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brochure-image-1Our wasteful use of energy is catching up with us. Environmental disasters which usually happen once every hundred years are happening every year. And climate change, once considered an issue for future generations, has moved firmly into the present.

The simple fact is: if we continue to emit heat-trapping gases from the burning of fossil fuels at the current rate, we will force temperatures to rise above the level our eco-system can cope with. All in less time than it takes for today’s preschoolers to finish high school.

Today, most countries have “Brown Economies” that are dependent on fossil fuels. We need to move as quickly as possible to “Green Economies” that have little need for fossil fuels and are resource efficient. Our ever increasing migration to cities and their growth presents us with a unique opportunity to drive this change through our approach to city infrastructure.

We need to stop wasting energy
As governments across the world respond by introducing carbon reduction targets, many people would argue the solution is to stop burning gas, oil and coal altogether and start generating all our energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar power.

I used to be one of those people. It was only after I completed my PhD, in the generation and use of solar energy, that I realised renewable energy isn’t the solution. It certainly has a role to play – but when I tell people how much space they’ll need for all the solarflex required to power just one building, they quickly agree we need to stop wasting energy and reduce our overall energy consumption first.

When I created the Virtual Environment (VE), to enable architects and engineers to predict the impact of making changes to buildings on their energy consumption, little did I realise just how powerful the technology would become. Today, we’re not only helping facilities managers to reduce energy consumption and creating some of the world’s most sustainable buildings, but we’re also working with city planners to create smart cities where no energy is wasted.

Our buildings need to get smarter
It’s simply unacceptable that in a society capable of understanding the laws of the universe, cloning life and travelling through space, we still allow our buildings to waste a quarter of their energy.

As the Earth’s population continues to expand and more people migrate into cities, we need to look at how to not only make new buildings more sustainable, but also leverage the opportunities for economies of scale this presents. That way, we can we make our existing buildings and cities as energy-efficient as possible.

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.

Thank you for playing your part.

Read more in IES – The Future of Energy Reduction.

The latest instalment of the IPCC report on Climate Change was recently released, attracting much less attention than the previous report a few years ago. This lack of attention is an ominous sign. The main issue arising in the report being that governments across the world need to do much more to mitigate Climate Change.

Here is what our Founder and Managing Director Don McLean has to say on the report…

IPCC Logo“What’s interesting to me is that IPCC has now added ‘Climate Change adaptation’ to its terminology as well as ‘mitigating’, thus admitting that, whether we like it or not, the world is going to experience some level of Climate Change. Currently the target is to keep within two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, however this is the level that many observers have stated that if reached will result in severe consequences for both people and the environment.”

“Since the last IPCC report we have seen dramatic change in the amount of fossil fuels available. At the release of the last report countries had concern over the peak oil, energy security and the increasing costs of fossil fuels. Today, through the emergence of new technology and the discovery of massive resources of fossil fuels that can be accessed through processes such as fracking and underground coal gasification, many countries now have sufficient fossil fuel resources to last them for centuries. It would be reasonable to conclude that the necessity for governments to react to Climate Change will be diminished, and as a consequence the only real driver in reducing our use of fossil fuels is Climate Change. Time will tell if governments will continue to set targets to reduce carbon emissions, but there is a real possibility if they don’t we will have to consider adaptation policies for much higher than a two degrees global temperature rise.”

“The next few years will be critical for governmental actions as the world economies emerge from recession and we see rapid economic growth in not just the BRIC countries but also the MINT countries. Will we see any reduction in global CO2 emissions before the next IPCC report is published? Unfortunately I doubt it.”

Star of Building Science

Posted: August 23, 2013 by , Category:Green Building, Sustainability


This week our Founder and Managing Director, Don McLean was announced as one of fourteen nominations for Building4Change’s Stars of Building Science Awards.

So what makes a Star of Building Science? Well according to Building4Change, it’s somebody who is promoting the very best in building science to improve the quality, sustainability and resilience of the built environment, and ultimately to make people’s lives better. Needless to say, we think Don fits the bill…

Don founded IES in 1994 and since then has grown it into a successful business and research base, providing innovative performance analysis technologies at the cutting edge of building science. Don’s passion for sustainable building analysis and his vision for creating better performing buildings and cities that consume less energy has been the key to his success.

