Where is the innovation in CSR Reporting?

Posted on: May 21st, 2011 by matthew_bacon

It seems that the growth in CSR reporting has attracted little innovation, and neither does it seem that it has created sufficient impetus to change the way in which buildings are operated in the drive to reduce carbon emissions.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/csr-report-reporting-research-pwc

The Royal Academy of Engineers report: Engineering a low carbon environment, published in 2010, laments that buildings today perform little better than they did back in the 1990’s.  Even the National Audit Office has expressed grave concern about the performance of the public building stock.

PWC advocates greater use of such reporting.  But in reporting without corresponding corrective action, the environmental basis on which these businesses operate is highly questionable.

To quote Geoff Kendall, Development Director at SustainAbility:

“To prosper with any certainty in the long term, businesses must attain a level of organisational resilience and adaptability that can only come from embedding sustainability into their very DNA: every process, every product, every person…”

Embedding sustainability into every process, every product, every person…absolutely right.  The significant implication here is the need for data integration between the different parts of the organisation. Accurate, verifiable reporting is just one step on a journey in the striving for sustainable prosperity.  It is here at The Conclude Consultancy where we provide the tools not simply to measure performance, but tools that will perform the diagnostics across our customer’s facilities to analyse the opportunities for driving down carbon emissions in the organisation’s processes.

We believe that what is unique in what we do is to correlate business practice and the associated business performance measures with the resulting carbon impact. We achieve this by utlising powerful simulation technologies that enable organisations to experiment with alternative scenarios.  We believe that this will lead to new innovation in CSR reporting so far as an environmental perspective is concerned.  It will lead to a closer integration between business performance outcomes and the associated carbon impact of them. We are also exploring how we can use virtual reality technology to bring a new dimension to this aspect of sustainability.  If we are to engage with people and cultivate changes in attitudes, then the day of the ‘enterprise dashboard reports’ are over – a ‘one size fits all’ type CSR reporting system does little to engage and inspire…innovation is needed, and this is what The Conclude Consultancy does best.

Professor Matthew Bacon

 

Occupancy Analytics – A new basis for low carbon design

Posted on: May 17th, 2011 by matthew_bacon

The Conclude Consultancy has now completed the first stage of its Occupancy Analytics project for the 3T’s Programme in Brighton for the Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals Trust.  Professor Bacon and his team has developed this radical new approach to briefing for complex facilities.  The approach is founded in a Facility Activity Model that models all key processes and activities associated with them. The Facility Activity Model is managed in an on-line database.  The processes and data for the model was collected and analysed by the BSUH Trust’s analysts. Professor Bacon and his team created what is in effect an open source solution, enabling this data to be re-used for different stages of the hospital development process.

 

In the illustration above the relationships for each facility function are identified.  These relationships are dynamically constructed from the database, processed by the logic that defines the patient pathways and clinical processes.

Using this data the team is also able to forecast occupancy anywhere in the facility and this in turn informs the engineering design.  This new science developed by Professor Bacon and his team in the United States, also enables the design of the mechanical engineering systems to be optimised by ensuring that the system design and specifications are founded on a comprehensive understanding of how the facility will perform In-Use.

Occupancy analysis for a major circulation space

The illustration above shows the peaks of occupancy in a major circulation space though different times of the day.  The forecast is based on a comprehensive understanding of the patient pathways and clinical processes.  The data from these studies is now to be processed in what Professor Bacon refers to as a ‘Whole Facility Energy Model’. It is this model that will correlate operational processes with carbon performance. It means that for the first time users will be able to understand the carbon impact of operational decisions.

“This is the first time that this approach to modelling occupancy and energy in-use has been applied to healthcare facilities in the UK.  It has been a source of bemusement to me for some years that we do not make more use of the tools available to ensure that we are creating optimised environments for patient care.  Teaching hospitals are large, complex organisations and this work is giving us an opportunity to simulate the building in use.  In the current financial climate, the Trust must ensure that it is delivering the optimum solution for the pressing need to develop the hospital and thereby create optimum value for the public purse.

We have much more to do but I believe the approach that we are taking as a team will provide future healthcare planners with new tools and knowledge to create better facilities based on modelling and evidence rather than theory and supposition based on what we have done in the past.”

Professor Duane Passman, 3T’s Programme Director

For more information about this exciting innovation, please contact Professor Bacon.

 

International Association of Sediment Water Science

Posted on: May 8th, 2011 by matthew_bacon
Dr Phil Greenwood has been invited to present a component of his hydrology-based research at the IASWS conference; (12th Symposium on the Interactions between Sediment & Water, Devon, UK on June 11th 2011) the aims of which are to contribute towards the sustainable management of ‘catchment to coastal’ water-sediment systems.

Global health infrastructure – Challenges for the next decade.

Posted on: May 6th, 2011 by matthew_bacon

Professor Bacon has just been notified that his abstract ‘‘Integrated Decision Support: A new approach to the design of hospital facilities to optimise low carbon performance’’ has been accepted for a paper submission at HaCIRIC’s international Conference: Global Health Infrastructure – Challenges for the next decade. Delivering innovation, demonstrating the benefits, to be held on 26-28 September 2011 in Manchester.

Technology Strategy Board: Driving Innovation

Posted on: May 3rd, 2011 by matthew_bacon

It is a sad fact that the TSB focus for grant funding is still predicated on innovations in the development of new technology in the drive for a sustainable future, and does little to encourge innovation in way in which we use our facilities in the built environment – our homes, offices, libraries and hospitals to name but a few.  We all know from our own experience in our own homes, that the quantum of resources (energy and water) that we consume is so largely determined by how we use our homes. We can have all the technology that we desire – but if we do not wish to use it responsibly then it will do little to make us more sustainable. Studies show that from a low carbon perspective, buildings perform little better today than they did in the 1990’s, yet over this period we have seen remarkable development and innovation in building technologies.  In an effort to slow down global warming,  the HM Government Carbon Reduction Commitment requires the UK to make substantial energy consumption savings.

Amongst the experts working in low carbon strategies for the built envionment, there is a now consensus emerging that we have to fundamentally change the way that we specifiy, engineer and use the buildings that we occupy for our various needs if we are to meet the government targets.

In The Conclude Consultancy we believe that step changes in low carbon performance will come not just from innovative technologies, but from a fundamental change in the way in which use the buildings that we live and work in. We believe that building users need to be informed of the carbon impact of the choices that they make in using the buildings that they occupy. Certainly we need innovative technologies able to deliver meaningful information which is directly correlated to the building In-Use – but we also need users to be held accountable for that use. To achieve this we need to correlate the way in which we use our facilities with the resultant energy consumption.

In our work on latest work on hospital design we are planning to directly correlate resource consumption (notably energy consumption) with the working practices that take place.  It is intended that departmental managers will use the information to help change working practices and in so doing drive down resource consumption. The innovation that The Conclude Consultancy  brings to this process is through the application of simulation technologies to explore the impacts of these changes on the In-Use resource consumption.  It is a process of continuous improvement. It follows the age old addage: ‘if you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it’.

There is a massive need for new knowledge in this area, but without concerted action by both the public and private sector  then change is likely to be slow to take place.

Professor Matthew Bacon