Achieving decarbonisation: What emerged during our roundtable discussion in Cardiff
Industry colleagues joined us in Cardiff for the third of our Achieving Decarbonisation roundtable series to discuss the challenges and opportunities in retrofit.
We were delighted to host representatives from Cardiff Metropolitan University, Fulkers, Glyndwr Consulting, WEPCO MIM/Fulcrum Group and Caerphilly County Borough Council, all of whom participated in another lively and insightful discussion.
Recurring themes have surfaced from our past events in Manchester and Liverpool, emphasising the importance of bridging knowledge gaps and collaborating across sectors for successful decarbonisation.
In Cardiff, a more nuanced set of themes emerged, highlighting the significance of early sustainable education adoption, the embrace of cultural shifts and the integration of technology and innovations into the mainstream.
The urgency lies in providing earlier exposure to sustainability principles, diversifying skillsets and championing a broader, more inclusive approach in universities. This prepares future generations for meaningful contributions to decarbonisation and sustainable practices.
To address skills and knowledge gaps, the first step is embracing sustainability as a comprehensive concept and ideology. Instilling sustainability thinking is essential as a foundational element in understanding decarbonisation challenges.
The implementation of this initiative is already underway at Cardiff Metropolitan University, which is embedding a carbon literacy programme across the entire university curriculum, with many courses having carbon literacy credits attached to them.
Recognising the pivotal role of young people, there’s a growing awareness and emphasis on valuing life and work in higher education, with a desire for participation in shaping a sustainable future.
The discussion highlighted the need to simplify sustainability knowledge, making it more accessible to all students. Moving forward, the focus should be on promoting an inclusive approach, ensuring every student can seamlessly integrate sustainability into their work and lives.
The discussion highlighted various challenges in the practical implementation of sustainable solutions, such as practical constraints in retrofitting, changing attitudes towards innovations like Passivhaus and the disconnect between theoretical knowledge and practical realisation.
Overcoming these challenges requires a shift in attitudes, effective communication, lifelong learning and creating compelling business cases to drive demand for sustainable practices.
Additionally, policymakers and politicians need clearer guidance on the built environment’s significance, and there’s a call to involve the public in embracing the positive changes for a sustainable future.
We recognise that there is a significant gap between theoretical understanding and practical implementation. Before we start to apply these innovative solutions for decarbonisation, it’s important that we address people’s attitudes towards embracing these changes.
This shift is not just a choice but a necessity, which leaves us to question: How can we effectively communicate that these changes are imminent?
The impact of promoting a positive attitude cannot be overstated, even minor adjustments can provide substantial results. Remarkably, individuals and institutions are adopting proactive measures. For example, one university has committed to exclusively collaborate with businesses actively pursuing the goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.
During the conversation, numerous innovative and inventive ideas related to decarbonisation were shared. Yet it’s worth wondering why, despite years of development, these concepts are yet to become more mainstream.
Intuitive and user-friendly innovations such as our Retrofit Toolkit, play a crucial role. The toolkit helps individuals and businesses make informed decisions in prioritising decarbonisation plans, whether for single assets or entire estates, ultimately reducing energy usage.
As previously discussed, the spectrum of inventive solutions is vast and captivating. For instance, the exploration by textiles students at Cardiff Metropolitan University into repurposing excess clothing has unveiled exciting possibilities for the built environment.
Overall, the event emphasised the need for early sustainable education, a cultural shift in embracing sustainable practices, effective communication to bridge knowledge gaps, and bringing innovative solutions to the mainstream.
To find out more about the retrofit challenge and how we have been working with clients to help them decarbonise their properties and estates, visit our perspectives page here.
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