Construction crowdsources sustainable solutions

UKGBC

EIT Climate-KIC funding supported the development of the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) portal. It launched in December as an open forum to crowdsource and showcase innovative solutions to some of the building industry’s biggest challenges including deconstruction, materials reuse, retrofit and waste.

Crowdsourcing via the portal has delivered 24 solutions to date. One puts an easy-to-use digital interface next to each skip on a construction site. Workers can quickly record details on each item discarded, including its name, intended use and reason for disposal. The skip weighs the waste to establish the quantity discarded and ‘Tip the Scales’ software records the data directly onto a cloud-based information system. The data will be used to achieve meaningful waste reductions on future projects.

The portal has been promoted to the other 22 Green Building Councils across the Europe Regional Network (ERN). Germany and Norway have said they’d like to be involved in its future. Discussions around how they use it to deliver social and environmental impact in their markets are progressing in 2019.

 

Problem

A quote from Alastair Mant, head of business transformation, UKGBC, in the press release announcing the portal’s launch, answers this.

“We’re proud to unveil our Innovation Portal today in response to the growing urgency for the built environment to deliver a major part of the solution towards 1.5C.

“One of UKGBC’s core aims is to build the capacity of the industry to innovate and last year our Innovation Lab brought together over 50 organisations to tackle a single challenge.

“But our members have asked us to think bigger and cast the net wider. The scale and ambition of the innovation our industry needs cannot happen behind closed doors. The Innovation Portal will democratise the conversations we’re having and throw open our challenges to the possibility of solutions being identified from an unlikely source, or from beyond our industry altogether.”

Solution

UKGBC’s Innovation Portal (https://ukgbc.crowdicity.com/) is an open forum to crowdsource and showcase innovative solutions to some of the building industry’s biggest challenges. These include deconstruction, materials reuse, retrofit and waste.

Anyone can sign-up to submit a solution, which could be anything from a concept-stage innovation to market-ready products and services. Users are also invited to comment on solutions and suggest opportunities for further development.

Impact

Crowdsourcing via the portal has delivered 24 solutions to the following challenges:

  1. Deconstruction and adaptability: how can we make the most of buildings that already exist?
  2. Reusing materials: how can we make the most of materials used in existing buildings?
  3. Retrofit: how can we modernise outdated services with ease?
  4. Resources and waste: how can we reduce waste associated with construction and refurbishment?

Supporting events, including a mini hackathon for solutions not yet on the market, saw the development of three unique solutions.

One of these solutions puts an easy-to-use digital interface next to each skip on a construction site, so that site workers can quickly record details on each item discarded including the name of the item, its intended use and reason for disposal. The skip weighs the waste to establish the quantity discarded and Tip the Scale’s software records the data directly onto a cloud-based information system. The data can be used to achieve meaningful waste reductions on future projects.

Zachary Rootes, Sustainability Advisor, UKGBC, says: “The project ran through a very short timeframe – July to December 2018. In many ways it was an experiment to see how we could communicate, and engage in innovation better, with other people in the built environment.

“The portal was UKGBC’s first project with EIT Climate-KIC, one of two in this funding period. As it was such a successful ‘experiment’ we are scoping the potential to apply for more funding to run a second ‘challenge’ on a grander scale with a longer time frame – a process that will lean much heavier on building relationships within innovation communities, including through EIT Climate-KIC.”

 
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