Pre-IES building performance technology was too complex to use and remained in the hands of academics making very little impact on mainstream commercial design. Recognising this, Don saw this opportunity and in the late 1990’s released the first major commercial version of the Virtual Environment software suite.

Since then Don has invested heavily in Research and Development, constantly pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in building performance analysis and promoting integrated working partnerships between all those involved in building design to create more sustainable buildings and

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If, like us, you believe that Don should be recognised as a star of Building Science, then you can vote by emailing your selected nominee to Building4change@bre.co.uk. Voting will remain open for six more weeks, when they will announce the list of the top scorers, who together will form a virtual academy of scientific excellence.

scotland_america_flagScotland has given the world many things – the telephone, the television, Scotch whisky, Irn Bru, tartan, and of course; Integrated Environmental Solutions. Our CEO Don will be flying the Scottish flag this week as he has been invited to New York to participate in a panel debate on sustainable cities with the American-Scottish Foundation on April 5th. Celebrating Scotland-Tartan week, the event is to showcase Our Energy Future: The Power of Partnerships in America and Scotland.

IES was formed in Scotland by Managing Director Dr Don Mclean in June 1994. The roots of the company go back to 1979 when the 1973 energy crisis, the three-day week, power cuts and predictions that oil would run out by 2000 were all high in the public’s consciousness. Against this backdrop, Don started his PHD work in detailed simulation of renewable energy devices at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.  Don’s time at Strathclyde, along with subsequent research and commercial activity consolidated three fundamental observations that IES is built on:

  • Buildings are major consumers of energy and they have to be made more efficient to cut CO2 emissions, conserve fossil fuels and preserve the environment for future generations.
  • Buildings are generally designed on experience and simplistic performance calculations even though it has been proven that the use of performance based building simulation can achieve much better performing buildings that consume significantly less energy.
  • Pre-IES building performance tools were too complex to use and remained in the hands of academics making very little impact on mainstream commercial design.

Although our roots are Scottish, the outlook at IES has always been global. We understand that the problem of increasing C02 emissions is a global problem; not a local one. And that’s why we now have offices across the world in Glasgow, Dublin, Atlanta, Vancouver, Melbourne and Pune {India}. Our ties with America have always been strong – we opened a Boston office in 2004 and have had an office in San Francisco and IES consultants in Minnesota and north of the border in Vancouver.

Our ambition to collaborate within America took another step forward last year when IES acquired North American consulting firm BVM Engineering (BVME), who now act as our South Atlantic Division in Atlanta.

So as far as IES are concerned, partnerships between America and Scotland have never been stronger, with the future looking particularly bright…

We’ll toast a dram to that!

Breakfast with the Don

Posted: October 31, 2012 by , Category:events

As part of his world tour, Don McLean (our founder and CEO) is heading to Australia. I’m pretty jealous as the weather there is a lot warmer than here in Scotland with the winter starting to kick in!! Anyway, he won’t have time to be soaking up

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the rays, since he’ll be hosting a series of breakfast briefings across the country:

Brisbane on Monday 19th November
Sydney on Wednesday 21st November
Melbourne on Friday 23rd November
Perth on Tuesday 27th November

Along with a free breakfast, by attending these events you will get the

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unique opportunity of a presentation on our new products and services, from LCA to enhanced model calibration and model optimisation as well as recent developments and planned 2013 developments.

Additionally, he will talk about the IES Hub and the R&D developments which include:

VE-SCAN — Predictive data analytics to cut energy use and costs across the building portfolios
THERM — Integrated manufacturing and buildings sustainably
Vectorworks — The collaborate and exchange model and data with other project members within an Open BIM approach via IFC
TaP — Online Project Management tool for environmental assessment projects
OPTIMISE — Simulation based optimisation tool for minimisation of building carbon emissions
IMPACT — Integrated material profile and costing tool
Daikin — VRV Systems Plug-in
Monodraught – Windcatcher performance component library

If you want to know a little more about these products prior to the breakfast briefing, feel free to click on the links above.

After Don’s presentation, you will get the chance to ask him questions and get an insight into the exciting new developments that are taking place at IES (straight from the Don!)

As I said, it’s free, it starts at 8 am and finishes at approximately 10 am.

Signing up is easy. Just click on the date that you would like to participate and fill out the form. If I had the chance, I know I’d be there!


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