Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Graduate of the Year 2017 Winner Raphael Amajuoyi shares his story

What would you tell employers are the most important things about attracting, inspiring and engaging graduate engineers?

I believe that we all aspire to be “better tomorrow than we are today” and this is instrumental when looking to start a career. The most important thing for employers to attract young talent would be to meet this aspiration by offering opportunities for growth and fostering a continual development culture.

What do you remember about the evening?

The CIBSE graduate of the year 2017 awards evening was a very special one for me. It’s very hard to find one word or sentence that summarises the experience because there was a lot to take in. Arriving at the IMechE around 16:00 for protocol briefing, meeting the competition whilst trying to suppress the nerves was the biggest challenge of the evening for me.

I remember getting ready for my mic-check and staring into the empty auditorium hoping that I would be able to deliver my presentation as I had done several times in the mirror at home. The welcome reception was important as it allowed me to come down to mingle with family, friends and colleagues before my presentation time at 18:00.

The time has just gone past 18:00 and I have been called from the ‘preparation room’ to get ready. I remember pacing up and down the corridor steaming with anxiety and excitement. The doors open, and I walk up to the podium…and the rest as they say is history.

What inspired you to apply for Graduate of the Year

I sat down at a CIBSE dinner the year prior and was asked by a colleague if I would be willing to submit an entry. At the time, I had been in the industry for approx. 1 year but felt I still had a lot to learn about building services and did not want to rush. I knew I had another year to apply (meeting the maximum 2 years’ post-graduation entry requirement) so decided to sit the GOY 2016 out and continue developing my skills to put a more informed entry forward in 2017.

As a Graduate Consultant in Energy and Sustainability, I felt a lot of attention was geared towards the Mechanical and Electrical Engineers with no significant representation of young professionals working in Sustainability. My GOY application was focused on shedding some light on our subdivision within the industry and provided an opportunity for me to take our perspective in answering this years’ questions.

How did you employer support you during the process and after you won

Hurley Palmer Flatt were amazing through the process and provided me with everything I needed from time and resources to mentorship. I would like to use this opportunity to thank them all (too many individual names to list, but they know who they are) for their help in preparing for the presentation and after winning the award.

What surprised you most about winning Graduate of the Year

One of my main concerns in preparing for the award was the presentation time of 5 minutes. I studied building design and modelling degrees at both undergraduate and postgraduate level so quite familiar with giving presentations to an audience, however, they were always 10 – 15mins long.
What surprised me the most was how I could get all my points across within the limited time frame.

What would you tell others who are interested in applying for Graduate of the Year

Go for it!
Funnily enough, that’s what I was told, the year prior. It has been an amazing experience and one that I will never forget. I have spoken to past winners and other participants who have all said they do not regret getting involved. The reality is, there can only be one winner, congratulations to whoever that is, but for the rest, the experience is one that will only add to your skillset and benefit you in the future.

How has winning helped you in your career so far?

It has been a vital part in allowing me to grow as a Consultant. Winning the award has given me the confidence to approach challenges with an open mind and element of self-belief to achieve things that seem somewhat impossible.

Hard work, dedication...” has been a fundamental phrase since getting ready for the final presentation. It saw me through to winning the award on the night and hope it will be there for all future challenges yet to come.

For more information about the award and to enter this year,  visit the CIBSE website.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Employer of the Year 2017 InTandem share their story

Initially we believed that these Awards were for other people, however, InTandem was encouraged to apply for Employer of the Year by a number of customers after working in partnership with them to raise the level of BEMS knowledge among their mechanical and electrical engineers. We are extremely pleased we did get involved with the Awards as the recognition and connection with Young Engineers has been terrific.

Once we got started with the application (an easy process via the on-line form), we realised that the intiatives we implement to develop our own staff’s knowledge and skills were not being as widely adopted by the industry as we had assumed. Most of these methods (industrial placements/internships/mentoring/work experience) are readily accessible to all businesses all over the UK. However, maybe there is little knowledge of such schemes or lack of confidence to engage with them.

From our experience over a number of years, we have found that these College/University placements and mentoring bring huge benefits to businesses not only for the duration of the schemes but also in the long run in terms of recruitment and employee engagement and retention.

