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All Good Things Come in Threes…

Posted: August 15, 2016 by , Category:Uncategorized


They say all good things come in threes and that certainly seems to be the case for us here at IES right now as we recently found out that we have been shortlisted for – not just one – but three awards!

We are delighted to announce our place as finalists in the following award categories:

VIBES Awards 2016 – Environmental Product or Service Award
The VIBES Environmental Product or Service Award recognises businesses that have developed, or are developing, a product or service that brings notable environmental and business benefits. Our Virtual Environment software and consulting services are currently under consideration and we look forward to welcoming the VIBES judges to our office in the coming weeks for the final stage in the judging process. The winning entries will be announced at the VIBES Award ceremony on 8th November 2016. You can read more at: http://www.vibes.org.uk/news/2016/scotland-s-greenest-businesses-make-the-cut-for-vibes-final/

Glasgow Business Awards 2016 – Creative Marketing Award
You may have read about our awards success earlier in the year when we overcame stiff competition to win the H&V BIM Initiative of the Year Award with our BIM4Analysis campaign. We are thrilled that the campaign has now been shortlisted for a second accolade – this time in the Creative Marketing category of this year’s Glasgow Business Awards! Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Hilton Glasgow Hotel on Thursday 6th October 2016. View the full shortlist here: http://www.glasgowchamberofcommerce.com/glasgow-business-awards/2016-shortlist/

Inspiring City Awards 2016 – Environmental Award
The Inspiring City Awards aim to give recognition to individuals, businesses and organisations who have gone beyond the call of duty to encourage, mentor and support investment and growth in Glasgow. IES have been shortlisted in the Environmental Award category which recognises outstanding contribution to enhance Glasgow’s environment and/or combat climate change within the country. Winners will be announced at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow on 8th September 2016. Read more about this year’s awards here: http://newsquestscotlandevents.com/events/inspiring-city-awards/

Wish us luck!

City Pollution

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:

  • Five are Sufficient: Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Morocco and The Gambia
  • Ten are Medium: including the China, EU and the USA
  • Sixteen are Inadequate: including Russia, South Africa and Australia

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.

Apathy is worsening Global Warming

Posted: October 24, 2012 by , Category:Environment

I was dismayed to find out that the Arctic will soon be ice-free during the summer. Did you see this reported in the news? It was probably fairly low key if you did.

The map shows where the ice should of been in August and where it is now. In 1980, the Arctic ice in summer made up some 2% of the Earth’s surface. But since then the ice has roughly halved in area, and the volume of ice has dropped to just a quarter of what it was.

We should be worried on two counts.

Firstly, this depletion of the Arctic Ice was not expected to be seen so soon. It is a minor tipping point because white ice has a high reflectivity therefore it reflects back sunlight helping mitigate rising global temperatures. If the ice is not there then the sea absorbs the solar energy rather than reflect it, which warms the sea. The warmer water then melts more ice and the tipping point is activated.

The BBC reported that Prof Wadhams of Cambridge University calculated that this increased absorption of the sun’s rays is “the equivalent of about 20 years of additional CO2 being added by man”. Ouch! The problem is that we are becoming powerless to stop this happening as most people have now become non responsive to news of Climate Change and have become accustomed to living with it like AIDS, Asian Flu and the Greek Economy.

The second and much more worrying concern is that this profoundly serious process hardly got a mention on the news. I know we have bigger worldwide economic problems to consider, but this is not the only reason there was so little reaction to the thawing of the Arctic — as I’ve predicted before, we have already stopped listening. Record temperatures blah blah, highest rainfall in 100 years blah blah, Arctic free of ice in the summer blah blah. Who got voted off the X Factor this week?

Within the next two to three years we will hit 400ppm of atmospheric CO2. CO2 is currently rising at over 2ppm per year. Credible scientists reckon that at 450ppm we will experience a 2°C rise in global temperature. During 2008 governments were putting plans in place to stop us getting to 450ppm — now governments are putting adaption strategies in place because at the current rate we will hit 450 in 20 years. It was anticipated that the 450ppm level would not be achieved until 2050 or later. So we are doing less to combat climate change and we have less time to sort it. Literally burning the candle at both ends! For further reading on the subject, I would recommend visiting the 350.org website.

