LIVEtalk Energy Forum – South Gloucestershire Business Show
PACT Property & Assets were delighted to take part in the South Gloucestershire Business Show with Director, Chris Price, participating in the LIVEtalk Energy Forum which stimulated a lively discussion considering the challenges faced by us all, as individuals and businesses, living and operating in the region, which has declared a ‘Climate Emergency’
Its official! – Councils across the south west including Bristol, North Somerset, Stroud, the Forest of Dean and others are declaring a Climate Emergency seeking to become carbon neutral by 2030.
A COMMENDABLE AMBITION, BUT…..
It sounds a worthy and thoroughly commendable ambition but… ‘how do we get there’?
When you consider the scale of the problem it can be daunting and appear unmanageable. But then Rome wasn’t built in a day and we can all do our bit. Simple steps such as banning single use plastics, catching the Metro one day a week, sharing a lift, holding video meetings can all help and start to raise awareness of the issues.
THE NEXT INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION?
From the view of business, the challenges are enormous and amount to a revolution in the way we live.
For example, Avonmouth has developed as a hub for industry, however, most people travel there by car and would not want to live next to the waste incinerator. The result is that there is no use for the hot water produced with up to 60% of the energy from the combustion process released heating the Bristol Chanel! The challenge is to have integrated planning policies that allow for district heating and power generation to be close enough to housing to make such schemes economic.
Likewise, with transport there are several measures that can help, such as, better and clean public transport in urban centres, electric and hybrid vehicles, road trains, car sharing etc all of which will have their place, however there is no one-size that fits all and huge investment in infrastructure is required.
The built environment is often overlooked, however worldwide, somewhere in the order of 30-40% of all energy is used in buildings. Locally we have an ageing and poorly insulated housing stock with the majority of new build projects not designed for rainwater capture, ground source heat pumps, or solar panels as standard. While retro-fitting these to buildings is possible it is much easier and cost effective if included at the construction stage. Building regulations provide the vehicle to drive improvements in this area and are in need of an overhaul to reflect the need to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment.
Regulation plays its part, but the feeling of the forum was that while industry recognises the need for change the penalties for no compliance are low when compared to the cost of meeting mandatory obligations such as ESOS audits, and MEES, and in any case where is the inspection and regulation needed for enforcement.
If there was one theme that came out of the discussion It is “how do we bring this to the top of the agenda?” for government, business and individually. We are being shown the way by Greta Thunberg and of course programmes such as the Blue Planet has highlighted the issue with single use plastics. People are rising up and making their voices heard through protests groups such as Extinction Rebellion and School Climate Strikes but any real change has to come from the government through a mixture of incentives and penalties.
Suggestions were that the RICS, the Federation of Small Businesses, and individual companies declaring emergencies could all help, but there needs to be change at a national level whether banning the use of single use plastics or changing planning and building regulations to ensure the housing stock of the future is carbon neutral. On an individual basis we can all start taking small steps to a greener future whether by turning down the central heating a degree or two, perhaps using public transport a little more, or investigating solar panels for our houses. My own view is that there are fantastic opportunities in this sector and that those who get ahead of the game will reap the biggest benefits.
The discussion panel was chaired by Simon Graham of DeCourcey Alexander and included Lucy Rees South Glos Council, Ben Wilby Goodenergy, James Pullin Optimise Energy, Jack Price Bristol Energy, Kellie Thatcher VWV, Steve Retford Energy Management Ltd, Marija Slare Energy and Technical Services, Wayne Talbot also of DeCourcey Alexander, and Chris Price of PACT Property and Assets all of who have an interest in this fast developing area.
About The South Gloucestershire Business Show
• Giving business a voice and a place to express it
• A diverse mix of key business issues expressed through a variety of platforms:
• LIVEtalk Discussions | Forums | Workshops
• A two – day event held annually