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International conference on sustainability

13 Sep 2019 10:15AM

The University of Suffolk has hosted an international conference on sustainability and the built environment.

The International SEEDS (Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design for Society) Conference took place on 11-12 September and is in its fifth year.

Suffolk hosted the conference for the first time and welcomed delegates from across the world who are all experts in their field.

The University worked in partnership with Leeds Beckett University and Technological University Dublin.

The built environment has a greater impact on natural resources and produces more waste than any other industry. The SEEDS conference focused on the changes that are taking place and the benefits or consequences that are being predicted and measured regarding the built environment’s impacts.

Professor Lloyd Scott, Head of Knowledge in Sustainable Construction Research Group at Technological University Dublin said, “We are experiencing a time of great change and challenge where the excitement of technological development can be evidenced all around us. I was delighted the University of Suffolk had the vision to collaborate and host the event and humbled to be part of it.”

“The urgency that surrounds addressing sustainability is very apparent and the SEEDS conference provided a special forum where like-minded academics, researchers and students could provide the evidence for change but also create the appropriate discourse to make the necessary transition. We had two days of lectures, workshops, discussion events and networking opportunities to shape a sustainable future together.”

Professor Chris Gorse, Director of the Leeds Sustainability Institute at Leeds Beckett University, added “Tasked with transforming engineering and construction, while ensuring cleaner and more productive modes of operation, the SEEDS conference and RISE awards brought industry leaders and academics together to ensure a real difference is made.”

“It was impressive to see how many national and international experts came to Ipswich. The hub of activity that was ben created is a testament to the research at the University of Suffolk and the impact the SEEDS conference has.  We have great expectations of what will come out of the partnerships formed in Suffolk and believe that further research outputs from the conference, digital symposium and industry awards will revolutionise our working space and better support the natural environment that we rely on.”

The University launched the Suffolk Sustainability Institute in 2018 in partnership with Suffolk County Council and regional stakeholders.

The Institute provides consultancy, and research; supporting innovation and enabling knowledge transfer and skills development for business, community, policy and place makers, in Suffolk and through UK wide established networks, building a knowledge base that has clear benefit to its partners.

It provides a regional centre of excellence for transforming, and supporting a constant dynamic progression towards UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Justine Oakes from the Suffolk Sustainability Institute and Sustainability Manager at the University of Suffolk said, "The built environment dominates humanities impact on the natural world.  For the majority of us, the rural and urban communities we pass through daily, have all been shaped and designed by social and economic growth requirements.  So it therefore makes sense, that with a growing population, the key route to progressing towards a sustainable future is to focus, quite literally, on building it!” 

“Built environment activities are key contributors to climate change, energy consumption, waste generation, resource depletion, biodegradation and diminished human health.  All challenges that formed the focus of this year’s SEEDS Conference. This event presented an exceptional opportunity for global knowledge transfer within our region."  

The conference was supported by Haven Power. Marc Bradbrook, Commercial & Energy Services Director at Drax Customers (Haven Power & Opus Energy), said, “We’re enabling a zero carbon, lower cost energy future, through our supply of renewable electricity to UK businesses, and the provision of corresponding services such as battery storage and electric vehicles. We were incredibly proud to be supporting such an innovative conference focussing on sustainability here in Ipswich.”

The two-day conference was bridged by the RISE Awards, at Milsoms in Kesgrave. The annual awards, presented by Iain Dunnett, Senior Growing Places Fund Coordinator at the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, celebrated talented companies, groups and individuals who are changing the nature of the built environment industry through extensive research, development and innovation.

Awards were presented in 16 categories:

Field and Laboratory Research: Nic Bury, Anna Lavelle and Mike Chadwick from the University of Suffolk and King’s College London for urban river restoration; influence of urban river restoration on nitrogen dynamics at the sediment-water interface


Design Innovation and Creativity: Bernardino D'Amico from Edinburgh Napier University for Post-Disaster Post-Conflict Emergency Shelters: A Holistic Approach

New Technologies and Building Materials: Justine Oakes, Nigel Dent and Alison Huxley from the University of Suffolk and Suffolk County Council Connected Energy for The Hold: Ipswich, Energy Battery Storage Project

Sustainable Development: joint winners: Vivian Tam & Khoa N Le from Western Sydney University for High-Grade CO2 Concrete for Low Life-Cycle Costing and Don Stewart from Interserve for Emissions & (Commercial) Springwell Leeds SEMH Schools SustainAbilty Expertise

Behavioural Change: Peter Miller from Conga Ltd for Conga - Motorway Makeover - Creating a fast and comfortable public transport service for the GB strategic road network

Social Value: David Sweeting, Gary Crockett, Dr Christopher Hayre;, Dr Noreen Cuseh-Brewster, Dawn Parsons, Teresa Howarth from East Coast Community Healthcare CIC, Suffolk Coastal & Waveney District Councilsa nd University of Suffolk for To what extent does a warm home impact on health and wellbeing?

Enterprise: SES Engineering Services from York Community Stadium, Social Value

Collaborative Working: SES Engineering Services from Glaxosmithkline Q-Block (Aseptic Manufacturing Facility) Collaborative Working

Education and Training: Mike Bates from PL Projects for Developing Sustainability in a Service Sector SME … a difficult journey!

Fire and Safety: Rochila Kundu from Leeds Beckett University for BIM Implementation for Existing High-Rise Social Housing: Grenfell Tower

Health, Safety and Wellbeing: Lucy Cooper from Interserve for Mental Health First Aid

Asset Management: Paul Redmond from SRO Building Solutions for SRO Innovation - Smart Asset Management Suite

Civil Engineering (infrastructure & access): Chris Davis & Rob Bozea from Network Rail for Access for All at Saltmarshe Station

Building Consultancy and Surveying: ARC Building Solutions for ARC Timber Frame Fire Stopping System & ARC Eaves Insulator

Knowledge Transfer: John Bruen from Bruen Architects and Queen's University Belfast for A Decision Support System for Affordable and Sustainable housing Design and Delivery in Least Developed Countries and Post Disaster Contexts

Contracting (outstanding contribution to Social Value): Mike Mahoney and Andy Carson from NMCN for Positive Impact NMCN - Committed to Delivering a Positive Impact

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