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Welcome to PLUS POINTS, the newsletter of the South East FLASH+ programme. PLUS POINTS brings you the latest on unlocking the low carbon opportunities for small and medium sized built environment businesses. In this issue: FLASH+ launched, an interview with Paul Morrell, the Government's Chief Construction Adviser, how it's done - examples of green construction in action, and what's next in the FLASH+ programme.
Issue 1 - November 2011
Brian BerryPositive Thinking
“We can do what we must do, if we know how.” That was the message delivered to delegates at the launch event of the South East FLASH+ programme in September. 
Led by the Institute for Sustainability, FLASH+ is a European funded programme providing free support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working across the built environment. The programme aims to help businesses exploit the potential £500 billion opportunity to deliver domestic retrofit and low carbon construction in the UK.
Introducing the event, Neil Johnston, Director of Delivery at the Institute for Sustainability said the drivers are clear to see. READ MORE…

What is FLASH+? 
Crawley LibraryThe FLASH+ programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). FLASH+ aims to give SMEs in the South East in the built environment sector the facts to understand the best low carbon measures and how to provide and promote effective design and construction to deliver against challenging low carbon targets. It will also help them to reap the profit potential of the £500 billion domestic retrofit market in the UK.
Through conferences, site visits, seminars, workshops, online material, including case studies and project reports, plus regular online newsletters, participants will be briefed on the realities of low carbon design and build. The aim is to help businesses understand the importance of performance of newly designed or adapted buildings and how to measure effectiveness.  The financing opportunities including the Government’s Green Deal will also be explained. READ MORE…
Tina McGeachan
0118 920 7204

Diary Dates

13th December 2011
Crawley Library
Introduction to Soft Landings & Building Performance Evaluation:
Workshop & site visit

15th December 2011
Period Buildings, ventilation & moisture control, including ‘Bungaroosh’: Workshop

17th January 2012
How to understand and change the performance of buildings: Conference

19th January 2012
One Planet Home: Workshop & Site visit

24th January 2012
Nr Tonbridge, Kent
Essentials of renewable Energy: Workshop

26th January 2012
Introduction to Soft Landings & Building Performance Evaluation: Workshop


7th February 2012
Introduction to Soft Landings & Building Performance Evaluation: Workshop

28th February 2012
Less talk more BIM: Workshop

6th March 2012
Less talk more BIM: Workshop

13th March 2012
One Brighton : Site visit

22nd March 2012
Less talk more BIM: Workshop

19th April 2012
Tools, techniques & technologies – performance and innovation: Conference

For more details on all these events, go to:

Paul MorrellAction not words
Just reappointed as the Government’s Chief Construction Adviser, to oversee the implementation of key Government green construction strategies, Paul Morrell is passionate that we must take action, focus on realistic solutions and work together to mitigate climate change through tackling the impact of the Built Environment. 
Paul responds very firmly to the challenge that all the talk of a green construction bonanza is just rhetoric. “The question every individual, every business and, eventually, every government has to ask is, do we agree with the scientific consensus that says that the planet is warming and that human activity accounts for a significant part of it?” Paul says. “As it is, I’m not aware of a single peer-reviewed scientific paper that argues against the consensus - notwithstanding the amount of funding, and the promise of a Nobel Prize, that would reward such a comforting message.” READ MORE…
The big greening of construction will only happen if the thousands of smaller built environment businesses have the confidence to deliver from the bottom up. After the launch of FLASH+, we spoke to three delegates – a small construction company, a two-man architectural practice and a heating engineer.  How do they see the massive opportunity unfolding? 

ConversionStephen Helme of builders, Helme and Hallett:
“The principle of upgrading (retrofitting) existing housing stock makes total sense, but will need a few things to come together for success. 
The Green Deal is a great idea but a homeowner could be saddled with a big debt if the interest rate isn’t fixed.  My other worry is that the work is going to be led by big companies who may be remote from the customer; companies like ours would only be a subcontractor. As we don’t take on big contracts now, I hope we wouldn't be precluded from offering the Green Deal to our clients. READ MORE…

Sedgeman"As a company of experienced engineers, we work with a range of technologies from gas boilers to solar thermal, and as a small team we can work to individual customers’ budgets to deliver best possible value. Whether spending £100 or £1,000, there are improvements to be made that can make a real impact on efficiency and this, of course, means financial savings. READ MORE…Chris Boland of Sussex Eco Heating
Francis Sedgman of Sedgman Noble Architects
“We’re a small two-man architectural practice working on mostly private domestic projects but also on listed buildings and in conservation. When the technology performs, that’s great, but there are a lot of companies selling things which don’t always work as the client expects. So there’s a danger of disillusionment if this becomes too widespread. READ MORE…
Oak Meadow
Knowledge Transfer makes Architype greener
London Architectural practice, Architype Ltd, realised they needed to know how well their buildings worked in practice in order to move their design practice forward and offer clients evidence-based solutions.  With 60% funding from The Technology Strategy Board (TSB), they embarked on a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership research project with Oxford Brookes University’s Architecture department to identify key strategic changes to produce reliably ‘greener’ buildings. READ MORE…

14001 proves a double winner for Thomas Vale
Contractors, Thomas Vale has used a 14001 environmental management system not only to bring down their costs but help improve their business too.  They’ve been able to monitor and reduce their environmental impacts and the ISO certification has helped them onto tender lists which require certification as a prerequisite. READ MORE…

Six of the Best: Tips for the Housing Market
  1. Research by the Energy Saving Trust has shown there is a trend towards home improvements rather than moving house, and families with children represent the best potential audience for low carbon retrofits.
  2. Incorporating energy efficiency on a room-by-room basis is attractive to most homeowners and they’re willing to stretch budgets by £530 on smaller projects and £1,030 on larger ones. (Energy Saving Trust)
  3. Illustrating heat losses can be a good way of explaining the benefits of carbon retrofits to homeowners: ie: 25% of total heat is lost through the roof - fit loft insulation and save £180-£200 pa in energy costs. 35% of total heat is lost through walls – insulate cavity walls and save £130-£160 pa in costs.
  4. National and local grant/incentive schemes can often provide opportunities. Contact your local authority to find out about the grants and support services they provide to local residents and how you can participate.
  5. If you are looking to work for larger customers – such as housing associations or local authorities – it may be worth your while forming a partnership or consortium with other companies. This will help you to demonstrate that you can work at the right scale and that you have the full range of skills required.
  6. Landlords are more likely to carry out refurbishments as they acquire new properties. This is a great opportunity for whole-house low carbon retrofit, particularly if it can be coupled with supportive funding from the Local Authority. 

FLASH+ is led by the Institute for Sustainability and delivered regionally by the South East Centre for the Built Environment (SECBE). Partners include Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Construction Industry Council (CIC), Constructing Excellence, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM).  

All FLASH+ delivery partners are committed towards equal opportunities and diversity, in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.

The FLASH+ project is part financed by the South East European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Competitiveness Programme 2007-13, with the aim of promoting sustainable production and consumption whilst helping to reduce the South East ecological footprint.

Institute for Sustainability