Business Matters: Low Carbon and the Built Environment

Glenn Barrowman of the University of Wolverhampton looks at how the EU-backed initiative can help businesses in the Black Country and Marches LEP areas to develop products and services that reduce carbon usage.

Buildings and infrastructure have a big impact on both the environment and our quality of life, with about 40 per cent of CO2 emissions coming from the built environment and construction sector. Driving down carbon emissions from existing housing therefore has a significant role to play in ensuring the climate change targets are met.

In recent years, there has been a growing focus from the government and private sector to find new and innovative ways help households save money on their bills and reduce their emissions. Innovations in smart meters, sensors, heating and cooling controls, thermography, ventilation and fuel cells are all helping to drive the change.

One trend that could further transform the built environment industry is energy storage. For the recent past energy storage was the holy grail of the renewables and energy generation world. Indeed battery storage almost became a cool topic of conversation when Elon Musk announced to the world that Tesla was going to become a major force in the market.

Well, is it right to say that battery storage is a technology whose time has arrived! In the UK energy storage is currently seen as a logical extension of the use of PV panels, in that the householder can use, and store, electricity that would normally be exported back to the grid.

There is a strong argument for energy storage to be standard in all new homes alongside Solar PV.

In the West Midlands, two small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are already at the forefront of this energy-changing technology. BECCI has supported AceOn Battery Solar Technology in Telford and Hereford-based PowerFlow Energy, although much more could be done to further the ambitions of these forward looking companies.

At BECCI, a project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund to promote economic growth, we are working with SMEs to develop innovative climate change solutions within the built environment, leading to reductions in CO2 emissions.

We focus on products and services that can be used to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions within the existing and proposed housing stock, offices and public buildings.

This involves helping businesses develop new or improved energy efficient products or services, engage with housing providers in the region to support the use of smarter systems and give SMEs access to the latest information and knowledge on low carbon technologies.

Find out more:

Want to pop over and see us? Well that is easy we are at the University of Wolverhampton and have a presence in Walsall, Wolverhampton, Telford and Hereford.

Dates for your Diary for BECCI Technical Workshops:

Energy Storage Training Workshop: Tuesday 21st March 2017

Ideal for electrical contractors and solar panel installers looking to enhance their business capabilities within the growing area of energy storage

Energy Experts Workshops: Tuesday 4th April 2017

Ideal for any manufacturing or construction related business looking to reduce their energy costs and to make operational savings.

The University of Wolverhampton is part of the West Midlands Combined Universities with Birmingham City University and Coventry University.

Link to the original blog.

Glenn Barrowman is the project manager at the University of Wolverhampton-facilitated Built Environment Climate Change Innovations (BECCI) project, which has been running since early 2013. We have been steadily developing capabilities increasing our support provision to SMEs in the West Midlands involved in energy saving activities. We adopted a deliberate policy of developing strong working relationships with some of the leading Housing Associations as well as other Local Authority stakeholders. To date we have supported around 130 SMEs through a variety of one-to-one mentoring, industry challenges, technology showcases and workshops.

Contact Glenn

Glenn Barrowman
Project manager, Built Environment Climate Change Innovations (BECCI)
University of Wolverhampton

01902 321028
Email Glenn
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