Amec may have been first out of the blocks to sign up to Envirowise, but there's no need to get left behind. You can contribute to several initiatives without leaving your desk …

Amec gets Envirowise

Amec is the first construction firm to sign up to the government-funded programme Envirowise, which has established a supply-chain partnership called Environmental Performance Improvement Club. Amec's design and project services and building and facilities services divisions will be encouraging their supply-chains to work together to reduce and eliminate waste. Partners will be able to attend training workshops run by Envirowise to develop best practice in areas such as waste minimisation, legislation, materials ordering and recycling. Firms involved will also be able to get free advice on cost savings, resource consumption reduction and environmental legislation from an independent Envirowise consultant.

A new weapon for the MoD

Building Design Partnership Sustainability has been commissioned by Defence Estates, the property agency of the Ministry of Defence, to develop a web-based environmental performance assessment tool. The Defence Related Environmental Assessment Method uses a database with a

web-browser interface that is accessible by whole project teams. It provides a rating system for the following categories: energy, internal and external environmental quality, waste, procurement, water and biodiversity, and cultural and environmental protection. The impact of each aspect of the development is assessed at every stage of the project and an overall rating is calculated. BDP says that although some of the building types will be defence-related, such as hangars and workshops, the tool can be used on other building types.

A wind turbine to turn heads

Consulting engineer Hoare Lea has worked with wind turbine developer Ecotricity and developer Prudential Property Investment Managers to create one of the largest land-based wind turbines in the UK. Located at PruPIM's Green Park in Reading, next to the M4 motorway, the 127 m tall, 2 MW turbine will raise awareness of environmental issues in the 60 million people a year who drive by. Hoare Lea says the turbine will generate 4.5 million kWh of electricity - equivalent to supplying 1500 homes - while saving 3018 tonnes of carbon dioxide,

35 tonnes of sulphur dioxide and 11 tonnes of nitrogen oxide per year. The scheme also aims to demonstrate that there should be more large turbines in marginal wind locations.

Calling all Part L experts

The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers has launched a register for professionals trained to comply with Part L of the Building Regulations to enable members to self-certify as Low Carbon Consultants. The criteria for joining the register will include detailed knowledge of the regulations for energy efficiency in the UK. To enter the register, candidates will have to take an exam, and to remain on the register they will have to undertake continuing professional development and demonstrate how much carbon they have saved annually through their work.

CIBSE expects individuals on the register to become primary sources of assistance to construction companies wishing to submit planning proposals for approval or to obtain completion certificates for their buildings.

Compass points to sustainability

A web-based resource tool and discussion forum called the Compass Network has been launched to help improve the quality of communication on sustainability developments. The site, which is run by communications consultant Futerra and the Sustainability Development Commission, the government's independent adviser on sustainable development, includes case studies and information to help people involved in sustainability communications to plan campaigns.

Membership of the network is free and open to anyone worldwide. Futerra says that 650 individuals, mostly working for small businesses, regional and local bodies and communication agencies, have already joined. A third of the members come from outside the UK, mainly from the USA, Europe, China and Australia. Members are encouraged to share experiences and ideas on subjects such as the role of communication to support changes in sustainability initiatives. The site includes an events diary and informal meetings and conferences will soon be organised.

Start your own recycling business

CIRIA has published a guide called Business Data for Recycling - Business Planning Guidance for Aggregate Recycling Companies to help organisations set up such a business, and to improve the commercial prospects of facilities that already operate. CIRIA says the guide provides costing and resource information to enable companies to decide whether, when and how to proceed with a detailed business plan for investing in construction, demolition and excavation waste. The book also includes an aggregate recycling business model tool to help users to develop business scenarios.