The new Northern operation will be the source of expert ecology services for the growing construction and development sector in the region.
30th November 2016: The Ecology Consultancy an industry leading ecological consultancy, has expanded its regional operations into The North of England with the establishment of a new office in Wakefield. This comes a short time after the launch of The Ecology Consultancy’s Midlands office in August and Temple’s (The Ecology Consultancy’s sister company) Manchester office, launched in October, all forming part of the organisation’s 2020 growth strategy, announced earlier this year.
The Ecology Consultancy will now be able to offer high-quality ecology consultancy services and bespoke wildlife conservation solutions to clients in The North, building upon The Ecology Consultancy’s reputation for providing technical expertise, pragmatic advice and a wide range of ecological services to the development, planning and construction sectors across much of the UK.
The Ecology Consultancy’s Technical Director Giles Coe said: “The new office represents the next stage in The Ecology Consultancy’s plans to provide comprehensive coverage for projects wherever they may be situated in the UK. In order to provide a competitive and bespoke service to our clients it is essential not only that we are well placed geographically to access sites, but that we employ local staff with an in-depth knowledge of wildlife issues in their region.”
Primarily based out of their Wakefield Office, The Ecology Consultancy’s Northern team will also be operating from the newly opened Manchester office of their sister organisation, Temple – enabling them to provide ecological consultancy services to clients both sides of the Pennines. Together with Temple: a property and infrastructure consultancy specialising in environment, planning and sustainability, clients will now be able to take full advantage of an enhanced service offering across the North.
Leading the establishment of this new Northern office will be Associate Director Dr Sarah Cox, a chartered ecologist and environmentalist, who has joined The Ecology Consultancy from Keystone Environmental where she was Head of Ecology. Sarah has over 18 years of commercial consultancy experience from previous roles at Keystone, Penny Anderson Associates and The British Trust for Ornithology and has worked on a variety of large-scale construction and nationally significant infrastructure projects as well as developing a proven expertise in urban ecology and green infrastructure planning. Sarah brings with her excellent local knowledge and experience of navigating the region’s biodiversity, planning laws, and policy that has been gained from 20 years working in the region.
The Northern team will provide all the necessary ecology services that are required for successful project completion, with specialist experience in ecological assessment, including Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, Ecological Impact Assessments, Stage 1 and 2 Habitats Regulations Assessment, Biodiversity Offsetting, BREEAM/CSH ecology assessments and proven ability in the role of expert witness. The team is experienced in managing large and small scale survey programmes for a variety of protected species including amphibians, bats, birds, badgers, dormouse, otter, reptiles and water vole; and the subsequent design, licensing and implementation of wildlife mitigation measures in order facilitate construction.
The Ecology Consultancy will also bring specific support to design and architecture teams in the region with the provision of expert advice on green infrastructure planning, including the design and specification of green roofs, green walls, rain gardens, and sustainable urban drainage systems, all of which help to deliver quality of life and ecosystem benefits to development projects.
Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations
Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?
The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.
New Construction Options
One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.
In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.
The Simple Retrofit
From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?
Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.
Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.
Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.
In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.
Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.
It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.
How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions
Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Public Health Crisis
It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.
It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.
Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.
With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.
The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.
With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.