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Unlocking building sustainability

Conference

Overview

This two-day Royal Society conference will bring together key stakeholders from across the building sector to highlight opportunities and challenges associated with unlocking building sustainability.

Unlocking Building Sustainability

Background

Over 170,000 new homes were built over the year ending June 2019 with a UK Government commitment to deliver homes that are high-quality, well designed and good for the planet. In parallel, the roughly 28 million existing homes use 35% of the UK’s total energy consumption and emit 20% of CO2 emissions. 

A recent CLC report indicates that the Government’s retrofit strategy will not meet net 2050 targets. Rapid interventions are required and will need a coordinated effort, system-based thinking, employing new and available technologies, and a roadmap to the upskilling of ~ 500,000 new professionals.

This Royal Society meeting will gather key stakeholders across the construction, energy, and materials sectors to discuss the technical, supply chain, regulation, and economic issues and interventions required to achieve net-zero targets for buildings by 2050.

Speakers will examine how the industry is functioning, explore systems-based approaches to building sustainability and highlight existing and emerging solutions within New Build and Retrofit, and examine the path to unlocking building sustainability in the UK. 

About the conference series

This scientific meeting is part of the Royal Society’s Transforming our Future conference series generously supported by AstraZeneca. These meetings are unique, high-level events that address the scientific and technical challenges of the next decade. Each conference features cutting edge science from industry and academia and brings together leading experts from the scientific community, including regulatory, charity and funding bodies.

Event organisers

Select an organiser for more information

Schedule of talks

01 September

13:00-13:30

Opening remarks and Keynote

2 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Adam Locke, Partnership and Innovation Leader, Laing O'Rourke

13:00-13:05 Opening remarks

Professor Peter Bruce FRS, University of Oxford, UK

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13:05-13:30 Strategy and overview of challenges in reaching net zero

13:30-14:30

Viewing buildings as a whole system

3 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Adam Locke, Partnership and Innovation Leader, Laing O'Rourke

13:30-13:50

Dervilla Mitchell CBE FREng, Deputy Chair, Arup Group

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13:50-14:10

Keith Waller, Programme Director, Construction Innovation Hub

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14:10-14:30

Joanna Clarke, Design Manager, SPECIFIC, Swansea University

Abstract

This presentation will provide an introduction to SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre, Swansea University and the Active Building concept they have developed as a solution to support the transition to a low carbon built environment. Active Buildings support local and national electricity grid networks by integrating renewable energy technologies, energy storage and smart controls for heat, power and transport. These buildings have a critical role to play in helping the UK Government meet their 2050 decarbonisation targets. SPECIFIC have designed and constructed several Active Building demonstrators, which utilise innovative technologies and incorporate extensive monitoring to test new models for reducing the operational energy and carbon of buildings. Learnings from these case studies will be presented. Finally, an Active Building Toolkit developed to aid the design of further Active Building projects will be introduced.

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14:30-14:45

Break

14:45-16:30

Delivering and scaling sustainable new build projects

4 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Adam Locke, Partnership and Innovation Leader, Laing O'Rourke

14:45-15:05

Sam Stacey, Challenge Director, Transforming Construction, Innovate UK

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15:05-15:20

Peter Licence, Professor of Chemistry & Director, The GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory, University of Nottingham

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15:35-15:50

Professor Gabriela M. Medero, Heriot-Watt University

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15:50-16:30 Panel Discussion: Is the UK's New Build market effective in delivering the UKs sustainability objectives?

Professor Gabriela M. Medero, Heriot-Watt University
Sam Stacey, Challenge Director, Transforming Construction, Innovate UK
Peter Licence, Professor of Chemistry & Director, The GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory, University of Nottingham

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02 September

12:45-14:30

Scalable solutions to sustainable retrofitting

5 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Dr Fiona Riddoch, Royal Society Science Industry and Translation Committee

12:45-13:05

Brian Berry, Chief Executive, Federation of Master Builders

Abstract

The UK Government has a legal obligation to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Our existing homes contribute 20% of carbon emissions so without a strategy to make our homes greener and more energy efficient the Government won't deliver its target. What is needed is a long term National Retrofit Strategy to make our existing homes more energy efficient. This requires a co-ordinated approach to help create a sustainable retrofit market bringing together consumer information, financial incentives, measures to help create capacity in the construction sector and recognised standards.

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13:05-13:20

Adrian M Joyce, Secretary General, EuroACE

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13:20-13:35

Emily Braham, Director, Energiesprong UK

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13:35-13:50

Andrew Bissell, Chief Executive Officer, Sunamp Ltd

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13:50-14:30 Panel Discussion: Scalable solutions to sustainable retrofitting

Brian Berry, Chief Executive, Federation of Master Builders
Adrian M Joyce, Secretary General, EuroACE
Emily Braham, Director, Energiesprong UK
Andrew Bissell, Chief Executive Officer, Sunamp Ltd

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14:30-14:50

Break

14:50-17:00

Approaches to policy intervention and de-risking of innovation

5 talks Show detail Hide detail

Chairs

Dr Fiona Riddoch, Royal Society Science Industry and Translation Committee

14:50-15:15

Dame Judith Hackitt DBE FREng, Chair of MakeUK and Independent Adviser to UK Government on Building Safety

Abstract

Four years on from the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower new regulation is now making its way through Parliament that will bring once in a generation change to the way in which high rise residential buildings are designed, constructed and managed throughout occupation. The new legislation will implement the findings of Dame Judith’s review "Building a Safer Future" which concluded in  May 2018 that the current system was not fit for purpose. As the industry takes on the challenges of delivering net zero it is essential that we do not lose sight of other imperatives – including the need to build dwellings that are safe for people to live in. This presentation will focus on the need to meet multiple objectives if we are to deliver truly sustainable solutions.

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15:15-15:30

Dr Joanne Wade OBE, Chief Strategic Advisor, The Association for Decentralised Energy

Abstract

The UK will only be able to decarbonise its energy system by getting users engaged and investing in energy efficiency, low carbon heat and providing smart flexibility. For this to happen, the energy system must work for the user. The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) works closely with its members, government and other key stakeholders to shape a policy and regulatory landscape that will deliver such a system. Joanne will explain the ADE’s aims and highlight some of the policy and thought leadership work that it delivers on its members’ behalf.

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15:30-15:45

Nick Mabey, Co-founding Director and Chief Executive, E3G

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15:45-16:00

Peter Sweatman, Chief Executive, Climate Strategy & Partners

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16:00-17:00 Panel Discussion: Policy agenda and de-risking technical uncertainties in the industry

Dame Judith Hackitt DBE FREng, Chair of MakeUK and Independent Adviser to UK Government on Building Safety
Dr Joanne Wade OBE, Chief Strategic Advisor, The Association for Decentralised Energy
Nick Mabey, Co-founding Director and Chief Executive, E3G
Peter Sweatman, Chief Executive, Climate Strategy & Partners

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