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Green Sky Thinking 2013 formally launched on Tuesday with a breakfast reception and panel discussion hosted by Gardiner & Theobald. Open-City Trustee The Rt Hon Nick Raynsford, MP welcomed the 100-strong audience, which included a strong showing from architects who numbered almost a quarter of those attending.
In a repeat performance of last year’s launch, Richard Blakeway, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land and Property, gave the keynote address. Blakeway stressed the importance of retrofitting existing housing stock. Key to the mayoral strategy is working with social landlords and linking environmental makeovers with maintenance and repair. Second in importance is the private rental sector (currently a quarter of London’s stock and projected to reach 37 per cent by 2020) where incentives for retrofit need to be put in place. In the public sector, the RE:FIT programme has tackled over 400 buildings to date, many in the NHS estate. A focus on schools is forthcoming.
In the commercial sector, Blakeway noted that New York City’s approach of linking retrofit to sales transactions has ‘transformed’ the property market there. The viability of an approach which ‘mirrors the New York experience’ for London is being considered.
A varied panel of four speakers was then asked to speculate on the sustainable city of tomorrow, extending their gaze beyond just carbon.
- Chair: Richard Francis, Gardiner & Theobald, Director of Environment & Sustainability
- Mike de Silva, Crossrail, Sustainability Manager
- Tatiana Bostells, Hermes Real Estate, Head of Responsible Property Investment
- Paul Heather, Skanska, MD Building, London and South East
- Peter Madden, Forum for the Future, Chief Executive
Crossrail’s Mike de Silva suggested that infrastructure and technology will be increasingly linked in tomorrow’s city. Crossrail has examined whether its 21km of twin bore tunnels could be a conduit for district heating or other utilities, but de Silva confirmed that this approach would not be adopted. Crossrail sustainability initiatives include the first application of BREEAM to underground stations, LED lighting solutions which are ‘pioneering in the UK’, and inspirational design.
Paul Heather of Skanska spoke of the importance of embedding green leadership across an entire organisation rather than just in a green team. The BREEAM Outstanding Brent Civic Center, an exemplar Skanska project, is about to complete.
Tatiana Bosteels described the Renovate Europe campaign which is targeting 20 percent savings by 2020 and is predicted to save £100 billion/year in the public and private sector and create up to 1 million jobs if the targets are met.
She then focused on Hermes’ work with Argent in King’s Cross Central, ‘a new sustainable inclusive urban quarter’, noting that it is easier to stretch environmental ambition when working at an urban scale rather than on an individual building.
King’s Cross Central will include:
- 1,900 homes (30 per cent affordable)
- Retrofitted buildings: Central St. Martins
- New primary and preschool
- Google Europe headquarters
- Bennetts Associates’ Camden Council offices
- Enterprise Centre
Finally, Peter Madden of Forum of the Future discussed ways to ‘future-proof the unknowable future.’ He suggested that by looking at mega-trends and using digital intelligence to predict different scenarios, one can begin to postulate what the future may hold. The key then is ‘not to be passive and to make your own future.’
This is an excellent mindset with which to approach Green Sky Thinking. Amongst the 40-odd seminars, workshops and site visits on offer throughout the week, more than a dozen architectural practices are hosting events showcasing sustainable design. Participating practices include many Footprint regulars: AHMM, Architype, Ash Sakula, BACA Architects, Bennetts Associates, Cullinan Studio, David Morley Architects, Nicholas Hare Architects, Paul | Davis + Partners, Penoyre & Prasad, Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects, and Squire & Partners.
Book your seminars now. www.greenskythinking.org