Using BIM to save Money and Resources

bimWe recently undertook a study on a project where BIM was utilised to identify potential waste and associated costs with a view to eliminating these.  The project was a new build retail store and the  results showed a potential saving of over £144k from over ordering of 1,284m2  on materials and the associated costs of disposing of this surplus.   This also gave an identified saving of over 200 tonnes of waste and the associated carbon saving from not having to generate the materials, deliver and dispose of them.   To do the study a comparison of the BIM model and the bill of quantities was carried out.

The BIM technology still has progress to be made and the data from it is only as good as the information put in but it has shown that we can use BIM at present to gain substantial carbon and cost savings making projects more sustainable.

If you are interested in carrying out a BIM sustainability study get in touch with us.

 

Trees, Schools and the Queen’s Spade

School group presentationEQ working with RG Group visited Solihull School as part of RG’s tree planting initiative which will see them plant more than 1800 trees this year, mostly in schools. RG Group are planting these trees to support local communities in line with their environmental plan associated with the construction of a new Sainsbury’s supermarket in Dorridge. As well as the Silver Birches planted at Solihull School there are 80 trees destined for the school’s outward bound centre in Snowdonia. In the afternoon, three large oak trees were planted in Dorridge Park sponsored by RG Group.

The day began at Solihull School with the planting of a pair of Silver Birch trees in the school grounds. The planting was attended by pupils and staff as well as representatives of the sponsoring company, RG Group. The spade used in the planting was last used by Her Majesty The Queen to plant a commemorative Black Mulberry tree when she visited the school in 1962. The spade has been a treasured item in the school archive ever since but was brought out for this special occasion.

Solihull School is a leading, co-educational, independent day school. Learning takes place in and out of the classroom, at home and abroad, and staff and pupils are encouraged to balance over 450 years of tradition with innovation and creativity. Assistant Head, Mr Martyn Garner said, “Both Geography and Physics student enjoyed hearing about the careers opportunity open to them in the world of renewable energies and offsetting. Solihull School is proud to be involved in RG Group’s tree planting project to offset against the new store opening in our community”.

Mr Garner also thanked RG Group for their support with the Snowdonia planting; “The 80 trees we are planting as part of this project will enhance the grounds of the School Mountain Cottage and also allow the geography department to measure and research the different growth rates of a particular tree type which is planted at School and in the harsh environment of North Wales”.

Later that day EQ and the RG Group planting team travelled to Dorridge Park where three English Oak trees were planted by Councillor Robert Hulland on behalf of Solihull MBC.

Over the next few weeks a further 1730 trees will be planted in 15 schools across the wider Birmingham area. The trees are all native British species such as Oak, Beech, Rowan, Silver Birch, Wild Cherry and Hazel, all grown in England from collected seed.

“It is fantastic that through our work with Sainsbury on the Dorridge development we are able to offset the entire embedded carbon of the building of the new store by engaging schools in tree planting and contributing to both the local and wider community.  It is first time that we have also provided mature tress which we were delighted to be able assist the council with and hopefully local residents can continue to enjoy these in Dorridge Park for many years to come.”  Colorado Goldwyn, Environmental Consultant

Park Group shot 2

EQ Getting stuck in (the mud) for nature

RG VolunteersEQ Consultancy were part of a group of volunteers that joined the RSPB for a team challenge at Sandwell Valley nature reserve.

The team got stuck in, digging over mud at the edge of the pools to create feeding habitat for wading birds.  They also rowed out to an island in the wetland to cut down willow trees in order to clear a runway for nesting birds.

As an existing corporate member of the RSPB with our client, it was decided to support an RSPB project close to one of their new developments in the West Midlands and it was great to also be able to spend a day at the reserve undertaking some hands-on conservation work, helping the RSPB to give nature a home.

 

Architects pledge to phase out carbon in the built environment by 2050

Green-architecture1Across the world over 1.3 million Architects in 124 countries have signed up to a global commitment to eliminate CO2 emissions in the built environment by 2050.

Member organisations have agreed to adopt the 2050 Imperative at the recent International Union of Architects (IUA) World Congress in Durban.