There are many quoted statistics regarding the ‘shortage of engineers’ and the ‘skills gap’ and these can be seen as such big numbers that they only make sense to Politicians. For us there is a very strong business case and social responsibility to get new talent connected with our business and with multiples of these small connections, the big statistics will take care of themselves.

At a time when engineering has the 4th highest talent shortage globally (Source: Manpower Group), it has never been more important to attract a diversity of new engineers into our industry while continuing to upskill our existing engineers to keep up with demand.

Increased commitment to apprenticeships (especially in their new enhanced form ; Trailblazer Standards) and young engineers particularly, is critical to demonstrate that a career in our industry has many exciting prospects. This will also reinforce the fact that engineering as a profession can be creative, prosperous and rewarding and the Awards showcase this in the most inspirational way.

InTandem’s experienced engineers, many of them once apprentices themselves, offer day-to-day mentoring to those new recruits coming through – by ‘paying forward’ they ‘pay back’ the help that they were given just a few years ago.

This involves exposing young engineers to every aspect of the business (design & engineering/panel build/installation/problem solving/commissioning/strategy/graphics) to give individuals the opportunity to engage with the whole range of disciplines. A popular experience is live BMS monitoring via remote connection. This is a growing area and it’s often inspirational to view real time data, control process and alarms. This broad exposure to the industry helps both our new recruits and us to identify their aptitudes, interests and motivations for further development along the path of becoming a controls engineer.

Winning Employer of the Year 2017 has given InTandem staff some recognition and shared pride of the value of mentoring and the development of engineers on their career path. It has reinforced our beliefs in the importance of all engineers developing themselves and others. This whole process then ensures that the vast array of skills and knowledge is passed on and continually enhanced to benefit the engineer’s organisation and the wider building controls industry.

The increased exposure that InTandem received in the press after winning the award has raised our professional status in the industry, helped us consolidate existing customer confidence, enhanced our reputation and exposed us to new customer opportunities. We’ve also consolidated our relationships with our local university and colleges leading to even more young engineers applying to join us. Entering Employer of the Year has been hugely beneficial and we highly recommend you apply this year !

Interested in entering? For more information visit the Young Engineers Awards website.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Analysis by Hywel Davies - European Parliament approves revised EPBD

The European Parliament approved the final text of the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, or EPBD, on 17th April. First proposed as a part of the November 2016 ‘Clean energy for all Europeans’ package, which consisted of the revisions to the EPBD along with seven other legislative proposals, as well as other actions to help the EU meet its 2030 energy and climate goals.

The revision of the 2010 Directive maintains the main features of the existing EPBD whilst it modernises and streamlines some requirements. The changes support European goals and obligations to decarbonise the European building stock as part of the EU response to the Paris Agreement. A major focus of the revision is the transfer of the requirements for a national plan for the renovation of existing buildings from the energy efficiency directive. Whilst this is arguably of limited impact on the UK, because we already have the Climate Change Act and the Clean Growth Strategy, it will still help to focus attention on what is needed to upgrade the existing stock.

There is also a much greater emphasis on the provision of more financial support to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings. This renewed focus on the need to renovate the existing stock is a very welcome and necessary emphasis if the proposed reductions are to be delivered.

The revision also introduces new requirements for “electro-mobility” in buildings by specifying provision of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, and it introduces a ‘smartness indicator’ that is intended to assess the technological capability of a building for energy generation and consumption.

There is an addition to Article 7 on building renovation which requires that "Member States shall encourage, in relation to buildings undergoing major renovation, high-efficiency alternative systems, in so far as this is technically, functionally and economically feasible, and shall address the issues of healthy indoor climate conditions, fire safety and risks related to intense seismic activity."

This extends the focus of the Directive from energy to the wider aspects of building performance, as well as the issues of fire safety and of seismic activity, which is particularly relevant in southern areas of the EU. The inclusion of fire safety is especially notable from a UK perspective, given recent events, and serves to emphasise once again that energy efficiency cannot be viewed in isolation, but needs to be considered as part of a holistic and systematic approach to a building.

