Green Sky Thinking is a week-long, London-wide programme for built environment and property professionals, organised by Open-City. In 2016, we joined forces with CIBSE to help link professionals with cutting-edge research on sustainable design and building.
- 25 April: Green infrastructure as a building service design challenge
- 27 April: Sensing the place – experiences and wayfinding in a changing climate
- 29 April: Improving workplace health & well-being with sensory gardens
- 29 April: Design Challenge Exhibition – presentation of entries, judging (including crowd-favourite) and announcement of awards
To kick off Green Sky Thinking Week, ARCC and CIBSE hosted a high-energy inspirational workshop at London South Bank University’s The Clarence Centre. With a series of green infrastructure (GI) expert speed talks, participants were given a comprehensive overview of how GI can integrate as a building management service – with many positive gains for the building as well as its occupants.
Set the challenge to identify some of the problems in their own workplace, workshop participants spilled out into the corridors to complete this engaging group task. Some drew lists, others sketched office spaces, and we even saw the start of some ecosystems-thinking approaches to the task.
The technical talks identified that GI solutions don’t have to be fixed, big system installations. The idea of the day went to a ‘moveable living walls’ design from Oxford Brookes University’s Sustainable Building MSc student, Jalah Ahmed. This was a particular favourite of our event chair, John Field, President-Elect of CIBSE. Jalah’s group described how their mobile feature can evolve in sync with the office environment, particularly as daylight changes. The design could provide shade and create a private meeting space, or be used to screen-off and create a quiet corner in an open plan office, all while positively contributing to the quality of the indoor environment.
A significant point mentioned by all of the groups was the importance of communication, in particular for engaging building occupants with new ideas, and also facilities managers, who tend see buildings very holistically.
In order to increase the mainstream application of GI, our participants identified a range of needs, knowledge gaps and a resistance to change that must be addressed for a successful design scheme.
Initiatives such as Green Sky Thinking Week provide a great platform to bring a broad range of professionals together with subject leaders, to learn from each other and advance the industry’s knowledge base and inspire sector champions.
Learning and inspiration don’t have to end with the event: through connecting industry, research topic leaders and interested practitioners, we can continue to work together on solutions. Suggestions from the workshop varied from simple guidance on the benefits of different plants, to engaging with the future development of standards, for example, the British Council for Offices.
To continue this discussion in a formal capacity, do please consider joining the Green Infrastructure as a Building Service taskgroup of the CIBSE Resilient Cities Group, who devised this Design Challenge. You don’t need to be an engineer, the group welcomes all professional and research backgrounds.
Green infrastructure as a building service design challenge
Plants and buildings: improving the human environment
John Dover, Professor of Ecology, Staffordshire University
John’s main research interests concern factors that affect the distribution and abundance of species within agricultural environments. Recently his interests have expanded to include the value of green walls in providing wildlife habitat and air quality improvement, and green infrastructure and its role in delivering ecosystem services.
Plants and buildings! A view regarding building services and facilities management
Dusty is a recognised authority, designer, consultant & public speaker on green roofs. He has worked on GI projects in the UK for the last 15 years, particularly in London while advising virtually across the world through his Green Roof Consultancy. As a speaker, he is engaging and inspiring, focusing on green roofs, green infrastructure, nature, wildlife & biodiversity.
Not all plants are the same: the importance of plant choice for the delivery of environmental benefits in urban areas
Dr Tijana Blanusa, Principal Scientist, RHS & University of Reading
Tijana’s research interests include understanding how the changing environment such affects plants, but also how plants moderate the environment around them. She currently runs several projects investigating green roofs, green walls, garden hedges and other forms of green infrastructure.
Green Infrastructure: Green Sky Thinking Week
Alan Fogarty, Sustainability Partner, Cundall
Alan is a building services engineer by training, with an extensive knowledge of natural ventilation design, passive design techniques and assessment of natural lighting and energy. He also has experience with chilled ceiling systems, Building Regulations (Part L) and BREEAM.