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New CIBSE President calls for Whole Life Thinking

Posted: 13th May 2013

The incoming CIBSE President, George Adams, in his Presidential address “Whole Life Thinking” said that engineers working in the built environment had an urgent responsibility to help reduce energy consumption and provide for adaptation of buildings and cities to respond to the challenges of climate change whilst accommodating the needs of rapidly growing populations. The Presidential Address was given at an inauguration of the President, President Elect and Vice Presidents, and AGM that took place on May 9, 2013 at the Royal Society, London.

The theme of George Adams’s Address builds on Retiring President Professor David Fisk’s call last year for the industry to concentrate on measuring and learning from the performance of real buildings, not on ‘greenwash’. His Address was entitled: “Reality Check”.

Speaking at the event, George said it was an opportunity to celebrate successes of CIBSE whilst recognising the challenges and potential solutions in relation to the built environment and the industry.

George stressed the need for a new energy engineering conscience and calling for the pace of action to improve the industry and reduce its environmental impact to be accelerated through increased efforts to embrace diversity and behavioural change. Encouraging young people to consider engineering as a career was essential, and that engineering in the built environment sector was about creating great buildings for people to work, play and live in. Recognising that our growing cities being the biggest single challenge in addressing the impact in a changing world of social and climate change.

However this was not without recognising the huge challenge of the energy and environmental impacts of existing building stock. Aligned to this, our societies continue to rapidly grow consuming more and more technology and energy. George cited various examples from around the globe where big thinking engineering is being researched and implemented. The President also acknowledged the need to work on new innovations and embrace technology such as BIM. CIBSE and partners have launched BIMTalk, a website to share knowledge across all areas of the industry from HVAC to landscaping.

Collaboration, integration and embracing diversity across our industry therefore was essential, George asserted, to grasp opportunities to achieve new energy behaviour, an important part of responding to climate change. CIBSE’s role going forward is to embrace a campaign for change, and continue to provide a thought leadership role, working with other professional bodies and government, to help enable this change to happen. Whilst also calling for a new way of valuing energy efficiency investment.

George summarised the good progress being made by CIBSE, its staff, its regions, the numerous groups and the strengthening membership with the launch of the Diversity Panel, the work of the Young Engineers Network and newly formed Women in Building Services Engineering network.

Image shows George Adams (left) receiving his CIBSE President medal from Immediate Past President, David Fisk.

The Presidential Address was also broadcast online as a webinar. The audio file of the speech and presentation slides are available CIBSE website.