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Archive for June, 2017

Above from left to right: Ms. Carmen Lau, Ms. Heidi Hui, Ms. Ketki Phanse, Mr. Rohan Rawte & Ir. Cary Chan.

IES has recently become a member of the Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC), which represents a strong network of green building experts. This aligns with IES’ objective to help promote sustainability and green building practices in the region, with the support of IES technology and initiatives.

Earlier this year, the Hong Kong Government released a new climate action report, outlining the long-term measures they intend to take to combat climate change and significantly reduce carbon emissions. The report outlined ambitious new targets to reduce Hong Kong’s carbon intensity by 65%-70% by 2030 (against 2005 levels) amounting to an absolute reduction of 26%-36% or 3.3 to 3.8 tonnes in per capita emissions by 2030.

With buildings currently accounting for around 90% of Hong Kong’s total energy consumption – yes, you read that right, 90%! – the built environment is the main contributor to carbon emissions in the city. Significant steps will need to be taken in the coming years to improve the environmental performance of Hong Kong’s buildings, if the Government targets are to be successfully achieved.

Recently, my colleague, Ms. Ketki Phanse, and I met with Ir. Cary Chan and his stellar team from the HKGBC to share and discuss our ideas on tackling the key sustainability issues facing Hong Kong’s green building industry. The meeting began with a presentation of some of IES’ key technology offerings which could be useful for building design as well as operation. I was able to share just some of the ways in which we can support the industry to improve the wellbeing of the people of Hong Kong and transform their city into a greener built environment. Ketki and I were in turn able to learn more about some of the projects the HKGBC are currently working on and identified some potential areas where IES may contribute. These include support for improved energy modelling processes in Hong Kong and the implementation of IES-SCAN/Ci2 technology and services, to monitor and optimise the ongoing operational performance of buildings across the region.

We have now set in motion a number of initiatives intended to support Hong Kong’s green building industry. This will include a programme of regular IES training and networking events and it is also our intention to provide improved energy modelling guidelines to engineers and architects across Hong Kong. We also plan to investigate further ways in which we can support programs that are linked to HKGBC such as the BEAM Plus rating system, used to assess sustainable building performance in Hong Kong, as well as options to assist building owners in achieving improved energy performance for their buildings.

Myself and the rest of the IES Asia team are looking forward to working closely with HKGBC over the coming months and into the foreseeable future.

Based in Hong Kong and interested to find out more about how IES can help you achieve green building goals? Watch out for details of IES training and networking events in due course or email me at rohan.rawte@iesve.com for further information.


In VE 2017, IES launched brand-new multiple simulation and optimisation capabilities. Designed to save you time and reduce project costs, these tools allow you to spend less time simulating and more time evaluating results. And that means increased value for your client, reduced error, higher quality results and the opportunity to integrate performance-led iterations and optimisation into your projects at a much earlier stage.

An outcome of our UMBRELLA R&D project, the Parametric, HONE and Elements tools are standalone tools that reference your VE model. The advantage being that the VE can then still be used whilst any parametric or optimisation studies are being performed. They allow you to run multiple simulations in significantly less time and quickly evaluate the ‘best’ solution to go with.

As an example of just how much time this could save you we looked at an old consulting project that involved 150,000 simulations. When we did the project back in 2015 it took our team 3 weeks to run all the simulations. Now using the new Parametric Tool it would only take them 2 days!

Project Brief: Assist Serge Ferrari by illustrating the impact of their high performing flexible composite material products on the heating/cooling demand, solar performance and comfort of the building as a whole, across a range of scenarios.

Project Overview:

  • 4 building types: offices, school, health and hotel
  • 3 types of glazing performance
  • 2 percentages of glazing
  • 10 locations worldwide
  • All Sergi Ferrari Flexible Composite Materials
  • 150 000 scenarios

If you want to find out more about the advanced capabilities and added value these tools offer to you and your end client, then join us at our free upcoming IES Faculty session in London on 11th July 9-12.30am, or read more about the Parametric Tool and HONE online.

Book for IES Faculty: VE2017 Unleashed here.