It is at times like this we should all remember how much individuals, organisations and companies like ours are doing to combat climate change. Our impact is significant and it is being recognised. My message to my staff this month was that when you are coming into the office during the winter; remember that our work continues to make a difference every day as the benefits we bring increase and allow more & more new and existing customers to create better performing buildings with the VE. We are doing our part in keeping CO2 levels down and I hope you are too.

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It might be a down market, but green building is not following the trend. From 2008 to 2010, the value of green construction increased by 50 percent, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s Green Outlook 2011. And analysts predict three to five-fold growth by 2015. Still, this growth represents only a very small segment of the overall construction industry.

As Forbes points out, there’s an incredibly slow green building adoption curve: “At this stage, there’s only a very small market segment that will buy something because it is energy efficient,” said Reuben Schwartz, Residential Energy Programs Manager of the Department of the Environment, City and County of San Francisco. The problem, I think, is an incredibly slow learning curve and a disconnect between industry veterans and the consumer.

Dan Geiger (Executive Director of the USGBC) cited research undertaken by the USGBC on schools. What parents want, he said, “is a modern, healthy school, so that their children get good grades and go to college. I didn’t say the word ‘green.’ Consumers

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think about this in a different way than we, the practitioners, think about it.”

And that’s really the problem. The architects, the engineers, the modelers — they understand it. It’s what we do day in and day out. But readily available technology and a good price point simply aren’t enough. Without a knowledgeable consumer who knows the advantages of green building, there will always be that disconnect from our world and the consumers’.

Education is vital to the health of the green building industry. The future depends on the general public understanding what I do every day. Only then will I be confident that green building will continue to advance and progress, eventually becoming the standard.

It’s that time of year again — the construction industry gets ready to flock to London for a three day event dedicated to creating a sustainable built environment.

Last year’s event attracted over 50,000 visitors, more than 13,000 exhibitors and 750 speakers. This year’s show promises to be even bigger! And just as Ecobuild is growing every year; so does IES and our presence at the event.  This time around our Ecobuild activity will be spread across 2 stands and the Innovation Zone. That’s right, you can run, but you can’t hide…

But why would you want to hide? We have loads of exciting news and updates to fill you in on…

  • At our main stand (N224) we’ll be launching IES TaP, which is a new online tracking tool for managing the evidence gathering process for BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) assessments. We’ll also be presenting a range of commercial partnerships with Daikin, Monodraught and Plancal and showcasing the new innovations that have come from these alliances. Find out more here.
  • Over on stand N221 we’ll be exhibiting our ground—breaking research projects. With approximately a third of our turnover going into research and development, this is an interesting part of what we have on show at Ecobuild. Drop by the stand to speak with our research experts and to find out about our latest research projects: OPTIMISE, VE-SCAN, IMPACT, THERM, VERYSCHOOL, LESSONS and EASEE. Find out more here.
  • We’ve been selected to present our new VE-Scan project at the Innovation Zone (N530). VE-SCAN is a state of the art tool from IES R&D that goes beyond the traditional use of building simulation at the design stage. It uses building simulation to substantially improve the operational performance of a building. Learn more about VE-SCAN here and cast your vote for your favourite innovation at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/innovationzone2012

We’re also looking forward to once again getting involved in the live Ecobuild tweeting and meet ups over the course of the three days. So much so that we’ve even come up with an exclusive special offer for our twitter followers. With our Twitter Loyalty Offer you will be able to get 25% off a package that includes our architectural analysis tool, VE-Gaia, and the VE-Navigator for BREEAM new customer package.  To qualify for this offer you will need to do the following…

1. Follow us on twitter — www.twitter.com/IESVE
2. Watch out for our daily Special Offer tweet during Ecobuild.
3. Retweet our Special Offer tweet.
4. Bring proof of the retweet to our stand and talk to one of our experts about VE-Gaia and the VE-Navigator for BREEAM.
5. Fill out our special offer form which gives you until the end of April 2012 to claim this fantastic promotion.

And finally, we realise we’ve been tweeting a lot of you over the last year without actually knowing what you look like. So if you are taking a photo of your team or something that has caught your eye at Ecobuild, remember to use our special photo hashtag – #ShowUsYourEcoFace

We’ll be sure to get the ball rolling on Tuesday…

Between last year’s heat wave on the east coast of the United States and this year’s, it seems like crazy weather is becoming the norm. Turning on the news and hearing “record breaking temperatures” is become routine. This year we have had to endure triple digit heat in cities such as Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and St. Louis. All of this has caused injuries, deaths, wildfires and a strain on utilities.

