Jillian Mitchell, Vice Chair of the Chesterfield Property and Construction Group and Director of Lomas and Mitchell Architects has penned this month’s blog on how the group is coming together to highlight the importance of sustainability across the town.
I was asked recently to deliver a 15-minute talk on ‘how to make your home more sustainable’. It’s a pretty tall order, given the magnitude of the subject. The first question was ‘how on earth do I cover the subject in only 15 minutes?’ Definition of the word ‘sustainable’ is wide-ranging, covering anything from saving the planet to reducing energy bills, and everything in between.
It can be overwhelming and we often feel powerless to think that anything we do can make a difference, so it is tempting to do nothing. It doesn’t help that there is a bewildering array of measures and targets out there, quoted in impenetrable units which are hard to put into any sort of context. Take the example of your fridge. If you regularly leave the door of the fridge open whilst trying to decide what to make for dinner, for example, you can be wasting 50 – 120kWh/yr. These numbers don’t mean a lot on their own, but if you understand that 50kWh/yr could run your dishwasher twenty times or 100kWh/yr the washing machine for fifty cycles, the scale and context become much more tangible.
At the heart of the issue, however, is a simple message – we must all do something to contribute to reducing our energy consumption and our dependence upon finite planet resources. It really doesn’t matter which sector you work in – everyone can do something to make a difference. The current energy crisis has brought all these themes into sharp focus, and now is the time to capitalise on the opportunities to look at our consumption and behaviours and commit to making a difference.
The Construction and Property Forum have identified key themes, one of which is ‘Sustainability and Quality’, because we want to highlight the need for more ambitious targets across the region. The challenge is to shift from historical drivers, such as shareholders and regulations, and move towards the over-arching target of net-zero carbon by 2050 whilst still demonstrating profitability and compliance. The shift needed is seismic and not to be underestimated – but we all have to do something, and we need to do it now.
The Forum seeks to support and challenge our local authorities as they strive towards these ambitious goals whilst providing exemplars of best practice for our colleagues in the sector to learn from and share. We are keen to explore who is working on these themes in our area and welcome input from colleagues across the sector. You can get in touch by emailing PropertyGroup@chesterfield.co.uk
In the meantime, maybe it’s time to not leave the fridge door open.
Jillian Mitchell is a Chartered Architect and Director at Lomas and Mitchell Architects. Jillian is a member of the steering group of the Chesterfield Property and Construction Group and heads up the themes of Sustainability and Quality.
Find out more at: www.lomasandmitchell.co.uk