Search Results for: environmental

Twenty-first century construction is increasingly environmentally friendly

Twenty-first century construction is increasingly environmentally friendly 0

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.

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UK Green Building Council’s HQ claims to set new environmental standards in office refurbishment

UK Green Building Council’s HQ claims to set new environmental standards in office refurbishment 0

uk-gbc-hqBy achieving the lowest embodied carbon footprint ever recorded for an office refurbishment in the UK, the new headquarters in Central London for the UK Green Building Council is designed to inspire and encourage employers, landlords and occupiers alike to set the bar high when upgrading their office spaces, according to the organisation. It claims that the project is an exemplar for sustainable office refurbishment and features a range of wellbeing measures. UK-GBC says it hopes that this landmark project will also demonstrate that even a 160m² floorspace can deliver commercial, social and environmental value if each decision is challenged and scrutinised. Wellbeing measures have been incorporated into the design in order to improve staff satisfaction, productivity and overall health and wellness. These measures include: a living wall with over 1,500 plants; an innovative ventilation system, which has delivered a 750 percent increase in background fresh air; an automated low-energy LED lighting system; and products and finishes that minimisepollutants from the air.

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Weighing up the pros and cons of the BREEAM environmental standard

Weighing up the pros and cons of the BREEAM environmental standard 0

EnvironmentFor some years there has been a growing awareness of the need to improve the environmental performance of buildings. This is closely linked to both the Government’s own international commitments to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent over the next 35 years and the need of organisations to act ethically and cut costs while they’re about it. Buildings are important in this regard because of their impact on the environment (and the bottom line). According to The Carbon Trust, buildings produce around 37 percent of the UK’s total carbon emissions, 40 percent of it from commercial buildings.This is commendable stuff but the real problems arise when it comes to meeting such laudable goals in practice. We are learning all the time about how to achieve the best results and we are helped in that with the availability of a number of increasingly sophisticated building environmental standards.

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Updated environmental standard improves link to business strategy

Updated environmental standard improves link to business strategy 0

Green chainThe revised version of one of the world’s most popular environmental standards aims to improve the link between business strategy and environmental issues and encourage a stronger focus on life-cycle thinking. the updated ISO 14001:2015 has responded to a number of current trends, such as an increasing recognition by companies of the need to factor in both external and internal elements that influence their impact, including climate volatility. Other key improvements in the new version include a greater commitment from leadership; an increased alignment with strategic direction; greater protection for the environment, with a focus on proactive initiatives; more effective communication, driven through a communications strategy and an increased emphasis on life-cycle thinking, considering each stage of a product or service, from development to end-of-life.

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CIBSE launches updated guide to environmental building design

environmental building designThe Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) has published the latest edition of Guide A: Environmental Design which the organisation claims is ‘the premier technical reference source for designers and installers of building services, especially low energy and sustainable buildings’. As well as updates to legislation and new research, the edition includes a completely new chapter which identifies specific requirements for achieving quality in environmental building design: adopting a holistic approach as well as a system to assure the quality of design calculations and decisions. The other chapters deal with a specific aspect of design including criteria such as comfort and ambient weather and methods of calculation for performance, heating and ventilation systems, methods for thermal comfort evaluation, energy demand and so on.

Scalpel achieves excellent rating under new BREEAM environmental standard

BREEAM environmental standardThe first building to achieve an excellent rating under the new BREEAM UK New Construction 2014 standard is Kohn Kohn Pedersen Fox’s design of the Scalpel tower in the City of London. The £500 million building at 52 Lime Street is a 190m tall 35-floor office tower which is set to open in 2017. The new building was granted planning consent in early 2013 and will offer around 500,000 sq. ft. of commercial space in the City. Andrew Reynolds, managing director of developers WRBC Development, said he was “delighted” the scheme had received such a high rating under the new BREEAM environmental standard. Our team is determined to deliver a high performance building that is not only architecturally superb but creates a pleasant and productive environment for those who will be working there.” Gavin Dunn, director of BREEAM, said: “this achievement demonstrates a genuine commitment by the project team to deliver a high-quality development that will benefit the building owners and occupiers into the future.”