A recent study conducted by the A NOAA/UK Met Office, doesn’t have great news. It stated that last year’s heat wave in Texas was 20 times more likely to occur now than in the 1960’s due to global warming. It seems like we need to get used to the idea that the heat is here to stay. This doesn’t just apply to the United States either; November’s unusually high temperatures in Britain were 62 times as likely. So what does this mean for us in the long run?

The answer is: we can’t be sure. A lot of the studies that have been written don’t have enough clear evidence to be fully accepted as fact among experts. But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare for the worse. A lot of the country is not as prepared as it should be for these occurrences. You can look at the blackouts as proof. Blackouts due to heat have occurred from United States all the way into The Great White North.

The solution to better handling these heat waves isn’t going to be taking a dip in a pool, going to the movies or sipping an icy drink. It’s going to involve changing the way we design and construct buildings and cities. To avoid blackouts and deal with extreme weather, buildings need to be as efficient as possible and that starts in the design process. By using modeling software we can design a building and know exactly how it will deal with the worst case scenario, whether it’s oppressive heat or violent winds. The building can also be designed in a way that it relies less on power consumption in order to maintain a comfortable environment for the people inside it. People can add all the power conserving and power efficiency technology they want to a building, but if you’ve built a building without testing the design you may be starting behind the eight ball. It’s important to know how extreme weather is going to stress buildings as well as people.

From the design of our buildings to educating people, we need to be ready for whatever Mother Nature is going to throw at us. Is this extreme? Maybe. But we construct buildings to be around forever, not with the intent of ripping them down and starting over in a couple years. So we better design them right and know how they will handle all situations.

An update on Architecture 2030

Posted: February 27, 2012 by , Category:Architecture 2030

With the start of a new year, we’re that much closer to the year 2030. So the question arises, are we on track to meet the challenge of Architecture 2030?

Why is Architecture 2030 an important goal? In the U.S., commercial buildings are responsible for nearly half the greenhouse gas emissions. Rather than just talking about reducing this number, Architecture 2030 is committed to transforming the building industry, reducing climate change and energy consumption worldwide.

Check out this video for more on Architecture 2030, courtesy of PBS.

Last year, the organization took things a step further, launching the 2030 Challenge for Products. Celebrating one year since the challenge was launched, eco-structure checked in to see how things are going. The part of the interview follows.

Is there a set goal as to how many people you want signed on to any of the challenges?

We’ve never really approached our challenges in that way. Our goal is to raise awareness about the really big issues and get people talking and

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moving in a direction. As long as that’s happening, we focus on supporting it and making it better, but not necessarily on targeting a particular number.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. I think 2012 is the year to really move the needle in our industry. With the launch of ASHRAE’s new image — Shaping Tomorrow’s Built Environment Today — and this update

on Architecture 2030, sustainable design and the importance of utilizing quantifiable performance analysis to design the next generation of buildings is upon us.

Live from AHR Expo

Posted: January 24, 2012 by , Category:events

Well, we made it to Chicago. We weren’t going to let a little “winter storm warning” stop us from the biggest HVAC show of the year!

The energy has been great at the show so far — lots of excitement for the industry. Prior to the floor opening, there was big news from ASHRAE. The go-to source for standards and education for this industry, ASHRAE got a facelift, complete with a new logo and a new tagline…

Shaping Tomorrow’s Built Environment Today

Given our focus at IES this year, we are thrilled to see ASHRAE’s commitment to pushing the built environment in the 21st century. As ASHRAE President Ron Jarnagin stated, “integrated design is the cornerstone of sustainable buildings.” As the ‘Hub’ for sustainable design advancements, we look forward to joining ASHRAE in the conversation, promoting the importance of utilizing quantifiable performance information to design truly sustainable buildings.

We’ve also been following the conversation on Twitter. Kimberly Schwartz, managing editor of The ACHR News, tweeted a great picture (http://pic.twitter.com/6u2IsRSd) from the show floor yesterday afternoon, adding “…the aisles are still crowded! There’s a good buzz in the air.”

But the highlight of our day yesterday? Well, we’ll just let the image speak for itself…

See you on the show floor!