 

Cover Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash


This summer we’ve welcomed five female summer interns to the IES team – Galila Khougali (MEng Architectural Engineering, Heriot-Watt), Melanie Gines (MEng Architectural Engineering, Heriot-Watt), Agata Mamcarz (MEng Architectural Engineering, Heriot-Watt), Zoe Richardson (BSc Computing Science, Uniof the West of Scotland) and Ildiko Szabo (BSc Computing Science, Uniof the West of Scotland).

As a STEM employer we are striving to encourage and support more females stepping into STEM careers. Which is why we’ve become a member of Equate Scotland and have joined them in their Women in STEM campaign.

Three of this year’s interns were sourced via Careerwise – a ground breaking placement scheme exclusively for women studying STEM subjects at Scottish Universities and Colleges, provided by Equate Scotland.

The 5 students are working across IES in software development, web systems development and building services engineering. We work hard at IES to create a culture that welcomes in talented students and helps them develop first-hand experience that they can take on to progress their careers.

Every year we offer internships to students at Scottish Universities, many of whom go on to full time positions at IES. Keep an eye on the careers section of our website for upcoming opportunities.

It is estimated that only 25% of Scotland’s STEM sector are women. We will continue to try and do our part to increase this figure for the economical and social reasons outlined by Equate Scotland…

Increasing the number of women in STEM is the economically right thing to do – evidence tells us that a diverse workforce is a more profitable and successful industry.

Increasing the number of women in STEM is the socially right thing to do – the jobs of the future are in the STEM industry, we must open the doors to these jobs to women, or we risk locking them out of opportunity.

Over the past few decades, green building rating systems such as LEED and BREEAM have been firm fixtures of the global AEC industry and have helped the drive towards a more sustainable, resource efficient and environmentally conscious built environment. Whilst these rating systems have, to some extent, considered the comfort of the occupants using the buildings, the primary focus has been on efficiency and the impact our buildings have on the external environment.

This, of course, is a highly worthy cause which we must continue to pursue if we are to mitigate the impacts of climate change. However, the health and wellbeing of building occupants – now captured in the first-of-its-kind WELL Building Standard – is quickly establishing itself as another important focus for the industry. This is unsurprising, really, given the wider trend for wellness currently sweeping the globe.

In 2015, the Global Wellness Institute valued the total global wellness market at a staggering $3.7 trillion, covering everything from wellness tourism to healthy eating and nutrition. However, it was the global wellness real estate market that was found to be one of the fastest-growing wellness sectors between 2013-2015, growing an impressive 19% from $100 billion to $118.6 billion. In the same period, the global workplace wellness industry also grew 6.4%, highlighting a growing awareness amongst employers of how the office environment can affect the health, wellbeing and productivity of their staff – and, consequently, their overheads. (You can read more on this subject in our previous blog ‘Can productivity be modelled?’).

While we are well aware by now of the cognitive benefits arising from buildings that are designed with occupants’ health and wellbeing in mind (thanks to the findings of research such as the COGfx study), and of the economic benefits this can offer employers, there are certainly other factors contributing to the growing interest in “healthy” buildings.

A 2016 report from Saint-Gobain UK found that 30% of homeowners, buyers and renters would be willing to pay more for a home that would not impact on their health and wellbeing, highlighting citizens’ growing interest in their own personal health and wellbeing. With the prevalence of common health issues, such as asthma, allergies caused by poor indoor air quality, and increasing reports of sick building syndrome, homeowners and tenants are ready to demand higher wellbeing standards within their properties.

The technology in the healthy buildings space is also progressing and there has even been talk of smartphone pollution sensors and apps which will have the ability to alert users when they are entering a “sick” building. You wouldn’t choose to eat in a restaurant with a poor TripAdvisor review, so just imagine how this sort of technology might shape our decisions on where we choose to work and live.

There is no doubt that we need to turn our attention to improving our buildings in a way which supports the health and wellbeing of the people using them. However, the question clients are asking us today is – will it be feasible to pursue WELL certification for my project?

In order to help answer the question of feasibility for our clients, IES Consulting have recently extended their services to include early-phase WELL feasibility or fit assessments. Led by our WELL AP, Mark Knipfer, the service will help clients to establish the level of investment, or the changes to their typical process, that may be required to achieve a WELL certification. Beyond this, we can also offer WELL certification facilitation management and more surgical milestone review services including: a mid-point certification plan check-up, a pre-submission peer review, a performance verification pre-audit, and/or a curative action assessment following receipt of an initial WELL report, to assist throughout the entire certification process.