Annex 1, which describes how member states should go about setting national rules for calculation of the energy performance of buildings has also been revised, with more extensive requirements for what must be included, as well as a requirement to set the rules in line with a series of European Standards, and not just to “take account of” the standards.

The Annex is explicitly referenced in Article 3 on adoption of a methodology for calculating the energy performance of buildings, and clearly specifies that primary energy use of a building shall be stated in kWh/(m².y) for the purposes of energy certification and setting of minimum standards of energy efficiency in buildings. It also specifies what energy uses need to be considered in more detail.

Paragraph 2 of the Annex has been expanded so that it now requires that “the energy needs for space heating, space cooling, domestic hot water, ventilation, lighting and other technical building systems shall be calculated in order to optimise health, indoor air quality and comfort levels defined by Member States at national or regional level. The inclusion of health, indoor air quality and comfort into the calculation is a significant expansion of the scope of the Directive.

The final change is in the addition of a new Annex which describes a “common general framework for rating the smart readiness of buildings”, which is to be developed by the European Commission.

With a revision of Part L of the Building Regulation in England already promised to follow the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, it will be very interesting to see how the UK government approaches these changes. One could argue that as the new Directive does not come into force until December 2019, the Uk can ignore the Directive. However, given the recent wrangles over transitional arrangements, that may not be an option. And even if it is, the reality is that the UK needs to take serious steps to reduce the energy demand of its building stock if we are either to be able to satisfy demand in the coming years, or to meet the targets of the Climate Change Act, or indeed our likely commitments under the Paris Agreement. So we will need to engage seriously with the revised EPBD, and it is likely to feature in the discussions around the revision of Part L in the months to come.

Hywel Davies
CIBSE Technical Director

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Is Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Running on Empty?

Is Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Running on Empty?

An opinion piece from Tony Dennis, CEng MCIBSE

18 March 2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Robert (Bobby) Kennedy’s speech about the pitfalls of using Gross Domestic Product (GDP and GNP) as a proxy to measure a nation’s success and wellbeing. He stated
….It does not allow for the health of our children…..or the intelligence of our public debate….or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.’[1]

Before the United Nations required countries to collect data to report GDP, mid-20th century, the economist and chief architect of GDP, Simon Kuznets, had himself already warned against equating its growth with wellbeing,
 ‘The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measure of national income’ [2]. 
Evidently both men considered GDP to be an inappropriate measure of national wellbeing. GDP largely accounts for market transactions, but does not consider the social cost of decision-making or its impact on the environment and income inequality [3]. Consider that the devastation wrought from a hurricane, arguably induced through climate change, would boost GDP.

Using GDP is similar to having a fuel gauge permanently reading full when driving a car. A reality check with the first and second laws of thermodynamics tells us that perpetual motion is not possible and energy degrades in quality, disintegrating irreversibly with use and time (entropy being a measure of disorder) e.g. the first law would be false if work could be generated by an adiabatic, closed system, without a diminution of its internal energy. Little wonder then that patents globally are now closed to the consideration of all such machines!

By having GDP as the benchmarking economic metric aren’t we claiming the laws of thermodynamics are false? Using the earth as a perpetual motion machine with infinite bio-capacity? Assuming it can keep on producing without limit, with economic growth at all costs? Equating wellbeing with increased consumption and detached from the biosphere and ecosystem? These notions are seemingly the very antithesis of sustainable development? We hear that the West over-promotes material consumption when looking for success and satisfaction. The measure of GDP growth perhaps drives over-exploitation of earth’s natural capital, and diminution of its biocapacity, breaching fundamental ecological and planetary limits (the notions of Planetary Boundary Analysis and Ecological Foot-printing are explored in the upcoming revised Guide L). If everyone lived as the developed nations, we would need three planets to maintain our lifestyles [4]. As Robert Kennedy added,
 ‘Too much and for too long, we seem to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things’ [1]. 
Despite GDP’s indications, a glance in the analogous fuel tank can suggest we’re running on empty?

