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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 email@example.com for further information.
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”
We believe that much more needs to be done to mitigate climate change. It’s happening faster than anyone wants to believe. And buildings play a huge part in this. In fact, buildings are responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions – that’s more than any other industry. If we are going to save the planet, we need to focus on dramatically reducing this number. This is fundamentally why we do what we do at IES. We want to reduce the environmental impact that buildings have on our planet.
As Earth Day approaches, we want to help raise awareness about the impact that buildings have on the environment and why we need to take action now before it becomes too late. Recent political events such as President Trump’s reversal of US Climate Change policies means it’s now more important than ever that we stand together and fight against what we all know to be a very real threat. This is why IES are standing side-by-side with Green Building Councils and other like-minded organisations across the globe to do as much as we can to mitigate the effects of Climate Change. We recently signed a letter by the USGBC to support them in trying to save key programs run by the Environmental Protection Agency, you can too by clicking on this link.
Last year a powerful message from Architecture 2030 resonated strongly with us and is as relevant (if not more so) now. The message came in an article just after Donald Trump was elected as President and it said it was important to remember that we are far from powerless to continue to effect meaningful change, and that change had to happen from the bottom up and not the top down. It reminded us of all the great work that has already been done and this momentum will continue regardless of what is being said at the top. The following statistics were cited in the article…
“Worldwide, 533 cities are now reporting their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a 70% increase in reporting since the Paris Agreement. To date, 30% of these cities have GHG emissions reduction targets. In North America, 56% of the cities reporting have GHG emissions reduction targets, many declaring zero emissions or an 80% reduction by 2050 or earlier.” Read the full article.
In its 2014 2030 Commitment Progress Report, the AIA stated “Quite simply, energy modeling presents the greatest opportunity for architects to realize more ambitious energy-saving in their design projects.” With this in mind, a holistic approach to energy and performance modeling is imperative.
The IES Virtual Environment (IESVE) gives you the factual insights required to accurately establish everything from what building materials to use to reduce drafts and avoid overheating from the sun, to how best to right-size your systems, to dramatically reduce running costs, to how to reduce water consumption and overall energy demands. The key to our success, and the reason why tens of thousands of people around the world are using IESVE to make better buildings, is our ability to look at the building in an integrated way to pinpoint simple but highly effective things you can do to reduce your buildings impact on our planet.
At IES we think we should make every day Earth Day. As our Founder and CEO Dr Don McLean said, “Only by looking at buildings and cities as the integrated environments that they are – instead of parts of the problem in isolation – can we ensure everyone involved in the conception, design or management of a building gets to leave our world in a much better state than we inherited it.”
Let’s work together and do more to save our planet. We’ve only got one. Are you up to the challenge?
What You Can Do
Take advantage of our FREE Earth Day special give aways to empower you to help save our planet.
Have a look at our Earth Day Infographic for more facts and figures on how buildings are impacting our planet.
Watch our Founder and CEO, Don McLean’s Earth Day video message.
Join us on our quest to fight climate change. Subscribe to our DiscoverIES newsletter.
This morning, a client called me and asked for some help. He needed to generate future weather files for a BREEAM certified project in Brussels (necessary for HEA04 – Thermal Comfort credit). I was happy to lend a hand!
The methodology is to use the climate change world weather file generator named CCWorldWeatherGen. It uses Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report model summary data of the HadCM3 A2 experiment ensemble and is based on the so-called ‘morphing’ methodology for climate change transformation of weather data, which was developed by Belcher, Hacker and Powell. From a present weather file (BrusselsIWEC), future weather predictions can be generated for the horizons of 2020, 2050 and 2080.
I was astonished by the magnitude of the climate change in this case. The mean dry bulb temperature is predicted to raise from 10.2°C (present) to 11.2°C by 2020, 12.3°C by 2050 and up to 14.0°C by 2080! This represents a +3.8°C elevation, much higher than the average +1.5°C under which the world’s nations committed to the COP21 in December 2015.
Another key point was the maximum temperature that rose from 34.9°C to 43.8°C and the percentage of the time the temperature was above 26°C rose from 1.1% to 5.5%. This means a drastic change in building management in terms of heating/cooling and comfort.
Just a few weeks ago, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) declared July 2016 as the hottest month on record in 136 years. So we are seeing first-hand the increase in temperature and my climate analysis for Brussels shows just how much it is set to rise.
In these conditions, how will our existing buildings behave? Should all our buildings now be designed to anticipate these forecasts? I hope the scenario is overly pessimistic but I think we need to prepare for the worst case scenario.