New BREEAM environmental standard launched for UK office refurbishment and fit-outs

Office refurbishmentThe Building Research Establishment (BRE) has launched the latest addition to its flagship sustainability accreditation scheme. Launched fully at MIPIM UK, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) Refurbishment and Fit-Out 2014 standard has been in development for around  two years, a period which has included consultations with some of the UK’s largest commercial property occupiers, end users as well as a full assessment of a pilot project at BRE’s base near Watford. It joins existing BREEAM standards as a way of assessing the sustainability of office refurbishment and fit-out projects in the UK and overseas. The standards were tested on a simulated refurbishment project at the BRE site and achieved, in the words of the organisation,  “significant savings as well as many other positive learning outcomes”. Firms which took part in the two year development and consultation period included Lloyds, Boots, Legal & General and The Green Investment Bank.

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Homeworking has environmental benefits, says Carbon Trust

Environmental and cost benefits of homeworking

There have been some doubts cast recently on the environmental benefits of flexible working. At the recent ThinkFM conference, Lord Rupert Redesdale, the CEO Energy Managers Association said that keeping buildings open for longer to accommodate flexible workers could become unfeasible for many businesses. But what if you simply increase the numbers of home workers instead? Homeworking reduces employee commuting, resulting in carbon, money and time savings. If office space is properly rationalised to reflect this, homeworking can also significantly reduce office energy consumption and rental costs. This is according to new research from the Carbon Trust, which found that if adopted and encouraged by employers across the country, homeworking could result in annual savings of over 3 million tonnes of carbon and cut costs by £3 billion.

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Average office temperatures set too high say environmental experts

office temperatures set too high

The publication this week of the report Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability by the UN’s science panel that argues that the world is “ill-prepared” for risks from a changing climate, but that opportunities to respond to such risks still exist, proves more than ever that the built environment can play a vital role in helping to curb global warming. The most obvious place to start is by turning down the temperature of the office, which according to researchers from Lancaster University’s DEMAND Research Centre, has become warmer in recent years. As reported by Clickgreen, the researchers from Lancaster University say the average office temperature of 22 degrees C is way too high, and by simply turning down the thermostat and asking occupants to don another layer could do much to address global warming. More →

Green Building Council slams PM’s plans to slash environmental guidance

Plans to slash environmental guidance

The UK Green Building Council has condemned Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge to scrap realms of environmental guidance. In a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses earlier this week, the Prime Minister said that by March 2015 Defra will have slashed 80,000 pages of environmental guidance, saving businesses around £100 million per year; “to make it vastly easier and cheaper for businesses to meet environmental obligations.” However Paul King, Chief Executive at the UK Green Building Council, branded the move utterly reprehensible. He said: “The Prime Minister’s boasts of ‘slashing 80,000 pages’ of environmental guidance is. It is the same poisonous political rhetoric from Number 10, devaluing environmental regulation in a slash and burn manner. These words are not only damaging and irresponsible, but misrepresent the wishes of so many modern businesses, both large and small.”  More →

UK’s leading political parties criticised for a lack of environmental leadership

UK's leading political parties criticised for a lack of environmental leadership Britain’s leading political parties are failing to provide visible and consistent green leadership, threatening two decades of steady environmental policy progress in the UK, warns an influential group of charities today. In The Green Standard 2013, seven leading charities, including WWF, the Green Alliance, Greenpeace and Campaign for Better Transport, assess the green performance of coalition ministers and Labour shadow ministers since the last general election, reviewing the parties on four key areas: the economy, communities, nature and international leadership. The report concludes that none of the parties has a coherent environmental programme and there is no consistent public leadership on the environment from any of the party leaders. More →

Office environmentalists experiencing “green rage” over apathetic colleagues

new Green rage afflictionFacilities managers engaged in efforts to convince apathetic colleagues to adopt greener office working practices may relate to the news of a new workplace affliction – “green rage”. Dr Rebecca Whittle of Lancaster University told delegates at the recent annual conference of the Royal Geographical Society in London that there is a lot of silent conflict at work between people trying to do the right thing environmentally, and those who don’t care. She said that a light being left on in an unoccupied office or a recyclable item put in the wrong bin can provoke emotions as strong as guilt, rage or despair. More →

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