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FutureBuild 2024



  

On 7th March, a delegation from the St. Andrew’s Creation Care group visited the FutureBuild exhibition in London. This event showcases a mix of new sustainable building technologies and ideas on how to make communities more sustainable.

 

Some of the highlights included:

  •  “The Role of Education in Climate Awareness”: The importance of starting climate education around age 5-7 was emphasized to learn the right behaviours early. However, 70% of teachers lack confidence in teaching climate change!

 

  • “Data-Led Net Zero Decisions”: This uncovered some of the reasons why the adoption of heat pumps has been slower than anticipated – there is a lack of data on how they perform on unusual buildings (hence why we are monitoring St. Andrew’s to build data to support our own future heating strategy!). Also, the benefits of heat pumps aren’t appropriately rewarded in Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) scores.

 

  • “Thriving Communities and a Just-Transition”: This introduced the concept of “Doughnut Economics”. The Doughnut diagram shows aspects of the “social foundation” (what society needs to thrive) on an inner ring, and the “ecological ceiling” (what the planet can support) on an outer ring – a thriving society should exist between these two rings. We can use the diagram to plot the sustainability of a community:

 



 

It also provided “four lenses” that help challenge how we build or manage our environment:

 

 

Local aspirations

Global Responsibilities

Ecological

“How can this place be as generous as the wildland next door?”

“How can this place respect the health of the whole planet?”

Social

“How can all the people of this place thrive?”

“How can this place respect the wellbeing of all people?”

 

Another speaker in this session challenged us to engage contractors and suppliers so they are motivated to act sustainably; motivation suffers when costs are squeezed and collaboration between different trades is not encouraged.

 

  • We heard from a range of local authorities and action groups about their plans for tackling climate change and what they have achieved. One fantastic presentation by Climate Action Leeds showed the many participants large and small that they had working together, from government departments to pressure groups, with their stated aim being to put people back at the heart of decision making. However, faith groups were nowhere to be seen – this feels like a missed opportunity!

 

  • We saw some interesting developments in Ground Source Heat Pumps  - this might be relevant for when we replace the church’s existing gas boilers. One company was showcasing their technology to sink significantly deeper piles (to collect more heat from the ground) than is currently achievable, and another company was showing how they could now drill diagonally to collect more heat from a single drilling site – including from the land under the building itself. 

 

  • We saw some development in solar panel technologies – the massively increased efficiency of newer panels means that the traditional thinking that they could only be placed on south-facing roofs is now old-hat, and east- and west-facing roofs are sometimes preferred as they collect sunlight earlier in the morning and later in the evening, when more power is needed. 

 

This event provided a lot of food for thought – some of this will filter into our plans to make our Church Net Zero by 2030 and other ideas will be used to help us better serve our community. If you would like more information, do contact Andrew Love who can share the full set of notes we have collated.

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