Health & Wellbeing is the new frontier for making our buildings even better. A rich body of academic research and business case studies have arisen over the last five years, showing the physical, physiological, cognitive, health and wellness benefits of positive interactions between Humans and the built environment. The WELL standard is a specific example of capturing and formalising this complex issue into a documented rating system, much overdue and warmly received. It follows similar approaches to common rating systems such as LEED and BREEAM in that a ‘credit’ style approach is used during the design and operation stage of the building to demonstrate compliance.
Our UK Business Development Manager Naghman Khan has written a very interesting and informative article around this topic looking in more detail at the WELL standard and how building performance modelling can be used to meet the standard and significantly improve the health and wellbeing of building occupants.
The full article is available via DiscoverIES at https://www.iesve.com/discoveries/article/what-next-for-building-design-well/
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The recent COP21 summit in Paris again threw into focus the challenge of climate change, with urban development being confronted to reduce their energy usage. Simultaneously there is a growing concern on how overheating is severely impacting building performance and occupant comfort. With rising global temperatures being experienced now and significant increases expected over the short to medium term, overheating is a key issue that needs to be addressed. Occupant comfort is still a major concern as is energy use and they are both intrinsically linked.
Modern buildings are well sealed and insulated and in London where outside temperatures are higher than average this can lead to an enhanced need for cooling during the summer both in Residential and Non-Residential properties.
A historic design response to avoid overheating would have been to introduce comfort cooling measures but this brings additional energy and carbon use as well as higher running and maintenance cost. However, contemporary design approaches more frequently look to tackle solar and internal loads through passive design methods that minimise their impact without retrospective cooling measures being required, or where necessary allow ventilation approaches with mechanical cooling capacity to offset the peak cooling load.
Developing a response to climate change has led London to introduce a chapter specific to this in its London Plan. Policy 5.9 seeks to adapt to climate change by directly addressing the overheating and cooling conundrum. As London suffers from the urban heat island effect, retrofit and new build need to prioritise the opportunities available to reduce the cooling load and remove the potential for space overheating.
To further investigate the impact and mitigation of overheating, a new dataset of weather files has been released by CIBSE to dynamically simulate against the 2020’s, 2050’s and 2080’s. These files for London and other UK locations will offer climate change scenarios to benchmark the projected building performance. Additionally, London has a TM49 dataset representing three summers with different types of hot events.
Dynamic simulation can present fast yet detailed parametric datasets offering the ability to compare design options and drive the optimisation of the most beneficial design solutions such as shading, glass type, window-to-wall ratio, mixed mode ventilation, thermal mass, etc. The Greater London Authority have rightly identified an expectation for dynamic simulation to be used to demonstrate overheating performance. Without a robust analysis you can’t rely on the results and lack of good data leads to plant oversizing and operational inefficiencies.
IES Consulting have the experience to help investigate and interpret the impact on your building design by employing these new datasets for retrofit or new design through a parametric modelling approach where a large number of options can be run in parallel to optimise decision making. IES work with you from the concept stage to build a scope of design options and then provide detailed feedback on the best value opportunities. By generating reliable data we help project teams design with confidence, sizing plant correctly to operate at optimal efficiency and minimise their capital costs without compromising on comfort.
January is traditionally the time for forward reflection. So inspired by what’s going on around us we’ve pulled together the top 5 buzzwords that we think our expert building analytics team at IES will be using across 2016.
The Force of COP21
May the Force of COP21 be with us all. While the agreement signed in Paris by all 196 nations of the world to pull together and attempt to reduce carbon emissions, thus limiting the onslaught of global warming and reducing air pollution worldwide, is a major step forward, the real work starts now.
Undoubtedly the biggest difference will be made by big business and governments, see our founder Don’s views on this. However, we also believe that each and every one of us must also do our bit by changing the way we live, work, travel and think; no matter where we are from or how rich we are.
The Glasgow Effect:
Ok so we might not use this across the whole year but it certainly got us talking in January and as it’s a year-long project there is sure to be more to come. For those of you who’ve not picked up on this yet, the topic of office banter all across Glasgow on Tuesday morning was Ellie Harrison and her Glasgow Effect project being awarded £15k by Creative Scotland. The artist will not leave the greater Glasgow Area for 1 year (except in the event of the ill-heath / death of close relative or friend), and it’s caused a real storm on social media.
The project was initially called Think Global Act Local and is not primarily about poverty or deprivation in the city, as many people have assumed, but about exploring the benefits and practicalities of localism for artists and communities. “By setting this one simple restriction to her current lifestyle, she intends to test the limits of a ‘sustainable practice’ and to challenge the demand-to-travel placed upon the ‘successful’ artist / academic. The experiment will enable her to cut her carbon footprint and increase her sense of belonging, by encouraging her to seek out and create ‘local opportunities’ – testing what becomes possible when she invests all her ideas, time and energy within the city where she lives.”