The 2050 Imperative states that urban areas are responsible for over 70% of global CO2 emissions, mostly from buildings, and that over the next two decades an area roughly equal to 60% of the world’s building stock will be built or rebuilt in urban areas. This provides an opportunity to reduce fossil fuel CO2 emissions to zero by 2050.

By signing up to the agreement Architects are charged with promoting the planning and design of carbon neutral cities, towns, urban development and new buildings.  In cases where carbon neutral is not feasible or practical, built environments must be designed with the highest efficiency in mind, with the capability to produce, or import, all energy from renewable energy sources in the future.

Why not contact EQ Consultancy to see how you can reduce your emissions.

For the full story go to Edie.net – http://www.edie.net/news/6/Architects-pledge-to-phase-out-carbon-in-the-built-environment-by-2050/

 

EQ helping to care for Employees and the Environment

electric vehicleFollowing a review EQ have helped a client finalise their new company car lists and the results are outstanding for both Employees and the Environment!

The team recognised the challenge that developing new car lists presented and identified the different needs that people have from a car. For a lot of employees a car is not simply just a car, it is a very emotive subject and probably the one area that causes most comment within some organisations. With this in mind the team researched and proposed lists that would offer not just environmentally friendly cars but also meet the needs of a family, the sporty driver, the status symbol etc.

All car lists now do not contain any vehicle that emits more than 110g/km and there are hybrid options available to all levels. It is a move that will obviously benefit the environment with the reduced level of emissions but also with the tax levels for company car drivers being set ever lower it should ensure that employees feel a direct benefit in their pockets too. One example of the cars available is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV which achieves ultra-low emissions of 44g/km, drivers choosing this vehicle will pay just 5% Benefit in Kind taxation, compare this to previous cars on that level which would have been anywhere between 20 & 35%, and you have serious savings which amount to £000’s each year.

Colorado from EQ said “Transport is the largest contributor to our client’s company carbon footprint and this is great step forward at helping to reduce that impact it is also fantastic that employees will get a tangible benefit from making greener choices from the car lists.”

EQ reduce clients carbon by 39.9%

EQ recently helped a client achieve a fantastic reduction in their company carbon footprint of Absolute Emissions down 39.9% and Per Employee emissions down 38.2% compared to the previous year.  The remainder of the carbon was then offset in a Gold Standard VER project – Sustainable Deployment of the LifeStraw® Family in rural Kenya.

Kenya photo 1

Benefitting the Environment and Improving Health

Project Description

The Lifestraw®Family units treat contaminated drinking water via a special microbiological filter. This reduces the demand for conventional water treatment that is achieved through boiling water with non-renewable biomass. With the assistance of carbon finance, this project becomes economically sustainable and, moreover, provides a significant improvement in public health.

Over a billion people in the world lack access to safe drinking water. Water borne disease is a leading cause of illness in the developing world, contributing to the death of on average 2,000,000 children every year.

In rural western Kenya, residents drink from water sources containing microbiological contamination. This leads to diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases, and accounts for, according to the World Health Organisation, the third leading cause of death in Kenya among children and adults. To attempt to guard against this, the prevailing practice in rural Kenya is to boil drinking water with wood. However, many families lack the resources to afford the wood, which is scarce and demonstrably non-renewable.

By combining carbon finance with the deployment of water treatment systems, this project will directly combine sustainable humanitarian development with international carbon markets. This will contribute to a nascent field wherein humanitarian goals are met in an economically sustainable and accountable way, rather than simply through unsustainable charity and aid. Through distributing LifeStraw® Family water treatment systems to over 1 million people, this project has the potential to dramatically reduce incidence of waterborne disease for more than 4 million people and reduce the use of firewood.

How LifeStraw® Works & Reduces CO2 Emissions

The LifeStraw® Family is a point-of-use microbial water treatment system intended for routine use in low-income settings.   The system can filter up to 18,000 Lifestrawlitres of water, enough to supply a family  of 5 with microbiologically clean drinking  water for 3 years, thus removing the need for repeat intervention. The system requires no electricity or additional consumables beyond the unit itself. It complies with the US Environmental Protection Agencys “Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Water Purifiers” providing treated water that is as good or better than boiling for microbiological contamination.

