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The Green Register Hot Topic: From Linear to Circular – A Review

After several fallow years. The Green Register team were delighted to hold our annual end-of-year conference in person again this year using Triodos bank’s very fine and ethical Foundation space in Bristol.

We decided on the theme of the circular economy to highlight the need for a holistic approach to sustainable construction, including of course the critical issue of biodiversity.

The challenge for us was trying to cover what is an enormous subject in just one day and we decided to invite no less than 15 speakers with short time slots so we could cover all the key issues.

Despite these short speaking slots, all of our speakers managed to provide an overview of their particular area of expertise and signpost our delegates to more detailed information.

Our keynote speaker was Gilli Hobbs from ReUsefully who opened the conference with a timeline of where we have travelled with construction waste. Gilli reminded us that 30 years ago really the only concern for most was making sure that the disposal of construction waste was legal whereas now of course we are much more focused on reducing waste in the first place.

Throughout the day we were treated to a wide range of talks from all of our wonderful speakers.

For example Lilly Ingleby of Race Cottam architects managed to explain some of the tools to measure whole life carbon in an impressively short time. Lilly said:

“Industry-wide, there’s much debate about how to reduce operational carbon i.e. the amount of emissions a building produces once in use, and less about embodied carbon, which is what my presentation addressed. This is a crucial part of the construction industry’s transition towards greater circularity, as if we want to design low carbon buildings, we must be able to measure the implications of our design decisions.

Lilly went on to say:

“I was encouraged to see plenty of diversity in the audience, with representatives not just from architecture, but ethical funders, ecology, and services designers, illustrating there is a collective willingness to change. These collaborations between the design disciplines are fundamental.

Another of our speakers, architect and engineer Qian Li, associate at Cundall, agreed:

‘I thoroughly enjoyed this well-organized conference,  both as speaker and participant. The content was engaging, thought provoking and fun, it was also a wonderful networking opportunity!’

You can read Lilly’s Linkedin summary here:

We finished the formal sessions with a wonderful presentation from architect Duncan Baker Brown who managed to present both the seriousness of the emergency together with a good dose of hope so that our delegates came away with the sense that they can really make a positive difference with their work by looking at all aspects of circular economy in construction.

We all enjoyed a glass of wine and mince pies with our delegates and speakers at the end of what was a very fascinating and informative session.

We are now thinking what subjects we might be covering for the 2023 conference.