A report launched at the Royal Academy of Engineering this week states that investment in four Centres for Excellence could lead to savings of £1bn by 2030 and a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 3.5m tonnes per annum.
The report – The case for Centres of Excellence in sustainable building design – was introduced by Professor Peter Bonfield, pictured, chief executive of the BRE Group, and shows that, on a most cautious assessment, an investment of £30m could result in the eight-figure saving while contributing substantially to greenhouse gas reduction targets.
This will be achieved by increasing the number of excellent graduates entering industry, who can make buildings both sustainable and pleasant places to be in, by applying good, efficient design.
The report was prepared by Professor Doug King, Principal of King Shaw Associates, and Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath.
A detailed definition of what a Centre of Excellence should look like and how it should operate to meet the pressing needs of industry and society in meeting carbon-reduction targets was given by Dr Paul McCombie, deputy head of Bath’s Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering.
McCombie said: "In producing this report we collaborated with colleagues in the University’s Department of Economics, building an economic case to justify investment in four Centres of Excellence across the UK.
Stephen Matthews, chief executive of The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), said: "The importance of sharing expertise and knowledge is something that is part of the ethos of CIBSE, and we welcome the report highlighting this.
"The proposed Centres of Excellence offer an opportunity to encourage best practice by focusing on integrating the supply chain which is a very important step. The sort of joined-up thinking that the centres could enable would be extremely beneficial, the challenge is to up-skill the workforce with the best available knowledge."
The report was supported by funding from CWCT (a Bath-University-based centre affiliated to ACE), CIBSE, the Happold Trust, King Shaw Associates Ltd, The Ove Arup Foundation, The Royal Academy of Engineering and the University of Bath Knowledge Transfer Account and can be downloaded from The Royal Academy of Engineering.