UK’s Largest Construction Event
London recently hosted the Ecobuild event, which showcases sustainable design and construction products. Indeed, it is one of the world’s biggest events revolving around the built environment. Ecobuild was run in conjunction with the UK Green Building Council (GBC), from the 5th to the 7th of March. Apart from the exhibition of products, Ecobuild also hosts conferences, seminars and guest speakers, focusing on construction and environmental issues.
The Green Deal
The event comes just after the government’s announcement of the Green Deal loan scheme, which enables house owners to install numerous energy-saving technologies without having to pay for them up front. Instead, they can take out a loan from the government in order to become more energy efficient, with an interest rate of 7%.
A Prime Prize
Numerous sustainability and innovation awards are handed out at Ecobuild – one of the most prestigious winners was Downing Street, home to the prime minister and chancellor. The landmark building has undergone extensive refurbishment and renovation, but these alterations are environmentally sustainable. Some of the changes include the installation of low energy lamps and motion-detecting lighting, thermal insulation, waste heat recovery from computers to warm water, rainwater collection for garden irrigation, utility monitoring, timber sourced from sustainable and legal sources, and the recycling of 90% of the construction waste.
Follow the Green Brick Road
The UK has a long way to go if it is to meet its target of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. The public, however, seems to be catching onto the green construction trend– due to rising utility costs, the prospect of an environmentally sustainable home with low energy consumption is appealing.
Products showcased at the exhibition included a mineral-based imitation concrete flooring system, which is entirely biodegradable; an air-flushing toilet; an anaerobic digester system that can process food waste and generate electricity as well as fertilizer/mulch; and a central heating clock that switches off the boiler according to the temperature outside and maintains the internal heat by reradiating it. There were also plenty of solar solutions on display, as well as energy-efficient boilers, electronically tinted glass windows and green construction tools.
Meanwhile, retailer Marks & Spencer announced its new green lease policy at Ecobuild, which contains a clause making it easier for the company to improve the environmental credentials of retail buildings that it rents from tenants. Tenants and landlords will be required to share information regarding gas, electricity and water usage. Although landlords are not obliged to implement energy-saving measures, the clause could lead the way for greater cooperation between retailers and building owners, which would benefit both parties if cost-effective devices were put in place.
With over 850 exhibitors, 1100 speakers and 140 seminars and talks, Ecobuild 2013 can be considered a rousing success.
Grace Matthews is a London-based lifestyle blogger who thinks a mezzanine floor can make the world of difference when pressed for space in a loft or commercial office building.