Optimism returns to green construction at Ecobuild 2014

Nearly 45,000 sustainable build environment professionals visited Ecobuild 2014 at London’s ExCeL, a rise of 3% compared to last year’s event

This year marked the tenth anniversary of Ecobuild, the world’s leading event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment. Taking place at London’s ExCeL, the show saw renewed optimism for the green construction sector as it welcomed more than 44,000 sustainable built environment professionals – a 3% rise in visitors compared to last year.

During the ten years of Ecobuild, the UK has pioneered the toughest sustainability legislation in the world and the business case for a more sustainable built environment has become ever stronger. The 2014 event aimed to connect the entire built environment supply chain and help them play their part in realising the vision of cleaner, greener and more efficient buildings.

Here, Ecobuild’s feature-rich exhibition floor played host to the launch of hundreds of new products and visitors were able to gain vital information, advice and practical experience across a number of areas and the event has been hailed a success by visitors and exhibitors alike. Many of the world’s most highly regarded solutions providers joined the event, including Skanska, Balfour Beatty, Saint-Gobain, Baxi, Worcester Bosch, Mitsubishi and Travis Perkins.

Comprising of the three core areas, displaying the latest sustainable design and construction solutions, and an unrivalled information programme, Ecobuild 2014 saw policy meet practice as products were launched and incentives discussed.

Hosting an eclectic mix of MPs, industry experts and household names such as Janet Street-Porter, former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Kevin McCloud, Ecobuild’s highly coveted conference programme drew an impressive crowd, filling the two arenas for sessions covering key issues including the performance gap, future resilience and the business case for nature.

Ed Davey, the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change used the platform to launch the government’s consultation on the future of the Energy Company Obligation. Davey stated that the government’s ambition was at least one million homes upgraded under ECO and the Green Deal by the end of the next financial year. Optimistic about the event and the year ahead, Davey highlighted the importance of bringing the industry together; “It will be through shared endeavours – Government and industry – that we will drive the change we need”.

Echoing Davey’s positivity, Energy Minister Greg Barker announced a £19 million boost for the Green Deal as it awarded funding for six community-based retrofit programmes. Speaking at the official Climate Week launch, Barker said that funding had been given to councils in Cambridgeshire, Ashfield, Suffolk, Peterborough, Haringey, and Bracknell Forest. Also looking to the future, he added: “Very shortly the Green Deal will receive a further boost, which is the launch of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive this spring”.

The RHI was a hot topic at the event, as seminars sought to help visitors get the most out of renewables incentives and DECC hosted their own RHI theatre. Other attractions included Practical Installer, providing a unique ‘working’ showcase demonstrating the installation and operation of renewable and energy efficiency products, and the UK-GBC Village, where visitors could take advantage of the on-site membership offer, hear more about the UK-GBC education and training sessions, and trial Pinpoint, their online platform for sustainability tools, training and resources.

In addition to the industry’s major players, the event showcased a number of new Green Shoot companies introducing innovative ideas and products to the marketplace and the popular Biodiversity Pavilion covered subjects from bat boxes and living roofs to wild habitats and water management. The Natural Sustainable Materials gave people the opportunity to see natural materials in use demonstrations and talks given on; reclaimed timber, timber shingles, wattle and daub, straw bale, clay and lime rendering, hemp and lime, and cob and sheep’s wool insulation.

Alison Jackson, Group Director of Sustainability & Construction, Ecobuild said: “We are thrilled and immensely proud of the event delivered this year and the hard work Ecobuild’s partners, exhibitors and visitors have done to push forward the green construction agenda. Despite the recession, green construction is now turning a corner and we believe both the industry and Ecobuild are firmly set for growth.”

 

Ecobuild 2014 highlights:

Ecobuild, The Landscape Institute, The Mayor of London, The London Borough of Newham and Open City joined forces on a competition to generate innovative ideas that would transform the Royal Docks into a multi-functional and liveable space.

The competition asked entrants to consider how, by incorporating Green Infrastructure (GI) and Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), the Royal Docks could be transformed into an attractive place to live and work.

The winning scheme, designed by Bethany Gale and Sarah Tolley, was announced at Ecobuild.

Their Silvertown DockY proposal was picked as the most imaginative and ‘water-sensitive’ idea to transform the world’s largest enclosed docks.

It was chosen from over 65 entries and proposes transforming the former graving dock for shipbuilding into a vibrant series of spaces that encourage sport, leisure and wildlife preservation.

Second prize was awarded to E16 6BL by Arup, a masterplan to create a technology hub around London City Airport.

Visitors to the Ongreening timber structure (in collaboration with the Polytechnic of Milan, engineered by Ramboll UK and supported by TRADA, Coillte and other sustainable-driven companies) got to experience the official launch of a new revolutionary online platform focused on sustainable building, green rating systems and building products.

Elta Fans have reported an excellent response to the launch of their new residential product range. Elta chose Ecobuild as the platform to launch the new range, recognising the important role that ventilation has to play in achieving the healthy, energy-efficient and sustainable homes of the future.

Particularly popular was the industry-leading MORI dMEV unit on show on the stand which has achieved exceptional performance results under independent, third party testing by the BRE. Designed specifically to offer decentralised mechanical extract ventilation, with a stylish front fascia which makes it suited to the most modern of kitchens or wet rooms. Like many of the fans in Elta’s residential range, the MORI dMEV features the unique BLADELET impeller which combines excellent energy efficient performance with the minimum noise levels so important in the domestic environment.

Ecobuild 2015 will take place at the ExCeL from March 3–5.

For more information, visit www.ecobuild.co.uk

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