We hunt for the latest thinking and trends to emerge from the Earls Court exhibition

Ecobuild was an all-encompassing experience for any environment nut. Here’s a snapshot of some of the main themes from the event:

  • Zero carbon, zero credibility – Scepticism on zero carbon intensified at the show. Former BRE boss David Strong made just such a point at a speech on the Tuesday. “There is much more to delivering exemplary built environments than zero carbon,” he said. And new housing minister Caroline Flint held back from confirming the 2020 deadline for zero carbon non-domestic buildings, perhaps as a result of such scepticism.
  • Costs, costs, costs – Can you make business case for going green? It’s the Holy Grail of sustainability. Some, such as the Isle of Wight Council, appear to be struggling to deliver the ambitious targets it initially set some months ago. However architect Bill Dunster reckons he has found a low-cost solution. His new range of RuralZED kit homes, one of which was built in three days in the exhibition hall and is expected to hit Level 6 of the Code, will set you back £150K.
  • Campaign for real data – UK Green Building Council chief executive Paul King alluded to it at the show. There are too many separate data collecting exercises going on in the industry which are valuable, but only to a degree. How about sharing or all the separate reports together to give a consistent picture of how buildings really are performing, and which solutions are really working?
  • Product Auditing – The vast array of products and technologies on display at Ecobuild was dizzying and confusing. How can you truly assess that the environmental credentials that are promised by the supplier are really what they say on the tin. Bodies such as the BRE are doing good work on this but given the amount of new launches that are hitting the market it’s a tough challenge to keep pace with what’s out there.
  • Global – The World Building Congress took place on the Monday and Tuesday reflecting the rise of green building movement across the globe. Watch out for video interviews from representatives from countries as far apart as Argentina, Taiwan, Israel, Colombia and India.