The artist has a strong interest in climate change, political activism and big data, and while the original project title is in some ways far more accurate, most people wouldn’t have looked twice at a project named ‘Think Global Act Local’. But it got us thinking about the role of local and community in our personal and professional lives. It’s a global problem, but there’s action that can be taken by us all at a local level to combat it. Read more at our Blog.
With the UK Government mandate for BIM Level 2 deadline fast approaching this year, and as a technology company in the sustainable building analysis arena we felt it was essential to educate and engage the industry on the important role performance analysis has to play in the BIM process. The concept of creating and capturing information during design for use in operation is key to achieving Low Zero Carbon buildings. This time last year we started an educational campaign named ‘BIM4Analysis’ to engage with the industry and bring performance metrics front and centre to the BIM movement which is what the Government strategy is aimed at.
2016 is going to see us develop on this, demonstrating our BIM enabled analysis workflow alongside customers through various events and publications, including Ecobuild and BIM Prospects 2016. We’ve also got the next instalment of our popular IES Faculty BIM webinar series taking place at the end of January (details coming soon). This event will provide an update on our BIM4Analysis strategy plus interoperability development work that will help you on your BIM journey.
Other industries are already capturing and using big data to their advantage – but buildings are lagging behind. Imagine what you could do with real metrics instead of big assumptions. It’s all linked to Smart Buildings, the Internet of Things and other digital developments. Data in buildings can be generated by a wide variety of sources and can be used to understand behaviour, assess performance, improve market competitiveness, allocate resources and so on. However, historically it has been difficult and expensive to collect this data, and its variety in quality, structure and format made it difficult to use, sometimes for example requiring the manual transfer of data from paper records into digital systems.
Mind The Performance Gap:
We’ve been banging on about this for ages now but it’s an issue which requires much more understanding and attention. We’re expecting the issue to gain momentum in 2016, especially as the UKGBC has announced a new research project in the area.
The Performance Gap is a well-documented disconnect between the design and compliance models of buildings and the reality of how they perform. Our work to date has focused on the importance of understanding the difference between design, compliance and actual building performance models, as covered in this video from our faculty event. As well as researching new technological advances in using operational data combined with 3D modelling across building design, handover and operation to deliver intelligent energy efficiencies, alongside healthy and comfortable buildings.
It’s only the first week of January and already controversy has hit Glasgow. The topic of office banter on Tuesday morning was Ellie Harrison and her Glasgow Effect project being awarded £15k by Creative Scotland. The artist will not leave the greater Glasgow Area for 1 year (except in the event of the ill-heath / death of close relative or friend), and it’s already caused a storm on social media.
“By setting this one simple restriction to her current lifestyle, she intends to test the limits of a ‘sustainable practice’ and to challenge the demand-to-travel placed upon the ‘successful’ artist / academic. The experiment will enable her to cut her carbon footprint and increase her sense of belonging, by encouraging her to seek out and create ‘local opportunities’ – testing what becomes possible when she invests all her ideas, time and energy within the city where she lives.”
Personally I find it hard to criticise a project that hasn’t produced anything yet, especially when I don’t know anything about the artist and her intentions. So I looked her up to find out more and discovered she has a strong interest in climate change, political activism and big data.
According to the Herald, and Ellie herself the project was initially called Think Global Act Local and is not primarily about poverty or deprivation in the city, as many people have assumed, but about exploring the benefits and practicalities of localism for artists and communities. And, so with COP21 fresh in my mind I can’t help hoping that some of this project’s outcomes will shine a light on how local communities can start to address the many challenges of keeping global warming at or below 2°C.
The COP21 agreement signed in Paris at the end of last year was a declaration by all 196 nations of the world to pull together and attempt to reduce carbon emissions, thus limiting the onslaught of global warming and reducing air pollution worldwide. While undoubtedly the biggest difference will be made by big business and governments, see our founder Don’s views on this, I also believe that each and every one of us must also do our bit by changing the way we live, work, travel and think; no matter where we are from or how rich we are.
I don’t normally take directly from another source but this article in Envirotech resonated so well I couldn’t rewrite. Here are just some things it suggests you can do to reduce air pollution in your area and curb climate change on a global scale.
The thing is, communities can and are coming together to make a difference, whether through local generation schemes, car-pooling, community gardens or many other like-mined programmes. And there undoubtedly must, and will, be more opportunities in the future for communities to take a bottom up approach to becoming more sustainable in the way we approach energy-use, waste and life in general.
