Ecobuild Conference – ExCeL London, 20th – 22nd March 2012

Ecobuild Conference – ExCeL London, 20th – 22nd March 2012
29th March 2012 Alison Parker

The Loughborough MRes CDT students attended Ecobuild 2012 at London’s ExCeL. Spanning three days, it was filled with seminars, conferences, and exhibitions with plenty to see, do, and think about. The main themes were making sustainable construction happen, design architecture and sustainability, and beyond construction – achieving a sustainable future. Seminars covered thirteen topics ranging from energy and innovation in buildings to refurbishing Britain. The wide range of subjects meant that students could pick and choose from their areas of interest. A number of events showcased influential speakers (including some LoLo advisory board members).

A key theme was the implication of the Green Deal later this year. There were certainly mixed views with some talks reinforcing the need for such a scheme, whilst others criticized it for leaving many factors to ‘fall into place’ once started. The upcoming Olympics were another popular subject covering aspirations for the greenest Games and lessons to be learnt from the London construction projects.

The exhibition spanned the North and South rooms, filled with stalls offering advice, different technologies, talks, and demonstrations. There was also a live installation of micro-renewables and fabric improvement measures. The solar hub allowed for up-close viewing of the latest solar PV technologies, with information on how companies are advising consumers to make the most of the feed-in tariff. When all of that wasn’t keeping the students busy, there was the opportunity to walk around the Finnish Log Home (capable of achieving CSH Level 5) and the ZEDlife project, where a carbon-free solar-powered lifestyle is proposed for buildings and transport, with solutions to meet their annual total energy demand from sunlight.

The RIBA village exhibition stall hosted the launch of UCL CDT MRes student Sofie Pelsmakers’ book ‘The Environmental Design Pocketbook’. Sofie gave a 15-minute talk on dispelling environmental design myths.

Students developed a better understanding of the current energy issues within the built environment and the potential future changes from technological advances and also from new policies being introduced (SAP 2012 and the anticipated Part L 2013). Reflecting on the experience, Sven Hallin noted, “It was great to get the opportunity to visit the world’s biggest conference in sustainability in the built environment. I was particularly interested in the micro-generation seminars where it became clear that funding under the Green Deal would not be available for these technologies, at least to start with. With so many interesting presentations, the decision as to what to attend had to be very selective. Not a conference where one had time to look for free pens.”

Ecobuild 2012 certainly lived up to our expectations for great ideas, inspirational solutions and practical advice. The calendar is marked up for 2013!

Article written by Ashley Morton, MRes Student

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