Abdication of global leadership?

Does Trump's rejection of the Paris Accord Mark the end of a near century long era of American hegemony?  The void is open for others to fill; an opportunity not missed on François Macron.


RIBA Regional Awards 2017

I'm really delighted to announce that Shawm House won not one but four awards on Friday night at the RIBA North East Awards!  It won an overall award as well as in the categories of Small Project of the Year, Sustainability, and Project Architect!  I was apprehensive before the awards as I'm fairly aware that Shawm is not necessarily ground-breaking; despite our initial intent to use Brettstapel Shawm is not at the vanguard of any new form of construction, nor does it employ many firsts technology wise, but I do think it's pretty unique in the round.  There's a story and thread to just about every aspect of the project from conception to finished detail and the panel really seemed to buy into that.  It got a lovely write up too on the main RIBA website.  

Promising times...

Some very encouraging analysis from the FT regarding the prospects of the global green energy market.  Makes one wonder if Trump and the US republicans roll back on Climate policy whether they won't simply be left behind...  



The power of feedback is superb.  Having our SolarEdge portal and smart meter energy monitor in place means being able to constantly scrutinise our PV array performance and energy usage.  The SolarEdge portal is particularly helpful for studying patterns of usage and will be a useful tool when the building is properly occupied and we get our energy monitoring exercise underway.  We've had a couple of glitches getting our SolarEdge immersion switch in place but it will be good when it's finally in place so that we can use our excess electricity to heat our buffer tank instead of sending it back to the grid and using biomass instead.

One word of warning is that when the utility fitted our smart meter (having initially said when the mains electrical connection was first made that we couldn't have one) they fitted the CT clamp for our SolarEdge meter the wrong way around so that it was counting our generation as consumption; momentarily until the error was spotted it looked like our electricity consumption had sky-rocketed!


Last week I attended the Eco-build conference.  Conferences like this, and trade shows like Homebuilding and Renovating, and GrandDesigns Live, are a great places to get ideas and to target multiple suppliers/installers under one roof.  Windows were a real struggle on our project and if I could go back I would take our window schedule and specifications and target as many suppliers as possible under one roof.  I would do plenty of homework before you go so you know a little what you are talking about; its a trade show, people are obviously trying to sell you whatever they're selling, so knowing a little about first principles and the philosophy of your build will stand you in good stead.

Ecobuild offers not only lots of product suppliers and installers but talks and seminars covering every angle of sustainable building

Ecobuild offers not only lots of product suppliers and installers but talks and seminars covering every angle of sustainable building

On a side note it was a little disappointing to see the size of the conference has shrunk quite considerably in recent years.  This is due I think to a number of factors.  When I first visited the conference was packed to the rafters with solar PV firms with the industry booming on the back of the spectacularly badly handled FIT programme.  The effects of austerity and the financial crises are still being felt with the potential that eco is seen as luxury and therefore sidelined.  Finally, and I'm hoping this is the case, eco is being mainstreamed such that the scale and breadth of a specialist conference does not need to be so vast because the products and practices are being adopted anyway!  The latter may be optimistic...!