Fortunately, the WELL Building Standard has also been closely aligned with a number of existing building rating systems so there is ample opportunity for project teams around the world to align WELL objectives to more familiar certification goals. The International Well Building Institute (IWBI) have already published their Crosswalk Guidance for BREEAM, Green Star and, most recently, LEED, to identify synergies between WELL and existing green building standards and to help streamline efforts for those seeking to achieve dual certification for their projects.

There is definite value to be gained from aligning our green building objectives more closely with health and wellbeing concepts. So, if you’re interested in pursuing WELL certification for your projects but not sure where to start, read more about our WELL services here or contact consulting@iesve.com to find out more on how our team can help.

The response from climate organisations, world leaders, large corporations and the general public to Trump’s removal of the US from the Paris Climate Change deal is encouraging. Looking at it in a positive light, it has taken the negative influence out of the picture and lets those who really believe and are truly passionate about protecting our Earth for future generations, get on with the real work that needs to be done. The worldwide response to this decision has shown that there are many many more people in the world who care about our planet than those who don’t. Trump and his supporters are in a minority when it comes to their beliefs on climate change and this is one battle they won’t win.

Dominating the headlines in media outlets worldwide, President Trump’s decision has strengthened the resolve of those already fighting climate change, while also bringing the issue to a wider audience who have not yet been engaged by it. A great sense of unity has also started to emerge between other countries and the worldwide community. In a study by Carbon Brief, where they collated a diverse range of reaction from across the world, it showed that the mass majority of people condemned the decision and are determined to continue the fight against climate change.

Organisations such as the USGBC have already pledged their commitment to continue in their efforts, saying “Although the pullout of the U.S. government from the Paris Agreement will be felt across the world, the surge of climate commitments and actions by the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, governments, cities and states will only serve to strengthen the green building movement and keep pushing us forward.”

The World Green Building Council also issued strong words, saying “Despite the withdrawal of the US from this global pact, WorldGBC is confident that our member US Green Building Council, committed US city Mayors – members of the C40 and US Conference of Mayors – Governors of States, and CEOs of major companies like Apple and IBM, will continue working tirelessly to meet the US targets set by the Paris Agreement. The global market transformation towards decarbonisation – in buildings and other sectors – is already happening. It is accelerating. And it is unstoppable.”

Responses from world leaders, business leaders and climate activists across the globe also add to this strong sense of unity…

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the withdrawal is ‘bad for the environment, bad for the economy and it puts out children’s future at risk’ “Stopping climate change is something we can only do as a global community, and we have to act together before it’s too late”.

Google’s Sundar Pichai, wrote on Twitter that he is “disappointed” and that “Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all.”

Many US city mayors have said they will abide by climate commitments regardless of the White House U-turn. This was echoed by municipal leaders overseas.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who chairs a group of 40 major cities, said: “No matter what decision is made by the White House, cities are honouring their responsibilities to implement the Paris agreement. There is no alternative for the future of our planet.”

“Climate change is real,” tweeted Jeff Immelt, chief executive of GE. “Industry must now lead and not depend on government.”

Today the Guardian reported that, “China and California have signed an agreement to work together on reducing emissions, as the state’s governor warned that “disaster still looms” without urgent action on climate change.

The governor of California, Jerry Brown, spoke to reporters at an international clean energy conference in Beijing about Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris agreement, saying it would ultimately prove to be only a temporary setback.”

We recently ran a campaign for Earth Day to raise awareness of the impact that buildings have on the environment. The fact that buildings are responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions is staggering, and we know, as an industry, we need to work together to dramatically reduce this number. In a short video message, our founder and CEO Don McLean emphasises the importance of working to make earth day every day. This message has never been as important as it is now.

We’re standing alongside organisations such as the USGBC and all others acting against climate change, who know that climate change is an absolute fact and if we don’t stand together now and take action, our planet will not be a place where future generations can survive.  We’re asking you to join us.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”
Helen Keller

 

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