WSBE 2017 HK: The Road Map to a Sustainable Reality

Dear All,
A few days ago the WSBE 2017 was celebrated in Hong Kong.
For those who don’t know what is it about, it is the International World Sustainable Built Environment Conference that is celebrated every three years. It was the first edition of this international seminar that I attend myself. This first time I had the pleasure of joining both as audience and speaker to share some of the messages that we promote from enzyme APD.

During one of the main sessions on the convention hall
The event itself was an energetic, inspiring and thoughtful experience. During three days professionals from all over the world of very diverse disciplines and backgrounds get together to expose their knowledge, case studies, researches, works, experiences, etc.. It is very encouraging to learn from what is going on in the world right know in terms of targets, achievements, data and information related to the sustainability in general.
So all different players were showing different approaches:
Governments are setting their goals to reduce the CO2 emissions in the coming years, start relying more and more on renewal sources of energy but also to reduce the amount of energy consumption increasing efficiency in the process. These roadmaps are of course very different from one country to another.
Big Developer Companies were explaining the sustainable strategies that they implement in their developments, which is a great deal. I think that seeing these “big players” are pushing from their side to have a smart approach can be a big move. In our daily work, I must say that it is not always the case that clients are willing to implement sustainable strategies as a value in their projects. Sometimes we cannot influence their minds. But at least now some of this big guys are showing their achievements not only just with nice words, but also with real projects.

Professor Thomas Auer from Transsolar showcasing real case studies in the Convention Hall
Architecture offices and Engineering companies are  (as always) those who showcase more real examples of projects developed with sustainable strategies and results. This is a great learning when you really want to understand “how” to achieve things. I am proud to see more and more examples of this kind of projects in Hong Kong.
I know that a lot of professional Architects and engineers understand the close relationship that exists in between Design and Sustainability. The world needs to understand this value as well. This is something that we promote in our projects, our Design and in this Blog, and I think is not really fully clear yet. We need to keep pushing!

..the close relationship that exists in between Design and Sustainability. The world needs to understand this value..

There was a lot of analysis showing data from research about energy consumption in different urban environments, users behaving and changes over the years in the patterns of the whole society. This information is great to open our eyes and to make effective actions. But I think that the message here is that the attitude is the one that it is still not 100% inside our mids. We all change our attitude otherwise all this information will be useless.

Dr Raymond Cole talks about the importance of the Process on the implementation of sustainable strategies.
I was very happy to hear from a lot of the speakers that it is the “Process” one of the key questions that needs to change in our approach to develop projects in general. It is more common to focus in the result and makes sense, but the way to achieve things also makes a huge different. To develop any kind of activity we use “resources” and “time”. It doesn’t matter if is in a huge project or it is a small action in our daily life.
For example it is good to know that a building can save 20%, 50% or even 70% of energy and reduce the same proportion of CO2 emissions with passive strategies that are involved from the design conception. But what about our personal consumption of energy? How much energy do we use or CO2 do we generate in our current daily life? How are our personal processes? When we cook, when we take transportations? When we use energy to achieve temperature comfort, etc.. If every single person saved just 25% of energy in their life, wouldn’t the whole planet be saving 25% of energy as well? And if we apply this attitude to the CO2 emission and waste production? But why we don’t start? Process is really important in every action and doesn’t matter the scale. Every change matters.

Ryusuke Kojio from Takenaka explains one of their projects in Hirakata, Japan
This was an important message to extract from the different speeches during these three days. The scale doesn’t matter, the attitude and the process do.

..improving the process and how BIM can help a lot on this.

Our small contribution to the event was a presentation talking about how we can improve the projects we develop by improving the process and how BIM can help a lot on this. Not only because we can easily run energy analysis softwares in our virtual models to optimise our design,  but mainly because we can build more efficiently and more accurately. We can save resources and use in a more smart way the technics we have to build, to design and to use our buildings and cities.
As you reader would appreciate, I didn’t go much in detail in this article… I just wanted to call your attention in what is going on around the world and what I believe is the important message right now: Attitude and Process. But don’t think that just Developers, architects, engineers and all those involve in big projects have the role to change things. Every single person has a great potential to make a different. In our everyday actions. Don’t be one of those saying “it won’t make any difference if I do it or not”.. This is what ends every good purpose.
Have a look to the website of the event to see who was there and maybe you can have a look by yourself to what everyone is doing currently.
I hope these messages can get further than the screen of the laptop in which we all read all these good intentions. Let’s make the change together!
Thanks for reading us!

Taking notes from the speakers and sketching ideas at the conference.