Guest blog by delegate Tim Brown, Ashton Design, Cumbria
Work in Cumbria is varied and diverse but predominantly involves renovation/refurbishment and extension of traditional buildings, many employing solid stone walls and dipping slate roofs. Therefore when I learnt of the one day course to become an Accredited Eco-Refurbisher and with the experience of previous Green Register events I decided to venture down to Bristol.
Travel to Bristol by train or bus from `The North` is not easy for a one day event so I used up all of my travel brownie points (I work from home) and arrived by car the night before. Bristol is a vibrant city and a stroll along the river bank looking for the Create Centre reveals many interesting new developments, complemented by plenty of traditional pubs hidden in back streets and squeezed onto the waterfront.
Lucy had laid on a beautiful sunny day for us and after a wander around the Create Centre we kicked off with Paul Rainger of Forum for the Future, who set a positive tone to the day by dissecting the government’s target of 80% reduction of emissions by 2050. This he equated to a refit of 7m homes by 2020 which means approximately 1700 homes per day! Plenty of work for all of us?
The day progressed with technical analysis of the problems facing the successful delivery of government targets. Notable speakers included Nicholas Heath of Changeworks, and his case studies of listed Georgian tenements in Edinburgh. He also included the excellent sound bite `Government buildings emit more CO2 than all of Kenya`!
As always the course was presented with an informal but professional approach, with Lucy driving the speakers forward to finish within their allotted times, sometimes to the frustration of the many questions which arose. The speakers were clear and the presentation technology worked OK. Generally the day’s emphasis was on facts and figures. I personally would like to have seen more technical case studies of actual buildings and a more in depth look at real detailing issues. Diagrams of typical systems are no substitute for onsite solutions. The main things I will take away from the day are a reinforcement of all of the information learnt at previous Green Register courses and that, whilst saving the planet is a pretty good goal to aim at, there are a lot of business opportunities along the way.
As I left the hotel in the morning I had a brief chat with a man on his way to a seminar on software updates for a windscreen replacement business. When I told him I also was on my way to a course he was amazed at my dress of shorts and sandals; he was wearing a suit and tie. However he did say that the day before the coordinator of his course had stood up in the afternoon and announced `Gentlemen you can now take off your ties` makes you glad we are living in the free world!