AECB Staff and Board
Keith & Sally Hall – Founders
Keith and Sally founded the association for environment conscious building in 1989 following their concern about the use of unsustainable tropical timber in the UK construction industry. They are committed to disseminating information on green building with particular emphasis on promoting eco building products. Keith’s publishing business, the Green Building Press, publishes Green Building magazine (formerly Building for a Future) and the Green Building Bible.
Chris Baines – Honorary President
Chris is an independent advisor to government ministers, local councils and to senior executives in the construction, water, housing and oil industries. He is also a well known writer, broadcaster and international conference speaker and leading UK environmental campaigner.
Andy Simmonds – Chief Executive Officer
Andy is the Chief Executive Officer of the AECB (part-time). Andy is also an architectural designer and builder and a partner in Simmonds.Mills, a practice which specialises in ecological design.
Sally Hall – Finance and Administration Officer
Sally manages the finance and administration aspects for the AECB. Her expertise is in finance, personnel and administration processes. She provided support for the CarbonLite and Passnet porgrammes. Along with Warm, Low Energy Building Practice, she helps run the CarbonLite courses. She is also one of the AECB’s founders.
Gill Rivers – Business Operations Manager
Gill Rivers has been contracted to provide business operations management services to the existing core team, and to help the AECB support its existing 1500 strong membership base. Gill previously helped with the AECB CarbonLite programme. Her role includes listening to the membership, maximising, communicating and promoting membership benefits.
Emma Furniss – Membership Administrator and Website Sub Editor
Emma deals with membership enquiries and administration. In her additional role of Website Sub Editor, she helps to ensure that the web-site is kept up-to-date.
Debbie Mauger – Local Groups Co-ordinator
Having spent many years working as an architectural technician for Architects and Town Planners in both South Africa and the UK, Debbie now promotes the AECB Local Group activities. She assists volunteer regional leaders who organise events that are mini conventions available to all AECB members throughout the year in a growing number of venues throughout the country. These meetings not only provide an opportunity to hear talks and presentations from leading experts, but also offer site visits to interesting buildings as well as networking and socialising with like-minded people.
Debbie can be contacted and followed on Twitter where she is described as the ‘go-to’ person for Sustainable Building Association local events and people
Chris Lord Smith – Network Newsletter
Chris has worked in construction for many years and became a successful contracts manager and project manager, and ran his own building company from 1990 to 2002.
He formed Llanisolar Ltd in 2004 initially just installing Solar Thermal systems but expanding rapidly to install all forms of renewable heating systems and also Solar PVs. The company now employs 11 people and is expanding, being one of the larger specialist companies in this new and developing market.He has been a member of the AECB since its foundation and was one of the trustees who set up the AECB as a limited company and helped with the transition from a loose membership organisation into the professional association it is today. He maintains a keen interest in the association and its aims, and now edits and distributes the monthly newsletter, which he has done from its beginning.
Simon Kember – Website Administrator
Simon took over the role of Webmaster in the summer of 2011 and is responsible for maintaining,improving and developing the AECB’s websites and the services that they provide to members as well as supporting the board and staff with technical assistance.
AECB Board of Trustees
Members of the AECB Board of Trustees are elected at the Annual General Meeting. Candidates must have been a member of the Association for a minimum of one year to qualify for election. Trustees are unpaid.
Peter Wilkinson – Chair and Company Secretary
Peter Wilkinson is an architectural technologist and partner in architectural practice EcoDesign, and managing director of both Dales Contracts Ltd and Dales Renewables Ltd. Peter studied at Leeds College of Building and Leeds School of Architecture, gaining an HNC in architecture, and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists. He has subsequently qualified as a planning supervisor and a bench joiner, applying his practical knowledge and skills to the businesses. Peter became a Passivhaus designer in 2009 and helped set up the Passivhaus Trust later that year and is an AECB representative on the board of the Trust.
Following 17 years in private practice, EcoDesign was formed in 1996, with an emphasis on sustainable building design working in the domestic, community, retail and education sectors.
Dales Contracts, originally established in 1989, became a member of the AECB later that year. As a mainstream building & joinery contractor it has influenced many projects in become more environmentally sustainable. Since 1995 the business has concentrated more on the green building sector, working on various eco projects such as low impact & low energy buildings. Dales Renewables Ltd. was established in 2007 as solar thermal and wood pellet boiler installers and now regional suppliers of wood pellet fuel. Along with EcoDesign and Dales Contracts, Dales Renewables adds to a package of sustainable building solutions.
Fran Bradshaw – Deputy Chair
Fran Bradshaw is an architect, and has been a partner at Anne Thorne Architects since 1996. Extensive experience in participatory design and community projects, with a strong focus on green design, form the basis of her work.
