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 ezine (formerly Green Building magazine and previously 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.
James Allen – Development and Communications Manager
James works alongside all of our team, members and clients. He has an in-depth understanding of the importance of customer service and recognising the need to balance profitable growth and sales with customer satisfaction. James has spent some time abroad travelling and being involved with sustainable eco projects and has spent the last 15 years in business development across various sectors.
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.
Emma Furniss – Membership Administrator and Website 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.
Tina Holt – CarbonLite Retrofit Course Co-ordinator
Tina trained as an earth scientist with particular focus on the causes and impacts of climate change. She has worked in education, IT and editing technical information for a broader audience. She has retrofitted her own home to the EnerPhit standard and consults on domestic energy efficiency. Tina has been involved in the CLR online course for several years, initially editing and getting the material into the online course format. Now she is running the course as well as looking to develop it further, to bring new students to the course and to grow the CLR graduate community.
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.
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.
Mischa Hewitt – AECB Trustee
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 Wilburn – AECB Trustee
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 AECB Trustee and 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 – Treasurer
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 – AECB Trustee
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.
Mark Siddall – Secretary to the Board and AECB Trustee
Mark has been a member of the AECB since late 2006 and regional chair of the AECB North East Regional Group since 2008. He has also been a speaker at a number of AECB Conferences, a technical advisor to the AECB Carbon Lite programme and a regular contributor to Green Building magazine.
An architect with a no no-nonsense evidence based approach to design he has a deep seated interest in ecologically aware construction. As principal of LEAP, a low energy architectural practice that utilses a lovingly engineered architectural process, he offers architectural services and energy consultancy.
Mark is one of the pioneers that introduced the Passivhaus Standard to the UK and is regarded by Wolfgang Feist as “one of the UK’s most skilled and knowledgeable Passivhaus Architects.” Mark’s interest in the Passivhaus Standard first stemmed from his commitment to developing tools and techniques that would enable the building fabric to perform as predicted. In this respect his work is exemplified by the Racecourse Estate which Dr David Johnston of Leeds Metropolitan University considers to be “one of the very few developments where it has been shown that it is possible to ‘bridge the gap’ between predicted and measured performance of the building fabric.”
In addition to being an architect and energy consultant Mark is an educator and industry transformer. He has helped to co-author the Certified Passivhaus Designer course for the AECB’s CarbonLite Programme, lead masterclasses for the Passivhaus Trust, delivered CEPH training at the University of Strathclyde and, between 2011 and 2014, was a part-time lecturer at Northumbria University. He has also contributed to technical papers for the UK’s Passihaus Trust including the internationally recognised ‘What it means to claim the Passivhaus standard in the UK.’
As author of over 30 articles and papers on building performance and Passivhaus, Mark’s practice provides educational tools, information and ‘how to guides’ for people building and renovating in the North of England.