If we’ve learned anything from recent headlines, it’s that energy efficiency and sustainable design companies have to spend big money if they hope to develop the next big green solution. With today’s rapidly advancing technologies, millions of dollars in government-backed loans and venture capital appear to be crucial. But is all of this really necessary?

One of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s latest endeavors, referenced in a recent International Business Times article, is taking a different approach. As part of its People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Program, the EPA has awarded 45 grants of $15,000 each to colleges and universities across the United States. Students will use the money to design solutions for everything from water, energy and agriculture to the built environment and chemical use. The program’s overall goal is to “improve quality of life, promote economic development and protect the environment.”

What I find exciting about this particular EPA program is that it is set up as a competition, which is helping to spark innovation and excellence.

After working on the project for eight months, the teams will take their designs to the 8th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. At the expo, the projects will be judged by a panel of experts and a select few will be awarded P3 Awards and Phase II grants up to $90,000 for students to further their designs, implement them in the field, or move them to the marketplace.

When it comes to new sustainable technologies and solutions, perhaps the companies developing them should prove themselves first. Competing for funding, just as participants of the P3 program are doing, will not only be conducive to better products and services, but also safer investments when it’s time for investors to take out their checkbooks.

What's NEXT?

Posted: October 4, 2011 by , Category:events

This year's Greenbuild theme seems particularly appropriate to us. Since our formation in 1994, IES has always been involved in the 'What's NEXT'. Back then, we took academic performance analysis thinking and technology, and created the first commercially viable suite of performance analysis software. Our expert consultants also worked closely with early adopters on its implementation and incorporation into the design process; helping to establish the backbone of today's simulation market.

It was our involvement in these seminal projects which really set the stage for us, projects such as; Heathrow Terminal 5 right from the earliest concept stages, and BA “Waterside” Headquarters near London Heathrow. Since then IES has attained a unique position in the global marketplace delivering world-leading analysis expertise to help produce sustainable buildings.

For almost two decades, we have been pushing the ethos of integrated design and incorporation of performance analysis right from the earliest new-build and retrofit stages as the route to achieving truly sustainable, low-energy structures.

Now as the sustainability market is starting to catch up with this thinking, I'm seeing organisations beginning to understand the value and benefits of the IES approach. Consequently, we find our role changing. Increasingly organisations are coming to IES to help overcome technical or commercial barriers in getting their sustainability products and services to the market.

Consequently, we find ourselves today still working at the leading edge of building science, investigating how analysis plays a vital role in cutting through greenwash to deliver measurable sustainability. Whether that is designing or analysing a product range, regulatory system, building or entire communities/eco-cities.

IES has been approached in this capacity by Governments, ESCO's, Venture Capitalists, software companies, product manufactures (both building and clean energy), regulation setters, voluntary rating system developers, and those managing large property portfolios.

So what's NEXT? I certainly see this as the start of a new age in the role of analysis in a low-energy, zero-carbon built environment, as well as in the role of our company. At Greenbuild this year I'm spending a great deal of time discussing these developments and how I think analysis will develop and change the future face of sustainable cities and buildings.

Part of this is presenting at the GreenTech@Greenbuild event this Thursday 6th October. This is an exciting new event organised by the USGBC and Regenerative Networks which is designed to increase awareness and adoption of emerging disruptive technologies that provide exceptional solutions for the building industry.

Featured firms were selected for the significant advances they contribute to green building, so needless to say I was excited by the invitation. Watch this space for a recording of my presentation.

Or come along to our booth #2325N and say hello. I'm more than happy to discuss our innovation and expertise in creating cutting-edge building performance analysis tools, as well as the supply of related consulting and specialist services.

Plus, you can catch up with executives from Halcrow, Doo Consulting, Perkowitz + Ruth Architects, Building Momentum Group and Ambient Energy. Who will share first-hand insight on analysis and integrated design:
Wednesday, October 5

1:15 p.m. — “Analyzing Double Skin Façades for Different Global Climate Regions” (Halcrow)
2:15 p.m. — “Early Conceptual Analysis of the Brickstainable Winning Design” (Doo Consulting, Perkowitz + Ruth Architects)

Thursday, October 6
1.00 p.m. — “LEED Energy & HVAC Modeling of Roosevelt University Vertical Campus” (Building Momentum Group)
1.45 p.m. — “Optimizing an Atrium — Daylight and Mixed Mode Ventilation on Colorado State University Engineering II Building” (Ambient Energy)

Read more about our activities at the show here.


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