She has contributed through lectures, articles and seminars to developing and promoting sustainable design and refurbishment, and has been a member of the AECB since its early years.
Increasing participation by all AECB members in the work of the organisation, and reflecting women’s experience of and concerns about the urban and built environment, are a priority.
Paul Bourgeois – Leader of the East of England Group & Treasurer
Paul is a director of Zero Carbon Britain Ltd, Associate at GreenSpec and Certified European Passivhaus Consultant. Paul’s sustainability routes trace back to 1994 where he began his career as a Local Agenda 21 Co-ordinator and Recycling officer involved in earlier recycling and composting schemes. Paul then moved to Norfolk in 1997 and began working on energy efficiency and renewable energy technology deployment and academic research. He then contributed to the building of a straw bale apple storage barn before completing his post graduate research project at the University of East Anglia. Paul was Development Director Renewables East, a regional development agency organisation before starting his own consultancy company.
Working for local, regional and national organisations such as local authorities, charities, the Broads Authority and the Energy Saving Trust to name a few Paul and his network of national Associates work on designing carbon reduction delivery projects, writing third sector funding proposals, providing training and awareness raising, and creating innovative ways to foster mass market take up of deep green philosophy through practical demonstration and real world application.
Neill Lewis – Secretary to the Trustees
Neill has been a member of the AECB since 1990 and was appointed to the first steering committee in 1993.
A Chartered Architect with a thriving practice in Malvern, Worcestershire, Neill actively promotes AECB CarbonLite and Passivhaus standards through his work. He is also a qualified teacher and has published articles on eco subjects as diverse as paint, furniture construction and roofing technology.
Neill has been chair of Malvern Hills Agenda 21, a member of Friends of the Earth and was instrumental in securing protection for the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty through amendments to an Act of Parliament.
Neill believes that the Association, having established itself as a leader in the eco-building field, must continue to raise its profile in order to remain at the forefront by
- Being a forum for debate
- Being the acknowledged advisory body
- Campaigning on selected issues
- Providing education and training
Chris Herring – AECB Trustee
Chris has been serving on the Board (previously steering committee) since 1995, and was chair of the AECB for 8 years until stepping down in 2013.
Chris is a founder director of Environmental Construction Products Ltd, which operates the Green Building Store and Green Building Company. His key role is in steering the future direction of the company and the products and activitites that fit within that direction. The company decided some years ago to make Passivhaus a key focus, and as a result it is now acknowledged as an important and influential SME in the Passivhaus field. The company built the flagship Denby Dale Passivhaus and continues to undertake ground breaking Passivhaus construction projects. Alongside this it has developed key expertise and product ranges in Passivhaus fenestration and ventilation among other areas.
Chris was part of a small core AECB team which instigated and took forward the development of the UK Passivhaus Trust, and he has been chair of the Trust since its foundation. He also plays a role within the international Passivhaus community, and is currently chair of the International Passivhaus Affiliates Council.
Chris has been passionate about environmental issues since his teens – a passion he is proud to have inherited from his father. His career path has been varied, from communard, social worker, special needs teacher and childcare to joiner, gas installer and small builder and now approaching 20 years in his current role.
Nick Grant is a Certified Passivhaus Consultant and runs the energy and water consultancy Elemental Solutions. He is a Technical Director of the compost toilet manufacturer NatSol Ltd and a trustee of the Passivhaus Trust.
He has written numerous papers and best practice guidance on many aspects of water and energy efficiency for clients such as the Environment Agency, the Energy Saving Trust and the AECB.
Nick is committed to an ‘Eco-minimalist’ approach to sustainable construction, rather than bolt-on solutions and green icons. He has developed a number of commercial products, and designed and built his own water and energy efficient house and office.
Mischa Hewitt is a sustainability consultant and project manager. He has an MSc Architecture: Advanced Energy & Environment Studies from the Centre of Alternative Technology / University of East London and is also a Certified Passivhaus Designer.
He is the co-author of ‘Earthships: Building a zero carbon future’ published by IHS Press and is a director of The Low Carbon Trust, where he project managed the award winning Earthship Brighton project. Mischa also runs the sustainable building company Earthwise Construction based in Sussex, and in recent years has organised many environmental events, including the ‘Eco Open Houses’ weekends in Brighton and several conferences.
In his spare time Mischa plays the piano and composes classical music. Mischa is also very active in the Brighton (South East) Group.
Peter Wilshaw – Membership Secretary
Peter spent his first 20 years as a civil engineer, specialising in large-scale water treatment and land reclamation. He has always been interested in environmental issues and in the early nineties founded the environmental building company Greenbuilt.
