Elementa present at the ECN/RCN conference – ‘What is Sustainable Housing and Regeneration?’
The ‘Residential Construction Network and Education Construction Network Conference’ is a major two day event exploring a range of topics within the education and housing sector. This years theme of ‘home and away’ included a plethora of thought provoking sessions, where speakers discussed the design and construction of homes and communities abroad, looking at the influences they derive from UK models as well as how we are influenced by international design.
Our Principals Rob Harris and Benjamin J. Galuza presented ‘A tale of two cities’ in the ‘What is Sustainable Housing and Regeneration?’ plenary. By using Vancouver and London as their selected model cities, both presenters explained that whilst the major cities may span across two continents, both have similar climates and demographics, each have their very own unique mix of policies, typologies and solutions to meet todays sustainability challenges. Using our extensive portfolio of urban residential mixed use schemes (both in London and Vancouver) Rob and Ben discussed similar regeneration projects, from high to low rise, comparing the success and key outcomes throughout their development.
Ben and Rob found that in order to ensure the design of these types of schemes are not compromised and produce successful results, correct communication and coordination tools are key as well as optimising site development values. It was clear that high quality schemes powerfully integrate a mix of uses which in turn promotes community and social diversity. A clear differentiator was the carbon intensity of the London grid network (40 times that of Vancouver) yet still from a carbon point of view the burning of fossil fuels and the use of CHP still did not stack up from an environmental stand point (while still having some socio-economic benefits).
A reliance on compliance tools were seen as an industry flaw which creates general misunderstanding, particularly with building users and owners and can lead to inefficient schemes being built, Rob and Ben advocated that the solution here was performance modelling and benchmarking.
Rob and Ben concluded the presentation by indicating that we can no longer afford to burn fossil fuels if we are to impact climate change and the seriousness of the outcomes if we continue doing so now. The session was followed by a Q&A where both presenters reiterated their key viewpoints to the audience to ensure successful sustainable housing regeneration is created in the future:
- People/Community First
- Performance NOT compliance
- Targets NOT technologies
- Encourage innovation
- Climate and comfort resilience for free if done well
More information on the annual ECN/RCN conference can be found here: http://www.theacn.co.uk/rcn-ecn-conference-2016.