Conference Keynote: Peter Head

peter-head“Peter Head is cited by Time magazine as one of 30 global eco-heroes.” That’s quite an accolade, and not undeserved.

The Sustainable Development Goals are targets that hundreds of countries around the world have agreed to (more info about these and implications in civil engineering in a future blog post). Peter Head was greatly involved in creating Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and much of his work focuses on achieving this goal.

Peter believes that all design should take into account the environment in which it is placed. Within building work there are many systems which we interrupt, alter, and change: environmental, social, political, physical, psychological … the list goes on. Without considering the affects of all of these systems we cannot create truly sustainable design. He has set up a charity, The Ecological Sequestration Trust, which is collating every data set available (Europe wide!) that measures these factors. Right down to predicting future health or economic implications of a design. Not only that, but it will be available for FREE. It will be an open source tool that anyone can access and use, bringing together public, private and third sector design work. When focussing on a specific region it becomes a 3D visualised model to aid solution finding. It is also BIM compatible. Excited?

As we all choose to examine how our designs affect the areas within which they reside slowly the system will change from cost focussed procurement to performance based procurement. The designs that meet the brief, but also minimise lifetime energy costs, and are happy spaces, improving mental (and physical) health will be the ones being constructed. We could wait for the government to lead on this, but why wait? They aren’t stopping them from designing and building, and there’s no certainty the government will ever catch up with this development anyway.

Take a look at this video:

Using this method, you can end up with designs such as the Solcer House:


This is the UK’s first ever Carbon Positive House! Due to clever design, a well utilised south facing roof, high insulation levels and a decent battery this house produces more electricity than it uses during the year. In fact the batteries in this house can be used during peak times to avoid having additional power stations. Not only that, but it is gas free, so it even helps the frack-free campaigns!