Built Environment – Smarter Transformation (BE-ST) has been thanked for helping to make Scotland’s first-ever Green Home Festival “a resounding success”, with organisers already planning next year’s event to cater for the growing interest in sustainable living.
More than 350 delegates signed up for the five-day renewables jamboree organised by the Construction Industry Collective Voice (CICV) as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with BE-ST delivering two webinars to an audience of homeowners and professionals.
Along with SEPA and the Scottish Flood Forum, BE-ST hosted the week’s first webinar, Protecting against floods, giving an overview of climate change, focusing on flooding and its impact on people and buildings and how to access support and resources to protect properties.
It also hosted another online session the same day, Using sustainable materials, in which viewers learned about circular, sustainable and homegrown materials such as insulation and the positive impact they can have on the embodied carbon profile of a building.
Co-organiser Gordon Nelson, Scotland Director of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “We are truly grateful to BE-ST for their invaluable contribution to the festival, which showed that the public and construction professionals are clearly aware of the urgency we all face in trying to tackle some of today’s pressing environmental issues.
“Many visitors expressed a keen desire to know more about how to make our homes safe and energy efficient for the future and how to deploy technologies such as heat pumps and sustainable building materials. Satisfying such interest will be our ongoing challenge and we are already planning next year’s event, which we hope will reach an even wider audience.”
Emma Church, Impact Manager at BE-ST, said: “We were only too happy to contribute to the success of the Green Home Festival and look forward to playing a further role in future events and keep stimulating the conversation around sustainability in the built environment.”
Running from 8-12 August, the festival hosted 12 in-person and online events to help Scotland become a net zero nation, with discussions on a range of topics including switching to electric vehicles and living safely in the home of the future.
One of the most popular sessions saw a mix of professionals and the public flock to a discussion on demystifying heat pumps by SNIPEF at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) at 10 Charlotte Square in central Edinburgh.
Another well-received show saw festivalgoers enjoy a guided tour of a site in Murrayburn, where they saw sustainable practices first-hand and learned how the project used a fabric-first approach to help reduce heating costs.
Other sessions which drew a host of senior industry professionals included a webinar on the transformation of the Burrell Collection and an in-person session on building green neighbourhoods, using the Granton D1 project in Edinburgh as a real-life example.
As well as CICV members and BE-ST, other guest speakers included representatives from the likes of SEPA, Atelier Ten, Reiach & Hall, Home Energy Scotland, Electrical Safety First, Woolgar Hunter and Pike + Bambridge,
Co-organiser John McKinney, secretary of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors, said: “The construction industry will be at the forefront of change as we make the move to low-carbon and it was extremely gratifying to see so much interest from the sector, which is well aware of what needs to be done to harness the technology of tomorrow.
“Securing such a wide respected variety of speakers and industry experts from inside the CICV and beyond also ensured the Green Home Festival was a resounding success and enjoyed a successful debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.”
Organisers have now made the festival presentations available to download online, with all six webinars free to watch again at greenhomefestival.co.uk. They are also gathering feedback as they plan for the 2023 event.
Iain Mason, Director of Membership and Communications at SELECT and Chair of the CICV’s communications sub-group, said: “This extremely successful week of shows has laid the foundations for next year and the CICV will be aiming to build on it and make subsequent events bigger and better.
“It has been wonderful to see such enthusiastic support from CICV members and the wider industry, and our thanks go out to the RICS for hosting us at Charlotte Square and also to Western Commercial Mercedes-Benz for laying on electric vans for the Murrayburn show.”
The Green Home Festival was launched on Monday 8 August by Scottish Government Minister Patrick Harvie, the Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, who was also a keynote speaker.
He said: “The Festival very positively and professionally highlighted many of the actions and new ideas needed to support a transformation of our homes and buildings and to make properties warmer, greener and more energy efficient.
“The climate emergency is already here. But if we adopt many of the actions and ideas being discussed at this week-long Green Home Festival, they will stand us in good stead to mitigate its worst consequences.”
The festival was the latest in a string of practical and constructive initiatives launched by the CICV since its creation at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
Made up of 29 trade associations, professional services bodies and companies, it has maintained a steady supply of information and practical advice to the sector as well as carrying out surveys, producing animations and posters, hosting webinars and maintaining close dialogue with Scottish Government ministers.