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Keith Manger, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place
Utilise Plus Event Report: Business Networking Breakfast in Brighton
The Sustainable Business Partnership CIC welcomed delegates bright and early to Brighton, for a Business Networking Breakfast. This event was held as part of the SBP CIC’s ongoing Utilise Plus programme, which helps small and medium sized enterprises to reduce their energy use and save them money in the process.
The SBP CIC’s Jack Dale introduced the event by outlining the various services on offer through Utilise Plus, including grant funding, energy audits, and a variety of events throughout Sussex. Jack then handed over to the expert speakers who presented on ‘sustainable construction.’ First up was Mischa Hewitt of Earthwise, who spoke on the Passivhaus Standard and the design principles of insulation, airtightness and ventilation. After giving some examples of passivhaus buildings, Mischa explained the key features that they share: this includes being well insulated, having very low air leakage and using shading to avoid overheating in the summer. For Mischa, sustainable construction is all about designing something that requires minimal maintenance which can be achieved with ease with passivhaus principles.
Next up was John Smith of Cityzen who spoke about sustainable materials and the energy hierarchy, what John believes are the two key elements in sustainable construction. John outlined the ‘materials hierarchy,’ with reusing materials or reducing them as much as possible at the top and recovering materials at the end of their useful lives at the bottom along with sending materials to landfill. Similarly, the ‘energy hierarchy’ went from ‘being lean’ and minimising energy usage altogether, down to ‘being green’ and using renewable energy or Low Carbon Technologies where necessary.
Our final speaker was Alaric Wood of Avensys, who presented on integrating smart technologies into buildings to allow for the most efficient controlling of lighting, heating, entertainment, security, and more. Alaric’s main message was that technology should be as simple and user-friendly as possible, to ensure that it’s used to its full potential. One of the main obstacles to implementing smart technologies is that many consumers do not know much about it and are often concerned about how secure such technologies will be. For this reason, Alaric advocates getting advice from a consultant to ensure that any technology is not only secure but also the most appropriate for a particular building.
With the talks finished, the event came to a close with networking over refreshments. Delegates enjoyed the event, with Alasdair Walmsley of Acumen Finance praising the “good presentations,” while Stefania Rosso of Brighton Energy Co-op appreciated the “update about local sustainable construction initiatives,” and James Willson of Sun-X enjoyed the “good mix of like-minded people.”
This event was held in partnership with Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership and was fully funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). At the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC, we always want to hear from knowledgeable speakers, enthusiastic event partners, and interesting venues. If you’d like to work with us then please get in touch.