Thursday, 31 July 2014

Educating on energy efficiency

GEA ConsultingLimited are registered Low Carbon Consultants and Low Carbon Energy Assessors and specialise in the provision of climate change consultancy, carbon reduction management, energy audits/surveys and Display Energy Certificates.

They have been working with local schools to share tips on energy efficiency and to help students understand the importance and benefits of reducing demand. Research shows that pupils who are empowered to take action on energy become more positive towards environmental issues.

In this guest post, GEA share some of their tips and resources.

Growing Up Green

Businesses across all sectors are increasingly focussed on energy reduction; not only for the obvious cost saving benefits, but also in achieving their corporate social responsibility strategies.

But what about Schools?

Reducing energy use has many advantages for schools: it of course saves money and reduces carbon emissions but also improves the learning environment and can enhance a school’s reputation.

In schools, the education of children about the different types and sources of energy, along with energy saving measures, is becoming more popular every year.
Research has shown that where pupils are empowered to take action on energy, their attitude to other environmental issues becomes more positive.
Education in energy reduction should be a requirement of all areas of the curriculum and should be incorporated into all subjects.

Getting Involved

To be really effective, the whole school must be involved in energy saving; by motivating staff and pupils through lessons, as well as providing practical advice on how to go about saving energy, a whole school approach can reduce the school’s carbon footprint.

One of the best ways of getting the whole school involved is by holding a School Energy Saving Day. This engages both staff and pupils through such activities as games, quizzes and energy saving presentations.

It gets everyone involved in understanding the importance of energy efficiency and how this can affect the environment and importantly how it can save the school money that could be spent elsewhere on educational materials and resources. Activities include:

Energy Quiz: Covering energy saving and the environment; the aim of the quiz is to be educational and fun; a prize for the highest score!

Design the Sign: Pupils get to design a sign to remind everyone to switch off the lights; the winners design will be put up around the School!

Crack the Carbon: A short presentation on energy savings and the effects on the environment; lots of sounds and pictures to keep the pupils engaged!

BECI Race: What is a BECI and how does it work; followed by a race to see who can put up their BECI Stickers first, a prize for the first team back!

Continuing the Ideas

Why not appoint pupils as energy monitors? To switch off computers and lights as well as shutting doors and windows; this can also act as useful housekeeping several times a day.

The ‘Design the Sign’ could become a term activity with the winner having their sign displayed for the entire term. Pupils can also be encouraged to produce their own classroom BECI’s with an understanding of annual energy usage and how this is measured and calculated.

Eco-Schools is an initiative to help schools become environmentally friendly in both the curriculum and the management of the school. The prestigious Eco-Schools flag is awarded to schools which meet the criteria. To find out more visit:

Thursday, 17 July 2014

How BIM is recognised by the CIBSE Building Performance Awards

Written by Hywel Davies, CIBSE Technical Director and Chair of the Building Performance Awards Judging Panel

Some feedback from our members on the CIBSE Building Performance Awards (BPA) suggests a wish for a Building Information Modelling (BIM) award. On the face of it, with everyone talking about BIM, that would be an obvious winner. But on reflection, is it as easy as all that? What are the criteria for a "BIM Award"? Attractive 3D images? Entrants who say that they are using Level 2 BIM? Arguably, with government still developing the standards and protocols needed for Level 2 BIM nobody can be doing level 2 BIM yet. 

BIM is about helping to produce buildings that work better for the owners, occupiers and even those who buy or use the products or services generated in the building. Or else BIM is about enabling better or more effective creation and management of built environment assets over the whole life. So at what point in the life of an asset that has been procured using BIM do we decide it is an award winner? Twelve months? Five years? Ultimately, BIM is a tool, and not an end in itself. The end game is better collaboration that produce better performing buildings, hence the Collaborative Working Partnership Award.

For more information about the Collaborative Working Partnership Award visit Deadline for entries to the CIBSE BPA 2015 close on Thursday, 11 September 2014.

For more information about the work that CIBSE is doing in relation to BIM visit