategy: Leading the way to a low carbon future builds on the UK’s progress to date. Carbon emissions in the UK have fallen and national income risen faster than any other nation in the G7 since 1990, according to the report, with emissions down by 42 percent while the economy has grown by 67 percent.
September 26, 2017
Research published to mark the beginning of World Green Building Week suggests that businesses in Europe could realise savings of up to $243 billion in reduced rental costs alone if their office buildings were refurbished to the most efficient standards. The analysis from Philips Lighting, claims the impact that could be made on rents across the world’s offices if business owners replicated the efficient usage of space achieved in a leading green building. The research suggests that in addition to reducing their carbon footprint, office tenants could see vast financial savings if their buildings were renovated in a way that uses space more effectively, particularly in buildings with a high number of empty spaces. The report calls for a doubling of the renovation rate of offices in developed countries to reach 3 percent per year, which it says will be a key factor in reducing emissions and offsetting increased global demand for energy from population growth and urbanisation.
September 5, 2017
The World Economic Forum has published the third edition of what it claims is the world’s most geographically diverse survey of millennials, the Global Shapers Annual Survey 2017. Over 31,000 people aged between 18 and 35 responded to the survey, giving insights into their views on society, business, politics, the economy and technology as well as their workplace and career aspirations. The survey, which is available in 14 languages, surveyed young people from 186 countries and territories. According to the survey they are optimistic that technology will create more jobs than it destroys, although only a quarter would trust a robot to make decisions on their behalf.
August 23, 2017
Construction has begun on a new zero carbon business centre at the Elmsbrook development in Bicester, Oxfordshire. PERCH, Elmsbrook is one of two new coworking spaces brought to Bicester by Cherwell District Council (CDC) and is subject to support from European Regional Development Funding. The 1,400 sqm building will span three floors and accommodate up to 125 people. The council claims it will be unique in ‘providing local office space for individuals and small businesses in a highly sustainable building, meeting the standards of the North West Bicester Eco Town’ scheme.
August 15, 2017
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has launched a new environmental strategy which he claims will help make the capital the world’s first ‘National Park City and one of the greenest cities on Earth’. The strategy includes plans for a new £9million Greener City Fund to boost trees and green infrastructure; improved planning policy proposals to encourage more green roofs, green walls and rain gardens; the creation of a ‘Challenge Map’ to prioritise areas in need of green infrastructure; and a series of measures to tackle pollution, promote cleaner energy & make more than 50 per cent of London green by 2050. As part of the strategy, the Mayor will use planning regulations to protect the Green Belt and incorporate into new developments more ‘green roofs’ (roofs covered with grass and plants which are excellent for soaking up rainwater), green walls (which can be added to the outside walls of buildings by busy polluted roads and are covered in plants to help boost air quality), ‘rain gardens’ (small green spaces which help prevent flooding), and habitats for wildlife.
August 2, 2017
Air quality in cities would benefit more from electric heating in buildings than from electric vehicles
There would be more immediate benefits to the air quality in UK cities by converting all their buildings to electric heating than from the much talked about government plan to halt the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, according to consultancy WSP. A switch to electric heating would provide around a 40 reduction in emissions, a similar level to what would be achieved if all vehicles were to become electric by 2040, according to the report. It highlighted the figures following yesterday’s government announcement that petrol or diesel cars would no longer be sold from 2040. In Central London alone 38 percent of NOx emissions come from buildings using gas power, claims WSP. In 2014 WSP published a report that showed that if all transport and buildings were to become electric by 2030 in London, air pollution could be reduced by over a third, carbon emissions cut by 80 percent and noise pollution reduced significantly. Its figures come from the expected London emissions in 2020 from London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory.
July 6, 2017
One thing is clear — within the next 20 years, we will reach our peak capacity in terms of oil consumption as a planet. Although, as demand for oil appears to increase year upon year, the global production of oil appears to decrease. As a result of this growing problem, the construction industry still derives most of its energy sources from oil-based fuels. Throughout the Western world, it is evident that the construction sector is heavily reliant upon crude oils. The reason for this is that without them, the construction process would not be able to function in its current form. This is however, having a detrimental impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Within the UK, 50 percent of carbon emissions are accounted for by the construction industry and machinery within the production process.
July 6, 2017
BRE have launched The Biophilic Office project, a ‘groundbreaking’ office refurbishment in test conditions that will seek to provide quantified evidence on the benefits of biophilic design on health, wellbeing and productivity of office occupants. The project centres on a 650 sq. m. 1980s office building on the BRE campus in Watford, which will be refurbished according to biophilic design principles. BRE are partnering with architect and interior designer Oliver Heath, who will lead on the design element of the refurbished building.
June 30, 2017
A few years ago, the most commonly recognised symbol of humankind’s impact on the environment was the image of a solitary polar bear, adrift on a rapidly shrinking ice floe. Google a term like ‘melting ice caps’ even now, and you’ll still derive a host of variations of the same meme. More recently a new and even more unpleasant series of symbols has emerged for a similarly environmentally catastrophic phenomenon, carried worldwide on the tide of social media. This time, they are not about the way we pollute the atmosphere but also the land and seas, particularly with plastic. Social media feeds are packed with images of the corpses of seabirds, their flesh rotted away to expose the amount of plastic they have consumed. This is the new face of environmental disaster. This is not just an issue that affects birds, however. Barely a day passes when we cannot see a new image of turtles malformed after getting caught up in plastic netting or six pack rings, whales beached after choking on dozens of discarded plastic bags they’ve mistaken for food, clogged waterways and oceans, piles of rubbish and beaches that consist in large part of plastic eroded to the size of sand grains. Most recently Sky ran a heartbreaking documentary about a whale that had died with a stomach full of plastic rubbish.
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