How might we address the anomaly? No other scientific law has contributed more to the liberation of the human spirit than the second law of thermodynamics. This is not surprising as it is the central law in science, and hence in the rational understanding of our universe, because it provides a foundation for understanding why any change occurs [5]. Even though the law’s natural default setting is for order to descend into disorder it nevertheless allows us to harness the flow of disorder to create new order and structure on our planet. As it also explains how life on earth is possible, our wellbeing necessitates that we shape our global social and economic policy around its boundary conditions. As engineers we know about harnessing energy flow to create new order, such as creating a living, working building system. By minimising entropy’s increase we uphold the quality of energy available to help sustain life. Perhaps this helps define sustainability and offers insight into the adventure that is engineering.

What could a new economic metric (or working fuel gauge) look like? It would weigh up the environmental impact and the social costs of economic production and consumption; in line with thermodynamic boundaries. In balancing market transactions against external costs, it would capture their negative or positive influence in overall health and well-being e.g. accounting for the costs borne by society to repair or control pollution and poverty. It would capture the cost-benefit of getting more energy from renewables; increased energy efficiency from our building systems; a circular economy; reducing the income gap; putting more durable products on the market; using mediation rather than adversarial litigation, volunteering in the community; preserving wetlands, forests, and farmland; shorter commutes – and all expressed in monetary units. Such metrics are taking shape, such as the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) [3]. If aligned with ecological footprinting and planetary boundary analysis, it would help bring more precision to the metric; helping in the process to identify a ‘Global Sustainable Development Quadrant’ for all sectors of society to target. See the UN’s Human Development Index combined with the well-being measurement index (HPI, New Economics Foundation), plotted against Ecological Footprint per person (see figure 1) [6].
Figure 1: The UN Human Development Index (HDI) measures a country’s average achievements in the areas of health, knowledge, and standard of living (0.8 is considered “very high human development”). The Happy Planet Index from the New Economics Foundation measures who gets the best lives per unit of renewable natural resource. The Ecological Footprint tells us how much of the earth’s bioproductive areas are needed to provide for that development (if less than 1.71 global hectares per person (GHA/p) then a country’s resource demands are globally replicable). The UK’s Ecological Footprint is 5.05 GHA/person (2013).
Do we want a metric that will help to sustain life or one that will continue to profligate its demise at the expense of our wellbeing? Do we want a metric that will support the uptake of sustainable practice or one that will continue to oppose it? As the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz pointed out to the World Economic Forum in Davos (2016), in relation to the shortcomings of GDP, 
“What we measure informs what we do. And if we are measuring the wrong thing, we are going to do the wrong thing”.
 Necessity would therefore say that the sooner GDP is replaced with a metric fit for purpose the better – and perhaps Robert Kennedy would have approved of that.

References/Further Reading

[1] Kennedy, R. F. Remarks at the University of Kansas, March 18, 1968. [For full speech see and search the above].
[2] Simon Kuznets in report to the Congress, 1934; Cited in: Gernot Kohler, ‎Emilio José Chaves (2003) Globalization: Critical Perspectives. p. 336
[3] Time to leave GDP behind; Costanza, R, et al (Vol 505, Nature 285, Macmillan Publishers Limited. 2014)
[4] One Planet Living - The case for Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Post - 2015 development agenda, Schoon, N., Seath, F., Jackson, L. 2013
[5] The Laws of Thermodynamics; a very short introduction. Atkins, P. Oxford University Press 2010
[6] Sustainable development: two indices, two different views, The Global Footprint Network. See

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

So much for taking back control. Hywel Davies, CIBSE Technical Director, highlights some concerns about the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Post Brexit, the Government’s message was that all EU legislation will be copied into domestic UK law to ensure a smooth transition and to avoid a “black hole in our statute book” on the day after the UK leaves the European Union.

This was the promise of the White Paper on leaving the EU, which was published in March 2017. To deliver this, the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is the key plank of legislation, which sets out to replace the 1972 European Communities Act. However, ClientEarth, an organisation of activist lawyers committed to protecting the environment, has looked at the draft of the Withdrawal Bill and it has raised some serious concerns that in its current format not everything in EU law will be transposed into UK law.

