Engineers consider green construction with the Eden Project
With increasing pressure on the construction industry to find sustainable methods of delivering critical projects, the Institution of Civil Engineers South West is bringing together industry representatives and experts to discuss how this can be achieved.
The ‘Construction in the Green Economy’ conference at the Eden Project will look at how the concept of sustainable construction is changing the way the industry works and explore what it means for the promoters, designers and constructors of engineering infrastructure. It will also consider the Government’s agenda, accessing funding for major regeneration programmes and the lessons learnt from 10 years of the Eden Project, co-hosts of the conference.
Construction is a field that has a major impact on our quality of life; however with climate change a real driver in today’s society, the sector must find new ways of delivering key projects in a carbon-efficient manner. This means minimising the consumption of energy and materials, considering the carbon life-cycle of the end product – such as infrastructure assets - as well as the impact on the natural world.
Trish Johnson, South West Regional Director of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said: “Sustainable construction in the UK is an important concern both in design and practice. If we are to achieve a green economy, the construction industry needs to find innovative ways to deliver key projects, taking into account environmental and financial constraints.
“A structure such as the Eden Project is a fine example of how we can innovate to make construction sustainable, but we need to encourage more of the industry – as well as clients - to see the advantages of greener construction. Our position in the south west means that materials used in building generally need to be transported into the peninsula, adding to the carbon footprint; using local suppliers and recycling materials is just one of the many ways we could make our construction low carbon.”
She added, “The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and other government departments are supporting the UK’s move into the new low carbon economy, which cannot be achieved by renewable forms of energy alone. This conference will look at the issues facing engineers in achieving sustainable construction and how funding for such projects can be achieved.”
The conference is to be chaired by Past President of ICE and Director of Crane Environmental, Dr Jean Venables CBE at the Eden Project in Cornwall on Wednesday 11 May.
Speakers include DECC Senior Advisor, Keith Waller, who will look at a Government perspective, and CIRIA (Construction Industry Research and Information Association) & CEEQUAL (The Assessment Scheme for Civil Engineering and the Public Realm) representative Philip Charles who discuss environmental assessment methodologies.
John Hodkin, of Eco-Bos Development, will talk about post mining regeneration and Stephen Snooks, of North Devon Homes, will speak on funding for major regeneration programmes and conversion of non-traditional housing.
Reflecting on the Eden Project’s 10th birthday celebrations this year, Sustainability Manager Caron Thompson will speak on the lessons that have been learnt on this world-famous project. She said: “One of Eden’s aims as a leader in the field of sustainable construction is to share the learning from our projects both on and off site and to stimulate and encourage discussion from other practitioners in the industry.
“The ICE conference has an exciting range of speakers that offers the opportunity for participants to consider how inspiration and innovation backed with an understanding of the practicalities of delivering a project can work together as a driver for more sustainable projects.”
Dr Venables will also present a CEEQUAL award of Excellent (76.6%) for the A419 Blunsdon Bypass project to Mouchel & Nicholas Pearson Associates (designers), Carillion (contractors) and Highways Agency (clients).