Ellie’s original project title is in some ways far more accurate, but most people wouldn’t have looked twice at a project named ‘Think Global Act Local’. The phrase has been used in various contexts, including planning, environment, education, mathematics, and business, and even has its own Wikipedia page. It makes absolute sense when you apply it to climate change – it’s a global problem, but there’s action that can be taken by us all at a local level to combat it – thinking globally and acting locally.
In the end, I might not like the work Ellie produces for the Glasgow Effect, we will see. But for me it’s already been an opportunity to reflect on the role of local and community in our lives and has introduced me to projects and ideas I wouldn’t ordinarily have come across – Ellie’s own Radical Renewable Art + Activism Fund (RRAAF) to use a wind turbine to generate renewable energy and fund a ‘no strings attached’ grant for art-activist projects and a big bang data exhibition she was involved in. Both of which resonate personally and professionally.
So hate it or support it, Ellie’s Glasgow Effect project has stirred up a lot of feelings, debate and unfortunately abuse. It has also inspired a lot of social media ‘art’ in retaliation and hopefully also made us stop and think a bit. Where will it go from here, who knows, but I’m certainly interested to find out.
Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC’s) form the basis of the COP21 Paris agreement goal of keeping global temperature rise “well below” 2⁰C above pre-industrial levels. Nations outline their INDC plans on cutting their post-2020 emissions.
There is a legal requirement for these INDC plans to be revised ever five years. There is no requirement to state how the reductions will be achieved and there is no legal requirement to achieve the INDC targets. This is surely a major weakness.
The INDC’s of the largest greenhouse gas emitters have set their targets: China has targeted a 60-65% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP by 2030; the United States, has targeted a 26-28% reduction by 2025; and the European Union has targeted a 40% reduction by 2030.
By maintaining the status quo in terms of carbon emission it is anticipated that the global temperature rise will reach 3.6⁰C by 2100. A recently published assessment (http://climateactiontracker.org/) suggested that the emission reductions currently outlined in the currently submitted INDC’s would result in a global temperature rise by 2.7C.
This figure was generated by the Climate Action Tracker (CAT). CAT is an independent scientific analysis, produced by four research organisations, tracking climate action and global efforts towards the globally agreed aim of holding warming below 2°C.
CAT categorise each of the submitted INDC’s as follows:
|Inadequate||If all governments put forward inadequate positions warming likely to exceed 3–4°C.|
|Medium||Not consistent with limiting warming below 2°C as it would require many other countries to make a comparably greater effort and much deeper reductions.|
|Sufficient||Fully consistent with below 2°C limit.|
|Role Model||More than consistent with below 2°C limit.|
Of the 31 INDC’s that have been reviewed:
It is important to remember that these INDC’s are pledges and not legally binding. None of these countries have a clear plan on how to achieve their INDC targets. So without a coherent plan it is fair to assume that it is more likely that the IDNC targets will be missed rather than exceeded.
Who am I to contradict the President of the USA, but I am delighted to tell you that you don’t have to worry about the planet – the Earth will survive global warming.
Why do I know this? Well there is scientific evidence that shows that during the last few hundred million years the Earth has been both much warmer and much colder than it is today. In both extreme cases Earth has survived.
Consequently, I do not think our 1.5⁰C or above increase in global temperature will damage Earth.
It will be 7.5 billion years before the Earth will be consumed by the sun which will have become a red giant. This is so far in the future it is not a concern. So what is the problem?
Loss of Life.
Five major mass extinctions have been identified over the last 500 million years or so. In the most extreme cases almost 95% of life became extinct.
The most famous mass extinction killed off the dinosaurs. This was extremely fortunate for humans as it created the opportunity for mammals to occupy the space vacated by the dinosaurs. This obviously led to us – Homo sapiens – becoming the dominate species.
Homo sapiens have been around for a hundred thousand years. In that time species such as the mammoth and the sabre-toothed tiger have been lost. Whether that has been due to humans or not is questionable. However, the same cannot be said for the Dodo and many recent species that have become extinct.
However, our interaction with the Earth is causing an increasing number of species to disappear. Scientists believe that we are in the middle of the sixth mass extinction. Human activity such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, dams, over fishing, etc. demonstrate that we are the principal cause of this current mass extinction. Scientists have estimated that by 2100 50% of current species will be extinct.
What about us?
Humans are highly resilient. What happens to us depends upon what action we take to stop global warming. We face droughts, floods, lost top soil, food and water shortages, wars over resources and mass migration, etc. By 2100 will we have smart cities or no cities? Will we be going forward to a much better global society or devolving back to the ‘Dark Ages’ e.g. post Roman Empire?
It is our choice.
One thing is for sure – The Earth will be OK.