Last month the AECB were in London for the 2017 National Conference at the headquarters of the Institute of Engineering and Technology in Savoy Place.
Almost 200 delegates and exhibitors were treated to exceptional early-autumn views of the Thames and central London and a day of exciting talks reflecting on some of the major issues of the day, particularly the current housing crisis facing UK. The theme was “Raising the Quality and Quantity of Housing”.
AECB CEO Andy Simmonds opened discussions by considering the current environmental situation to highlight the inescapable links between housing and climate. With ever increasing populations, the way we build houses going forward is fundamentally important to the future of our planet. The average UK household energy consumption is more than 100% higher than buildings to the AECB & Passivhaus Standard. This opening set the scene for the rest of the day where the links between house-building and climate were considered in depth.
This was followed by an engaging panel discussion with representatives from other high-profile NGOs including Shelter and Sustainable Homes. Particularly engaging was Toby Lloyd’s talk on our reliance on speculative house building. “something is fundamentally wrong with our house building model” he declared. Demand and prices continue to rise yet supply does not, largely due to the development process. He commented that any attempts to address the housing crisis must include measures to change the land market.
AECB trustees wrapped up the day on a positive note by considering the range of positive initiatives currently being considered to solve the housing crisis from both a capacity and quality perspective. Of particular interest was the work of Energiesprong who have established a model for net zero-energy homes across Europe looking at new-build and refurbishment. This model has worked very well in the Netherlands and they are trying to scale into other markets including the UK.
The day ended with a roof-top party and live music where many AECB faces, and many new, got to wind-down continue the talks in a more informal setting. It was great to see so many of you make the trip to London and we hope to have some dates for next year’s conference very, very soon. Watch this space.