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Carbon Reduction Related Discussions amd Debate
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TOPIC: Do Public Sector buildings tick the carbon boxes but do they quite literally cost the earth?

Do Public Sector buildings tick the carbon boxes but do they quite literally cost the earth? 1 month, 2 weeks ago #1

When it comes to refurbishment or new build in Public Sector do we just show good practice when it comes to using carbon effective sustainable solutions to save a bit of money and maybe tick our carbon compliant boxes or do we look at the overall ethical and carbon impact of products and the companies who supply them? Do we insist on only using suppliers that have excellent ethical and carbon credentials?

Please share examples you have of genuinely effective sustainable solutions from credible carbon efficient suppliers?
Last Edit: 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Kauser Aslam.

Re: Do Public Sector buildings tick the carbon boxes but do they quite literally cost the earth? 1 month, 1 week ago #2

From the Client perspective i.e. Canterbury College procuring significant new build teaching blocks (£ 19m + £8.8 m since 2010) we have driven our carbon reduction programme effectively through the Breeam guidelines working closely with our design consultants and ultimately the Principal Contractors on Design and Build contracts.

Our recent projects have seen the installation of a ENER-G CHP boiler plant, Photo voltaic solar panels (small c 18 kw system) which are examples of renewable energy plant going in to meet our renewable energy targets under the Breeam guidelines. These have no doubt added higher initial costs to these projects in order to meet the Breeam targets – as these projects have been self-financed it shows our commitment to low carbon usage.

At the opposite side of the equipment scale , we have looked at low power consumption hand dryers which again were more expensive than others which have higher power consumption. Similarly, one can look at higher initial costs for LED lighting systems .

We have been largely driven by getting efficient equipment being specified rather than taking an in-depth look at the suppliers ethical and carbon efficiency. The Principal Contractors used are working to the very latest environmentally sound procurement guidelines.

My only comment regarding the Breeam guidelines are that it itself generates a tremendous amount of unnecessary bureaucracy and very high management costs which are borne by the project – there seems to be a complete lack of common sense in some of its application which adds absolutely nothing to the energy efficiency of the buildings built. This is, in my opinion, highly wasteful of monetary resources and should be scrapped.

Re: Do Public Sector buildings tick the carbon boxes but do they quite literally cost the earth? 1 month ago #3

We have an environmental management system, EMAS and ISO14001 that is independently verified so there is some onus on sustainable procurement above and beyond legislative compliance. To be honest though there is much more we can do especially in terms of everyday corporate procurement. Personally I think there is more of a tendency now to leave everything to planning and building controls which are being watered down by government. Profit is still the driver. Money-saving is a good lever to use especially if whole life costing is used.

Re: Do Public Sector buildings tick the carbon boxes but do they quite literally cost the earth? 3 weeks, 2 days ago #4

Conflict between standard new build/refurbishment cost per M2 against passive or more ego friendly costs will always be a bone of contention. In an ideal world where initial costs would not be so prominent as they are at the present with the economic situation and future causes concern against what is right compared to what is affordable. There will always be argument against more sustainable solutions and its payback or return ……money up front against long term investment. My concerns are that in education the goal is driven by providing as many end users (students) with the best possible education within the funding available and following the more sustainable solutions often become less attractive as end stations for users (numbers) become less against that of more traditional solutions. Education follows an ethos of trying to combine the both by ensuring (where financially viable) all new build/refurbishment are sourced form not only sustainable sources but right throughout the chain from procurement to completion. Smaller projects are a little easier to source and can be in most cases sourced locally providing minimum delivery and transport costs as well as providing local commitment to local industries and work forces. These would include PV systems (materials and installations), LED Lighting, Insulation, Heating & ventilation systems, Utilities to mention but a few but in reality if care is taken then almost all resources can be sourced locally reducing its carbon impact.

The answer in theory rests with Yes ….genuinely people build/refurbishment form effect sustainable solutions but in reality the pressure of costs and providing more for less will in almost all cases will win over.

Posted on behalf of a delegate

Re: Do Public Sector buildings tick the carbon boxes but do they quite literally cost the earth? 3 weeks, 2 days ago #5

I would like to share this technology that I believe can have a significant impact on carbon reduction:

The company BioZolve distribute a new UK Bio-stimulant Technology used in a Bio-thermic Digesters. The technology was used on the London Olympic site. Using organisms derived from the sea it speeds up the digestion of organic waste to hours rather than weeks or months. Working at high temperature this open aerobic system can be used with any organic waste leaving a sterilised very dry, high calorific material that can be used as bio-mass for boilers or in the production of electricity, it can also be used as a soil conditioner on the land.

This technology is scalable and can be used in restaurants, small housing estates or as a method of powering a town from its municipal waste stream.
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