With his then work partner Chris Coates they explored Segal style buildings at the Centre for Alternative Technology, and traditional constructions, resulting in their first major project. This was a cruck frame barn in green oak which became a core element of Lanternhouse, a RIBA award-winning artists’ project base and training centre in Cumbria.
Since then Peter has gone on to design and construct buildings large and small, as the Greenbuilt strapline says, “with people for people” – adults with learning difficulties, the long-term unemployed, parents, children, young people and artists.
In 2000 he designed and built the first contemporary environmentally sustainable houses in North Staffordshire, training local building inspectors on the way, and has been looking for as many opportunities to intervene in the regeneration agenda as possible.
As well as construction projects with Greenbuilt, Peter works with arts companies, is the former chair of the trustees of a local social enterprise, Community Works, is a member of Sustainable Staffordshire, a member of Staffordshire Business and Environment Network and a grandad to Zak and Isabella.
Gary is Director of Design and Sustainability at HPW Architecture based in Hampshire. Founded in 1986 HPW are a multi-disciplined Architecture, Interior Design and Branding studio specialising in Sustainable and resilient solutions. Working on projects ranging from £100k to £40 million in the Retail, Leisure, Residential and Commercial sectors, Gary and his team aim to minimise impact and energy use in the construction and whole life operation of the buildings they design.
Having had a passion to deliver low energy solutions to his clients for many years, Gary went back to University in 2008 and gained an MSC in Sustainable Building: Performance and Design at Oxford Brookes. Focussing on Building Physics, POE, Bioregional material sourcing and Dynamic Thermal Modeling, his study and research now informs the holistic, integrated and independent approach adopted by the design and technical team at HPW.
Gary has a very active involvement with the construction industry and sustainably focussed regional organisations throughout the UK. He regularly speaks at and chairs events and is keen to bring his enthusiasm and energy to the AECB team. Gary is also very active in the Hampshire Group.
Nidhi Shah (Leader of the Birmingham Group)
Nidhi is a Certified European Passivhaus Designer and has a degree in architecture form India. Nidhi has worked on sustainable projects, using local skills and crafts in India before moving to UK. In UK she started her career with the Knowledge Transfer Partnership Project with Birmingham City University and Ashram Housing Association to develop sustainable housing suitable to the needs of culturally diverse clientele of Ashram HA.
Nidhi has been organising meetings and events for local Birmingham Group and is passionate about AECB. Nidhi is currently finishing her MSc in Architecture (AEES) at Centre for Alternative Technology and is preparing to set up her own consultancy in the near future.
Paul Jennings of Aldas is the most experienced airtightness tester and consultant in the UK, and an AECB member for over 15 years. He has presented at several conferences and demonstrated the door fan test equipment at others. He is a Certified PassivHaus Consultant and has been involved in many UK PassivHaus projects, including the first certified domestic and non-domestic PH projects in Machynlleth, both built by John Williamson, and most recently the Lancaster Co-Housing Project (41 PH houses and flats) for which Andrew Yeats is the architect. Paul is an experienced trainer and originated the “Airtightness Champion” concept, delivering numerous CPD seminars. For many years he was a non-executive director of the charity Carbon Descent, originally Southwark Energy Agency, former AECB members, specialising in governance and employment issues. After relocating out of London to a community near Bude, he formed the AECB South West Local Group and was leader for a time before relocating to the Cotswolds for family reasons.
Julia Bennett is a UK registered architect and Certified Passivhaus Designer with a Masters in Energy Efficient Building, based in the Cotswolds. She is a long-standing AECB member and local group coordinator, with a passion for sustainable design, stakeholder involvement and collaborative working to achieve integrated positive communities and developments.
In the 90s Julia was a Trustee of the Association for Technical Aid Centres, and the Axiom Community Arts Project in Cheltenham, and Sustainable Solutions coordinator for Stroud Community Planning Conference and for the community-led Local Agenda 21 initiative in Gloucestershire, Vision 21. She has used ‘whole system’ facilitation and consensus-building techniques and workshops to bring large and small groups of diverse stakeholders to work and engage together on highly complex issues and projects. Her work has included roles for large multi-disciplinary practice Atkins, architectural coop Quattro Design Architects, small private practice Tyack Architects, and she is developing a passivhaus and low energy consultancy in close collaboration with Cotswold Green Energy on projects such as the first PH certified house in England. Other work has included primary and special schools for Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, community, arts and environmental education buildings, mediaeval timber-framed structures and historic stone buildings, private houses and developer housing. She also volunteered in Ladakh in the Himalayas on the acclaimed Arup-designed sustainable school project, Druk Padma Karpo School. Her passion for the supportive learning network that is the special core of the AECB extends in challenging times to stand to be a Trustee to contribute to continued collaboration and capacity-building within the membership at all levels, from one-to-one connections to strategic engagement with others.