You’ve spent several years with a focus on sustainability in building projects. Have you noted any key changes to the way sustainability is managed?
[Sasha] I would say that the most prominent development is the now near-unanimous acceptance of sustainability as a “regular” part of the project. This is on all sides – clients, consultants and contractors alike understand that sustainability is not an “add-on”, but must form an integral part of built environment throughout its life. There is also a much greater recognition that the key stages are conception and early design, when the opportunity to implement sustainability features is the greatest, at the smallest cost. By no means is this logic new, the oldest paper on the subject is from 1976, but with new tools such as BIM, it is now really possible to put it effectively in practice. Lastly, the Soft Landings process also brings greater attention to the in-use stage. In the end, we can design and build the most sustainable building in the world, but if it is not used and managed properly, our efforts might well be in vain. Bouygues offers Energy Performance Guarantee, which bridges the “performance gap”, one of the greatest challenges of built environment today.
Are development projects becoming more influenced by sustainable design?
[Sasha] Yes, as the critical importance of early stages of projects for effective sustainability is more and more accepted, the opportunity to influence design solutions is also greater. This is also partly driven by certification such as BREEAM, the new versions of which require early action to achieve high level of rating. This is also the best opportunity to consider and implement innovative solutions. Our property development arm, Linkcity, is leading on our Sustainable Neighbourhoods R&D and innovation, with some really exciting projects underway.
What are the latest innovations that have the potential to effect sustainability in building projects?
[Sasha] I have great hopes for Big Data. Again, looking at the immense challenge of efficient management and use of built environment, ownership and mastery over the wealth of information to be provided by IoT, sensors, wearables and so on, promises a way to help resolve it. The tools, knowledge and skills required for processing and interpreting this immense amount of data are still in development, not just in relation to construction, but potential to improve existing and new buildings is immense.
Sasha will be participating in the panel discussion Smarter Buildings – Technology as a Facilitator for a Smarter Future at 2.30pm in the Conference area on October 27th.