In relation to fully transferring current EU requirements into UK law, there has been a long running issue over the status of the text of Regulations and Directives which precedes the numbered Articles. This text appears in numbered paragraphs known as Recitals. Whilst in mainland Europe these are clearly understood to be part of the legal text, and set out the philosophy or spirit of the legislation alongside the specific provisions of the Articles. In UK law this is not the case, and the important background principles set out in the Recitals are not treated as being part of the law. There is an extension to this in that there are principles which are set out in the EU treaties and underpin EU legislation. ClientEarth have noted that these principles are not retained at present in the drafting of the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Another concern raised is that the Bill transfers too much power from MPs and Peers to Government Ministers and the civil service by allowing important decisions to be made behind closed doors. This is because most EU legislation is implemented in UK law using secondary legislation – Statutory Instruments such as the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations in England and Wales. These Regulations are prepared by Ministers and officials and laid in Parliament without any significant scrutiny. Where this was done to transpose EU legislation into UK law, the parent EU measure would have been through extensive consultation during its development, and had been approved by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers on behalf of the Member States.

But now the secondary legislation will be open to amendment or repeal without any such safeguards. This opens the UK Government to exactly the same criticisms of unaccountability many Brexiters levelled at the European Commission. ClimateEarth refers to this lack of accountability as a ‘democratic deficit’.

I would argue that for detailed engineering and technical regulations there is also a serious risk of a technical deficit too if ministers change laws without taking advice, or are poorly advised by civil servants or sectional interests. There may be potentially serious unintended consequences which could be avoided with a bit of proper engagement with those who really understand the technical requirements in a way that the civil service may not.

Effectively, what ClimateEarth is saying is that if we are not very careful, ministers are going to be able to meddle with EU-derived law on a whim without proper public or parliamentary scrutiny. This could run the risk of ideologically-driven ministers changing laws that have been the subject of due process just because they don’t like them. That is wrong; there is a process to be gone through and an argument to be won. It is also not without precedent, as those familiar with the 2015 consultation on “improving and streamlining the Display Energy Certificate regime” will know. This was based on a thoroughly flawed technical analysis of the Directive and the Regulations, and proposed what many felt was a total gutting of an important energy efficiency measure.

Another ClimateEarth concern with the Bill in its current form is that it could lead to a reduction in standards. One reason for this is that UK law differs from European law in that most of Europe the law works on the basis of the principles and intent of the law (the precautionary principle), whereas in the UK we, pretty much, work on the letter of the law.

This difference becomes important because the treaties set out principles, so that when a European lawyer looks at a piece of European legislation, they do so in the context of what Europe is trying to achieve. This is why ClimateEarth say that the Bill fails explicitly to retain the overarching principles of EU environmental law, such as the precautionary principle, that shape and direct environmental law and policy, assist in the interpretation of environmental law, and which are currently part of EU law.

Basically, if the UK government is not firmly committed to the precautionary principle, then if something is not written down in the letter of the directives a UK court could say: ‘Ministers have talked about the precautionary principle, but since it is not written into UK law it is not binding’. This is a serious concern.

ClimateEarth also highlights an issue that the Bill does not “fully convert EU Directives by losing recitals and provisions including important environmental safeguards and obligations - including crucial reporting and reviewing obligations - that are currently incorrectly or incompletely transposed in UK domestic law.

There has, for example, been a longstanding concern that the UK has not properly implemented the EPBD. As it stands the Withdrawal Bill means that if we haven’t properly transposed a piece of EU law, then there will be no scope to fix it after we leave. I think this could be an issue that is particularly relevant to revisions to the EPBD, which are likely to come into force before we leave the EU and should, therefore, be transposed. However, the incomplete and incorrect transposition mechanism might mean that if the revisions are published close to the UK’s departure date that they might not be transposed and there will be nothing we can do about it.

The last major concern highlighted by ClimateEarth is what it calls ‘a governance gap’. This is the result of the UK not adequately setting out a pathway for replacing governance functions, such as ensuring proper implementation, compliance and enforcement of environmental law, which are currently undertaken by EU institutions.

Last month, Michael Gove, Secretary of State for DEFRA, announced the formation of a new ‘commission-like body’ to enforce environmental law after Brexit. There is, however, no guarantee that the new body will fully address this governance gap after the Minister signalled that the government would consult on the role and powers such a new body might have.

