Delegates of the 2nd Conference of the London-Loughborough Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand choose Greens for next Government in ‘Blind Date’ style mock election
Last Wednesday (22/04/15), a group of over 70 doctoral researchers and academics came together to present and discuss their contributions towards closing an important gap in energy research: how can we reduce and change patterns of energy demand so that we can access the energy we need, at prices we can afford, in the transition away from fossil fuels? The conference, titled ‘Sustainability and Buildings – Walking the Tightrope to 2050” was the second student-led conference of the London – Loughborough EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Research in Energy Demand. The conference showcased research from a variety of disciplines, including building physics, psychology, computer science, economics and architecture.
A UK Embodied Carbon Model – meet the winning presenter, Jannik Giesekam
An expert panel of judges awarded Jannik Giesekam, from the University of Leeds, with the award for the best oral presentation. Mr Giesekam is developing a UK Buildings Embodied Carbon Model that aims to help the construction industry reduce its total embodied carbon by 39 percent by 2050 by using real-world emissions data to produce project level targets that can be used by clients, designers and regulators. By working to individual project-level benchmarks, each construction project can play its role in reducing the total emissions from the construction sector. The model can also be used to estimate future sector emissions. The winning presentation is available here.
The winning poster was designed by Douglas Harris and Ali Fathi Bakkush, both from Heriot-Watt University, on their research into how to improve solar gain control design strategies in residential buildings in hot, arid areas. The full conference programme, with the name of each presenter and the presentation title, can be downloaded here.
A Date to Remember: Cast your vote on 7 May 2015
The day concluded with a political take on the popular British TV dating show Blind Date. The only difference being that, instead of Cilla Black, our host was the conference’s keynote speaker Professor Kevin Lomas. And, instead of choosing between a number of prospective love interests, delegates chose between candidates from the six main political parties: Conservative, Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Scottish National Party (SNP) and the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
Choosing the ideal partner – what sort of fuel mix do you support?
Also, rather than making selections based on whether the candidates liked long walks on the beach, had a good job in the City or shared our favourite crisp flavour (all highly excellent criteria), delegates were asked to vote for each candidate based on their policies on the environment.
After each candidate had read out their respective policies, delegates voted on electronic keypads for the best policy (but without knowing which policy belonged to which party – the key ‘Blind Date’ ingredient). For example, delegates chose from the following policies on fuel type (can you match the policy to the party!?):
Party A We will support fracking for shale gas, seek to rejuvenate the coal industry, end subsidies for wind turbines and photovoltaic arrays and support renewable energy where it can deliver electricity at competitive prices.
Party B We will ban fracking, phase out coal power stations and say no to nuclear and invest in a public programme of renewable energy generation.
Party C We will continue to support the safe development of shale gas…halt the spread of onshore wind farms…sign a deal to build the first new nuclear power station in a generation…and committing £1 billion for carbon capture and storage.
Party D We will continue to support a moratorium on fracking. We will seek to maximise support for offshore wind.
Party E We will work to make Britain a world leader in low carbon technologies over the next decade, creating a million additional green jobs…We will create an Energy Security Board to plan and deliver the energy mix we need, including renewables, nuclear, green gas, carbon capture and storage and, clean coal.
Party F We will carry on greening our electricity, getting rid of coal generation by 2025 and setting an ambitious power sector decarbonisation target.
Energy PhD students want a date with…(Natalie Louise Bennett)
The results came in and the winner (perhaps unsurprisingly for a conference full of energy PhD students and academics) was the Green Party, with 40.2% of the vote, followed closely by the Liberal Democrats (34.4%) and with the ruling party, the Conservatives, coming in third with 10.8% of the vote. Who will you vote for on 7 May? The choice is yours… (but don’t listen to Russell Brand – GO OUT AND VOTE!).
The conference was organised by members of the London-Loughborough Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand: Selin Yilmaz, Francesco Babich (Loughborough University), Tom Neeld and Moira Nicolson (UCL).
 UKIP, Mini Manifesto 2015, http://www.ukip.org/ukip_manifesto_summary.
 Green Party, Mini Manifesto 2015, http://issuu.com/thegreenparty/docs/minimanifesto2015_pages_?e=16672391/12248659
 Conservative Party, Manifesto, https://www.conservatives.com/manifesto.
 SNP, Manifesto, http://votesnp.com/docs/manifesto.pdf.
 Labour, Manifesto, http://www.labour.org.uk/page/-/BritainCanBeBetter-TheLabourPartyManifesto2015.pdf.