This project will provide access to clean drinking water to over 4 million rural Kenyans. The socioeconomic benefits of access to clean drinking water are well documented and include:

  • Reduced time spent provisioning water
  • Reduced cost for families
  • Reduced child and adult morbidity and mortality
  • Improved attendance at school
  • Increased productivity
  • Generally a sense of hope and opportunity

This project will also directly employ several thousand Kenyans during the deployment and several hundred during annual monitoring, education and maintenance activities.

“I think it is fantastic that our client is involved in a project with such huge socioeconomic benefits and able to help bring a basic necessity to Kenyan families, the project ties in with their own corporate commitment to reduce water usage and highlights the importance of conserving this natural resource” Colorado Goldwyn, Environmental Manager

Lifestraw in use

Contact EQ Consultancy to see how we can help you with your carbon.

EQs Springwatch

SAM_1686As the RSPB nature advert says “if you build it they will come” and EQ’s own little Springwatch seems to have proved that. We worked with a client on a couple of projects at Verwood and Alderley Edge where they have been encouraging all the site operatives to look out for wildlife and appreciate what is around them and report it to share with others. Both of these projects have also put up bird boxes around their area and a rather large moth was spotted at Alderley Edge. We believe it is a Lime Hawk moth which can normally be spotted in parks/gardens /woodlands but only flies on warm nights so I am guessing the 20th May was one of our rare warm evenings.   They are called a lime hawk because they feed at night on the leaves of lime (plus silver birch and elm) trees – however the adults don’t feed at all!

Perhaps most bizarrely our client have again had nesting birds in the cigarette disposal box at their offices! After the last time the birds nested there during a hot summer and unfortunately most of the chicks got roasted in the metal box, we decided to help protect them this year – see photo of perhaps the most unusual looking bird nesting site this year.

nesting birds in cigarette disposal portraitThe RSPB have now kindly said they will send us a suitable nesting box to put up at the office so hopefully next year they will have a more luxurious pad.

Finally for all you sceptics out there one of our operatives questioned the sense of putting up man made bird boxes in an area abundant in natural nesting sites and he subsequently got the lovely picture of the bird boxes in use at our Silvermere project.

nesting blue tits 2

As the ad goes – “if there’s no home for nature, there will be no nature!”  

Why not contact EQ to see how we can help you encourage nature!

 

 

 

Love where you Live – Tackle Waste

Litter PickWith the launch of June’s Love where you Live anti-litter campaign EQ were out cleaning up in their local neighbourhood as per attached photo. Not many people think about the money in involved in waste.

Waste reduction is a very important issue for EQ  and everyone should get involved as not only does it  have environmental benefits it hits you all directly in your pockets.

The less waste we produce and have to pay to get rid of the more profitable we all are!

This applies not just to our construction sites but also our offices where sometimes we don’t think immediately of the wasted resources that end up in our bins but the majority of our generated waste from our offices we have also paid good money for (think of the paper, stationary, ink, milk tipped down the drain etc).

Waste can also end up as litter in our communities and this has a psychological impact on you whether you are aware of it or not.  Much research has been done about the positive impact that green spaces have on our well being but this is drastically reduced if that same green space is covered in litter.  And for those of you not buying any of this “green hippy stuff” here’s some firm financial data:

  • £1 billion pounds spent  a year on cleaning rubbish from our streets
  • £3 million pounds spent a year litter picking from the motorways
  • That’s £40 per bag of rubbish – the same cost to repair one of those pesky potholes that we all complain about on our roads.

Whilst bringing it back to the construction industry:

  • Waste management and disposal costs the industry the equivalent of 30% of pre-tax profits
  • 33% of all waste in the UK is accounted for by the construction industry
  • Landfill tax continues to rise as such the need to reduce waste costs is a valuable opportunity to improve profitability.

Talk to EQ on how we can work with you to improve your waste figures, increase profitability and enhance your communities.Love Where You Live