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110INNOVATION UKINNOVATION The innovation challenge for the built environment We constantly interact with the built environment. From the roads we drive on, the homes we live in, the retail and leisure outlets we visit to the offices, schools and hospitals we work in, we are surrounded by our built environment. This makes buildings and other man- made surroundings fundamental to how we work, rest and play The built environment makes a substantial contribu-tion to the UK's economy with over two million people employed in the construction sector alone, contribut-ing approximately 8% of the UK's GDP. This does not include the wider supply chain consisting of the design community, materials and components suppliers, logis-tics companies and facilities managers who make up the wider built environment industry. Like many other sectors of the wider economy, the indus-try is currently facing tough times. Order books are down and margins are being squeezed. Innovation is therefore vital to ensure that the organisations in the UK relying on the built environment maintain their competitiveness and can deliver the buildings, spaces and infrastructure needed for the 21st century and beyond. How we build and operate our buildings has an enor-mous impact on our environment. The statistics are quite astounding. Around 50% of the UK's carbon emissions and water consumption is in buildings, one third of our landfill waste and one quarter of all raw materials used in the economy are attributable to the built environment. The government's Strategy for Sustainable Construction states that the UK aims to lead the world in sustainable construction. Innovation in new technologies, products and systems is key to enabling the UK to achieve this goal. The UK construction industry is often criticised for its lack of innovation, in fact there is much for it to cele-brate. In the words of Egan: " The UK construction indus-try at its best is excellent and its capabilities to deliver the most difficult and innovative projects matches that of any other construction sector in the world." In order to maintain and improve our competitiveness we cannot stand still, we have not yet met all the challenges that we currently face and there will always be new challenges for the industry around the corner. Capitalising on the opportunities on the global stage is both a challenge and an opportunity, with the UK already well placed in delivering iconic design and leading- edge technology via its world- class architects and consultants. Other parts of our supply chain can also expand their business portfolio by seeking to export their products and services abroad. The role of the Modern Built Environment Knowledge Transfer Network The Modern Built Environment Knowledge Transfer Network ( MBE KTN) provides the framework to enable innovation to happen more easily. It is funded by the Modern Built Environment MODERN BUILT ENVIRONMENT KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER NETWORK Peter White, BRE

UKINNOVATION UK111 Technology Strategy Board to increase the exploitation of innovation in the built environment for demonstrated business benefit. The scope of the MBE KTN encompasses design, build and ongoing management of man- made surroundings and the relationship to human activities that take place in them. This covers a very broad landscape, from large civic spaces and infrastructure through to personal space and therefore endeavours to engage with an extended audience which includes architects, contractors, product suppliers, planners and facility managers. The global and national agendas for increased carbon and energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact will have an increasing economic impact on the built environment over the next decade. This will undoubtedly create new business opportunities for some companies to try and develop competitive advantages over others. To achieve maximum impact the MBE KTN focuses on activities which stimulate short- term economic impact in maintaining competitiveness via promotion of exist-ing innovations which are ready for implementation into current applications. It also stimulates longer- term capa-bility development to ensure future relevance of industry offerings to address global challenges and meet associ-ated targets. This provides focus to funding initiatives by the public and private sector, brokered through bodies such as the Technology Strategy Board. To date the MBE KTN has over 9,000 members, form-ing a critical mass of innovators in the built environ-ment. Its activities support fully the Technology Strategy Board's priorities for competitive research funding, with close alignment to the Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform, assisted living and value- added manufactur-ing agenda in order to ensure that its members are best placed to take advantage of funding opportunities and innovations from the platform. The MBE KTN works with other knowledge transfer net-works to find new innovations and technologies from other sectors, that can be successfully applied in the built environment. This includes products and solutions, including materials, electronics, environmental and crea-tive industries and provides significant market opportu-nity for innovations from these industries. It would be impossible for the MBE KTN to tackle the full breadth of challenges and drivers for innovation facing the UK construction industry. Working with its mem-bers, the MBE KTN has identified four priority challenge themes where innovation can be successfully applied to provide benefits for the UK economy. These themes are: Energy & Carbon Efficiency; Process Efficiency; Climate Change Adaptation; and Life Extension & Refurbishment. Energy & Carbon Efficiency Energy demand and supply is heavily influenced by the built environment. As previously mentioned, buildings are responsible for around half of all energy consumed in the UK and nearly 50% of all carbon emissions. The requirement to reduce energy consumption is driven by the need to reduce carbon emissions as well as energy bills and the continued reliance on overseas energy sup-ply. The challenge is not necessarily to develop new prod-ucts and systems but often to use the right products in the most appropriate way. Insulation and Air Tightness, Lower Carbon Products, Lower Carbon Energy Supply and Building Controls all form part of this larger challenge. Consultation with industry has identified Lower Carbon Products and their control systems as one of the greatest challenges in this area. As a significant contributor to achieving energy and carbon efficiency, the MBE KTN will focus upon identifying shortfalls in current products to either stimulate new product development or optimised control and usage. Key areas for innovation include lighting, positive air flow and heating systems. Process Efficiency The built environment must be designed, built and operated efficiently to deliver optimised business perĀ­formance. This challenge covers a breadth of issues, closing the circle from how we design buildings through to how users interact with buildings, including the ways in which new technologies and systems can be incorporated into the construction process. Whilst innovation has developed management tools such as BIM, its optimised and appropriate use in conjunction with other tools and convention still requires improvement in understanding and practice. Systems integration has been identified as a very com-plex challenge for the industry. How can new systems be effectively and economically incorporated into the build process? This includes a breadth of systems from new construction systems, such as insulated concrete formwork, new environmental systems such as grey- water recycling, new heating systems such as ground- source Modern Built Environment MODERN BUILT ENVIRONMENT KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER NETWORK Peter White, BRE