The gaps identified by ClientEarth in the Withdrawal Bill could have crucial environmental and democratic significance for the UK post Brexit. There is only a short timeframe in which to amend the Bill. Let’s hope that the government does so and soon, because the environmental issues EU laws were brought in to address are as valid now, if not more so, than they were when the laws were first introduced.

Julie Godefroy’s opinion piece ‘Achieving a green Brexit’ in the CIBSE Journal also addresses this issue.  

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Transforming a Slough waste-recycling centre using Green Infrastructure

As Green Infrastructure Design Challenge 2017 winners we’ve been invited to share our experience of being involved in the competition which was part of Green Sky Thinking Week 2017, so here goes ….

We are Louise and Stephen Handley, Landscape Designers at Amey plc. I must admit Stephen ‘fell’ upon the competition whilst ferreting through the Landscape Institute website. We don’t usually have time to enter competitions, but the brief for the Green Infrastructure Design Challenge corresponded closely with a project we were working on for Amey, and as designers anything that allows you to play with a project is welcome!

The live project was a planning application to convert a piece of land near our offices to an additional car park, extra spaces being needed because our offices are merging with the local authority and an increase in staff will follow.

The site is currently green (e.g. grass) and acts as a flood defence for the adjacent stream - the area being in a 1 in 100 chance of annual flood zone. Our proposals aimed to lessen the impact of a hard surfaced car park on a sensitive site and improve the space’s function as flood defence. We integrated rain garden clusters, swales and porous surfacing into the scheme.

The Challenge brief called for measures to be proposed for both the interior and the wider public realm, so we integrated the exterior treatment of the building with the external space and then connected this to the new car park with a ‘green walk’ which incorporated tree planting and a dense hedge.

Although this was a design competition, we approached the brief as if it were a realisable project, experimenting with ideas for improving the existing offices, whilst considering how future development of the building and site could incorporate Green Infrastructure measures and new technology.

The Green Infrastructure Adaptation Strategy we developed for the site used first-hand experience from current occupants and the CIBSE Design Summer Year (DSY) and Test Reference Year (TRY) files to help us guestimate the adaptation measures which may be needed from 2020. The issues we highlighted in the strategy provided us with principles for the design, such as:-

 internal comfort and building fabric
 external comfort and building facade
 drainage, attenuation, and flooding
 landscape features
 landscape innovation

Our office building is a ‘peach’ of a poor environment for people to work in. Sandwiched between a waste transfer station and a sewage pumping station, and bordered by the M4, its construction and aspect ticks all the boxes for overheating in the summer, poor insulation, poor air quality, ventilation etc. We knew that the introduction of vegetation into the offices would benefit the occupants in terms of wellbeing and air quality, but we also knew that the lack of natural light in some of the deeper corners of the building would be a problem in terms of growing. This problem led us to looking at hydroponic growing with artificial light (no… not that) and in turn we discovered a company called Plant-e, who have developed and patented a way to produce light and energy from living plants.

‘Fantastic!’ cried the enthusiastic designers, ‘we’ll just grow stuff vertically under red and blue LED lights, powered by plants!’ ‘Errmm …’ cautioned the scientists at Plant-e, ‘not so sure about that, but we could certainly experiment with the idea.’ So we had interesting conversations about fitting PMFCs (plant microbial fuel cells) into hydroponic units and storing solar power from the roof in batteries which could power the fuel cells, and we developed conceptual vertical units to grow edible plants which could be tended and eaten by the office staff.

Given that the building is to house more staff and their comfort and wellbeing should be considered as important to productivity, we decided to take out a section of the front elevation and install an atrium where the additional much needed sunlight is filtered by screens of plants, both outside and inside. The external walls and roofs are clothed in vegetation which will improve both summer and winter insulation issues and act as attenuation for heavy rainfall, and this in turn will be directed to rain gardens in the ground plane. Large scale tree and hedge planting will address heat island, air pollution, and shading issues – all of which are current problems.

Click here to view our winning entry.

Our challenge experience

Competition work stretches your thinking beyond your comfort zone, this one is no exception.
We have gained valuable knowledge which has now become part of our design approach for all new projects.

