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Engineering The Future: Max Fordham’s Predictions For 2016 And Beyond

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A team of experts at environmental engineering firm Max Fordham have compiled a list of their predictions for the coming year, with a focus on reducing energy consumption and ensuring that building designers put the health and wellbeing of the people who use that building first.

The full list of Max Fordham’s predictions is as follows:

Infrastructure-scale solutions to climate change

Governments will be forced to tackle the problems caused by climate change by introducing infrastructure-scale solutions. Hopefully these will give way to exciting examples of urban design, such as the $335 million scheme to upgrade Lower Manhattan’s storm defences.

A “Trip Advisor” for buildings

The development of a ‘Trip Advisor’ for buildings and building comfort. Users will be able to rate office, retail and hospitality buildings on a number of criteria such as temperature, daylight, acoustics and ventilation that will then be fed back into the building management systems for efficiency based on big data. Enabling consumer pressure to drive improved performance.

More plants on buildings

The increased use of living roofs on commercial and domestic buildings, and an increased awareness of the role buildings can play in maintaining biodiversity.

Global harm tax on fossil fuels

The introduction of a global harm tax on both the extraction and use of fossil fuels which makes visible the damage caused by these sources of energy and also encourages the development of alternative forms of energy production.

Population control

The need for action on global population growth will be addressed by ensuring universal access to contraception. This will provide positive impacts in terms of both economic growth and public health.

Wider awareness of carbon impact of construction

In design and client teams, we’ll see a wider appreciation and understanding of embodied energy and the total carbon impact of the construction process.

In-building energy storage

The development of In-building energy storage systems or daily heat stores to spread the peak energy demand of a building over a day.

Energy Performance Contracts become the norm

Energy Performance Contracts become expected for more new builds. Better prediction of actual energy consumption and then having to deliver on this in practise. It will put a much better focus on the way we design and the way we build.

Death of “tick box” sustainability

The death of BREEAM and ‘tick-box’ sustainability with a move to a more appropriate choice. We will see an even greater rise in the employment of sustainability matrices such as the one developed by Max Fordham.

Greater recognition of the impact buildings have on health

Comfort, health and well-being will become a much larger part of considerations when designing and building non-residential, commercial lettings.

The predictions were assembled by the team including engineers Thomas Greenhill and John Gunstone, sustainability consultant Elinor Huggett, and Phil Armitage and Guy Nevill, both Senior Partners at the Practice.

The predictions include the development of a kind of “Trip Advisor” for buildings, where users rate how comfortable they are in terms of temperature and acoustics, which is then fed back into the building management system.

Large scale infrastructure projects will become necessary to combat the effects of climate change and to avoid a repeat of the flooding recently seen in the north of the country.

A global “harm tax” should be introduced on both the extraction and use of fossil fuels to make visible the damage caused by these sources of energy and also encourage the development of alternative forms of energy production.

Earlier in December this year, leaders from every country agreed to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C. Currently, around half of the UK’s energy consumption is used in the heating of buildings and so developing more sophisticated and efficient insulation systems and reducing the amount of energy used in construction could play a key role in ensuring the UK meets its targets.

Guy Nevill, said: “While the COP21 agreement is a tremendously positive step, we still have lots of work to do in terms of reducing our carbon emissions, as well as building schemes to protect ourselves from the inevitable consequences of climate change. Engineering is crucial to ensuring we are able to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and minimise the effects of the damage we have already done to the planet.”

Other predictions include the use of in-building energy storage systems, wider appreciation and understanding of embodied energy and the total carbon impact of the construction process and the widespread use of Energy Performance Contracts.

Phil Armitage, Senior Partner at Max Fordham said: “Some of our predictions are quite optimistic, but they are intended to highlight the problems we face and some of the ways engineering can be used to help solve them.”

 

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A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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