2 March 2011
Ecobuild, the world’s biggest event for the sustainable
built environment, kicked off yesterday at ExCeL in
Capita Symonds’ revolutionary ‘Cool Workspace’ installation
provided event-goers with a unique insight into the sustainable
office of the future. The 10m x 15m structure has been designed to
showcase how companies can reduce energy by up to 50% through the
use of the latest sustainable technologies, increase productivity,
and take advantage of the latest innovative commercial models for
As well as interactive features such as a touchdown space, a
table football game and QR codes, it also features a ‘Brain Cloud’
which is powered by an exercise bike to demonstrate the
possibilities of green energy.
The installation also hosted a special ‘Pecha Kucha’ event
during the evening. Created in Tokyo, this innovative style of
presentation encourages a rapid promotion and exchange of ideas
based around a loose format of ’20 images in 20 seconds’.
Featuring Gurvinder Khurana, Essentia Designs; Fergus Brown, Bene;
Liane Hartley, Mend; Joseph Tefler, Virtus; and Andrew Pryke,
Capita Symonds, the event’s theme was ‘Electric Dreams and
Nightmares’. The protagonists discussed what they consider to be
good and bad working environments, touching upon homeworking,
poetry, soft furnishings and toilets with views…
One of the other highlights of day one was Capita Symonds and
Parsons Brinckerhoff’s highly innovative session on community
engagement. Featuring Capita Symonds’ Lisa Skinner and Emily
Hamilton, and PB’s Lynne Ceeney, the seminar began by recreating a
typical community scenario – The Wattlecombe Consultation Meeting –
complete with hawkish developers, vociferous NIMBYs, concerned
local businesses, and worried politicians.
The session’s central theme was centered around the government’s
Localism Bill which proposes to decentralise decision making,
giving local authorities and communities greater autonomy in
choosing how to deliver council’s services, offering communities
tools to help design, plan and deliver their visions of a
The Department for Communites and Local Government, however, has
already been flooded with comments relating to whether
community-led sustainable development is practicable and whether
local communities visions will be similar to the strategic visions
of local authorities. What’s more, there is also a perceived danger
that the bill will skew the system against developers.
The session highlighted the need for continuous dialogue between
the community, developers, local authority and other stakeholders
throughout the development process, listening and reacting to each
other and being collectively involved in the decision making
process. Only through such two-way community engagement will
development proposals have the necessary buy-in which will be
critical to success under the new system.
The seminar also discussed the role of new communication
channels such as Facebook in facilitating genuine dialogue between
Day one also saw Capita Symonds’ Anthony Petrilli speaking on
‘Implications for construction sector’ as part of the session:
‘Refurbishing Britain: A plan for every home. Anthony discussed the
industry’s response to the Climate Change Act 2008 which targets
the UK to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to at least
80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
Suzanne Roberts of Capita Symonds, meanwhile, took part in the
‘Regulations Revealed: CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme - beyond the
introductory phase’ session, updating delegates on the scheme, who
it applies to, what are the qualifying parameters and resulting
obligations, how it works, key dates and phases.
The keynote address on day two (Wednesday) will be delivered by
celebrated architect/planner Sir Terry Farrell under the title
Shaping a Sustainable London: The World’s First Industrial City to
the World’s Most Liveable Metropolis. Professor Brian Cox,
meanwhile, will be providing a collective swoon when he speaks at
the ‘Can Science Save Us?’ conference.
On Thursday Capita Symonds’ Yianni Spanos will be speaking on
‘Smart metering specification and roll out update’’ in the ‘Energy
in Buildings: The Future’s Efficient, the Future’s Smart’ seminar
which takes place at 14.15-15.45 in South Gallery Room 29.