We have made interesting new contacts – notably Plant-e in the Netherlands, Shelley Mosco, research assistant for the Landscape and Environmental Research Group at Greenwich University, and of course Anastasia Mylona, Research Manager at CIBSE and the ARCC network.

Flexibility in the site selection allowed participants to interrogate their own chosen building and public realm, and then allow the brief to guide how to approach the site.

The CIBSE Analysis formats - Climate Change Risk Assessment, Adaptation Strategy etc were invaluable in helping to structure the information that we needed in order to develop the design.

Thank you and goodbye for now.

Click here to find out more about the CIBSE / UKCIP Green Infrastructure Design Challenge and how to enter for the 2018 competition.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Plan - Do - Check - Act

Many UK businesses are looking to increase efficiency and reduce energy costs. Whether as part of an overall corporate strategy, a route to organisational efficiency or a key focus of a cost or carbon reduction drive, monitoring and managing your energy use effectively makes sound business sense. But what steps can companies take to manage their energy use? CIBSE takes a look at ISO 50001 and the business opportunities associated with it.

ISO 50001, the globally recognised energy management standard developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation, is the key tool in that process.

It provides a framework for effectively managing the energy that an organisation uses in its premises. It helps organisations understand where they are using energy, how that energy use can be managed effectively, and how consumption and costs can be controlled into the future.

The standard is effectively a framework to:

  • Develop policies and approaches for the more efficient use of energy
  • Help set organisation targets and objectives 
  • Use data to better understand and make decisions about energy use
  • Monitor, review and improve on an ongoing basis.

Conformity with ISO 50001, confirmed through official third party certification, can be a route to a range of business benefits. It allows organisations to demonstrate responsible and efficient energy management, and can provide returns in energy and cost savings, and employee engagement. It can also give organisations an important business edge, in public relations and satisfy tender requests for responsible energy management.

Steps to managing your energy use
Constant monitoring allows companies to review and develop their energy management processes

ISO 50001 follows a plan-do-check-act process, with organisations seeking certification needing to:

  • Plan – Create an energy plan with baseline indicators of energy performance, strategic and operative energy objectives and action plans
  • Do – Implement the plans, targeting improvements
  • Check – Check that the plans being put into action are proving effective, by monitoring, measuring, and comparing results with the initial objectives
  • Act – Review performance in regular reporting, to optimise and improve energy related performance and the energy management system.

The business opportunities

ISO 50001 is a relatively new standard, issued in 2011, but its uptake is growing rapidly. According to an ISO survey, almost 12,000 ISO 50001 certificates were issued in 2015, up 77% on the preceding year. It is now applied by major brand names in manufacturing industries, retail, financial services, communications and many other business sectors in the UK and internationally.

The standard is suitable for any business in any sector, although some organisations may be able to drive greater benefits than others, with more significant energy users having the greatest potential to make savings. That doesn’t mean, however, that the standard is only viable for major energy users, as it can form part of an integrated approach to energy management, and provide broad opportunities for business improvement.

How organisations can make the most of the ISO 50001 opportunity

The most popular way to demonstrate conformity with ISO 50001 is via third party certification. CIBSE Certification is an independent body, with UKAS accreditation to certify to this standard, and is backed by the recognised authority and expert building services knowledge of the global engineering body, CIBSE.

CIBSE Certification is UKAS accredited for the certification of ISO 50001

Want to know more?

CIBSE Training provides a course designed for energy professionals who are looking to gain an in-depth knowledge of the ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems (EnMS) standard, and also those who are tasked with designing, implementing and maintaining an EnMS that complies with the ISO standard.

Find out more:

CIBSE Certification operates a register of Low Carbon Consultants, all able to provide authoritative, expert advice on managing energy use, increasing efficiency and helping organisations implement an ISO 50001 compliant energy management system. The register contains more than 1,200 names, located across the UK, all of whom have undertaken an assessment to demonstrate their competence.

CIBSE Certification can also offer non-accredited certification for:

ISO 9001 Quality Management System
ISO 14001 Environment Management System
ISO 18001 Health and Safety Management System

To find out more and to check out the register of Low Carbon Consultants, visit the CIBSE Certification website: