Water catchment house design in Africa win Special Recognition in the Architectural Design category at the Design Educates Awards 2023

Hong-En, Lin introduces a Pure Power/Daily Combat Strategy for Water Collection in Africa, where water resources are often polluted, and where long distances to obtain water make the task difficult.

For many people, it can take one to three hours to get from home to a water source, but even then the water they obtain is often muddy. Water pollution is also a prevalent problem in Africa, and one of the primary causes of death is due to the consumption of contaminated water over time that contains bacteria and parasites that can cause illness. Given that poor environments prevent many people from accessing cleaner water, the designer’s goal is to assist them in that endeavor. Once addressed, access to cleaner water resources can also help improve water extraction, while ensuring the availability of clean drinking water and clean water for cooking and better food hygiene in regions of Africa.

Thoughts from the house

Housing is the most important source of shelter from the wind and rain, as well as a place for undertaking daily activities. It has been observed in Africa that family women still retain local traditional woven clothing. Most parts of the world have their own weaving culture. Under the circumstances of limited environmental conditions and budget, the designer has leveraged local weaving culture as an idea for combining the housing of local materials and dew collection to create cleaner, more economical housing with a cleaner water source.

Photo credit: Hong-En,Lin

Design Thinking and Creation

How do poor rural areas perceive local materials based on economic sustainability as effective use tools that can be extended to other places after 10 years and 20 years? In terms of architecture, bricks and wood, which are easily available locally, are used as the main building materials. The design of local objects can be simply accomplished through weaving and the power of a family. Joint weaving can enhance emotional well-being between family members while providing the ability to reduce budget expenditures and increase the temperature of hand-made buildings to create a closer family sense of belonging. The bedroom space surrounds the public space so that the bedroom and the semi-outdoor space are closely connected, thus creating a daily living space where the family can gather. On the roof, a wooden structure is combined with a weaving device to collect dew. The weaving technique and structure are interwoven to form a structure that echoes the concept. The tolerable curvature of the wood structure is used as the support of the roof structure, and the structure of the roof is covered by weaving. The cladding of the roof is covered with structure, a waterproof layer (PVC), and a dew collection layer. The structure can extract moisture from the air in the early morning, and can also collect rainwater, both of which can be stored after passing through a filtration system. As a result, the use of local weaving colors and simple construction methods can be leveraged and combined to create useful and interesting roof systems.

Visit any news site, and you’ll find recent headlines and op-eds describing big tech’s recent stumbles—overzealous hiring sprees in hyper-growth phases have been disrupted by worrying economic signals, which perpetuate a vicious cycle of mass job cuts.

The story unraveling in the construction industry, meanwhile, is quite a different one—job openings far outpace workers in the talent pool. Data released by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) in February revealed that the construction industry’s workforce shortages have topped half a million.

NPR reported a similar story, citing the recent Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) report that showed the number of construction job openings rose by 129,000 in February, while hiring decreased by 18,000.

CNBC reports that tech workers worry over being replaced by generative AI, but as these workers find their jobs threatened by recent job cuts, the construction industry stands to gain from adopting technology and, particularly, automation to address workforce challenges. In fact, Construction Drive cites a new report from Dodge Construction Network that revealed positive results among general contractors automating subcontractor management processes. 91% of GCs who used sub management technology, the report found, experienced improvements in productivity. In addition, 81% responded they experienced lower costs, and 79% responded higher profits.

Lucas Marshall Content Marketing and SEO Manager at  Milwaukee Tools looks at how construction companies in the US are currently automating workflows and can continue to leverage technology to address workforce challenges.



Reuters reported in February that orders placed to North American robotics companies in 2022 reached 44,100 units—an 11% increase over the previous year and a new record.


And that’s for good reason – robots drive positive outcomes in the construction sector:

  • They help improve speed and automate procedural tasks (by 25-90%) as well as reducing hazardous tasks (by 72%), empowering already strapped project execution teams onsite to deliver executables faster, but also more safely and more predicably.
  • They empower project managers to better forecast, predict, and scope project budgets and timelines while also improving communication, collaboration, and morale between cross-functional teams.
  • They can reskill construction laborers into higher-skilled roles. At the same time, they can empower skilled trades to cut the monotony from their day to focus on the parts of their job that call for the highest degree of human intelligence and reasoning.


Types of robotics and use cases:

  • Procedural robots – bricklaying robots, like Construction Robotics’ SAM, have helped companies complete jobs faster by working alongside skilled bricklayers in remote areas like Virginia where access to skilled workers is limited.
  • Drones and reality capture – Drones can be used both in preconstruction and on active sites—to map out sites, to perform overhead progress reports, even to keep track of assets. Such is the case for an Australian customer of major drone-making company DroneDeploy, who has used the company’s software across 20 projects to communicate daily activities as well as change design plans and report site progress in real-time. Meanwhile, Boston Dynamics’ “Spot,” a more traditional, if canine-reminiscent, robot, has been used to drive reality capture workflows, such as monitoring an HDVC converter station in central Massachusetts for public safety.
  • Exoskeletons – both partial and full-body exoskeletons (think: Tony Stark becoming Iron Man) can help empower their wearer to more safely perform dangerous tasks, faster. Such is the case with Comau’s MATE that offers postural and upper limb support that helps wearers move more comfortably, reduces muscle fatigue, and enhances overhead mobility.


Experts have agreed that automation is critical to address many of the challenges the construction industry faces, while they also agree that focusing on the human side of automation is equally important. “It’s not that they’re replacing people but that they’re refocusing people,” said Alan Gasvoda, an End User Productivity Leader for Continuous Improvement at Milwaukee Tool, in a recent expert roundup on automation. “[T]he robotics are typically done to those tasks that people don’t typically like to do anyway, and it provides the industry the chance to upskill their current workforce,” he explains.



Industrialization within the construction industry refers to the productisation of construction projects, and it represents a mindset shift from one-off projects to more wholistic, systemic processes. General tenets and key advantages to industrializing construction processes include reducing waste, creating a value chain for the customer, and improving the overall quality and consistency of the build.


Common levers pulled in an industrialized construction workflow include:

  • Adopting lean management principles
  • Streamlining preassembly through offsite construction (e.g., partnering with a third-party prefab or modular construction vendor, or building your own infrastructure) to better control quality assurance. That is to say, offsite construction allows companies to skirt unpredictable weather conditions, and leverage temperature-controlled factory settings and assembly lines with standardized processes and even robotics (as in above workflow!) that drive better consistency.
  • Adopting additive manufacturing technologies (such as 3D printing) to increase design freedom and timeliness as well as reduce waste.
  • BIM and digital twin models to mirror systems and processes across project lifecycles, leverage real-time data, and use simulation and machine learning and reasoning to help empower smarter decision making.


Examples of companies currently using industrialization techniques include Modular Building Institute award-winning company, NRB Modular Solutions, which has done everything from providing affordable housing in Oshawa, Ontario, to delivering office space in a manufacturing facility.

A similar project included one from modular builder 720 Solutions, which delivered housing for mental health clients, a 36-module, 28-unit structure that, once planned, greenlit, and completed offsite, took merely a day to assemble onsite.


Safer, Smarter Power Tools

There has been a barrage of headlines related to artificial intelligence in recent months that highly emphasize applications like generative design. A far less discussed topic, though equally compelling, is how machine learning algorithms applied to power tools can make those tools, in the hands of onsite installers, safer against dangerous events like kickback, or how utilization events performed on these tools can be pulled to assist with anything from troubleshooting maintenance to providing quality assurance to customers that work has been performed to specification.


Examples of smart power tools in use:

  • Major electrical grid providers rely on smart power tools, like digital torque wrenches, to automate the installation of heavy-duty mechanical lug nuts for high-voltage electrical wires. Proof-of-work reporting also demonstrates to customers and stakeholders that these critical fasteners were installed to specification and that the public’s safety can be ensured.
  • Heavy duty mechanics, meanwhile, rely on IoT solutions – smart impact guns empower these trades to deliver precision fastening in the fleet vehicles they service. What’s more, integrated cloud-based inventory management features help them warranty and service the tools they use in the shop, as well as to keep track of these tools’ locations around the shop and in the field.


Software Integrations

Software integration and interoperability remain the digital answer to the real, quantifiable problems experienced in the physical world of construction—both in terms of addressing workforce problems as well as the industry’s digitization dilemma.

Experts have pointed to recent acquisitions by major construction SaaS companies as evidence to where the industry is moving.

The advantages to construction companies integrating their software as well as the apps they use include removing information silos, increasing cross-functional collaboration, removing manual entry that can lead to human error, and overall, improving how companies can operate more seamlessly by leveraging real-time data.


Examples of software integrations in the wild include:

  • How a data center utilizing Procore seamlessly connected their flow of information so that communication is facilitated “from anywhere, at anytime.”
  • How an engineering services firm utilizing Autodesk Construction Cloud™ “foster collaboration” by building data connectivity that allows their in-office engineering and in-field construction management teams to synchronize digitally in real time.
  • Integrations like the one between consumer BLE tracking tag company Chipolo® and heavy-duty cordless power tool manufacturer Milwaukee® via their One-Key connectivity platform. This integration allows both companies to expand their BLE networks and it facilitates the reciprocal improvement of both consumer and professional trade end users. As an example, when a consumer whose cat tracker passes within range of professional tradesperson’s Bluetooth®-enabled Drill/Driver or asset affixed with a heavy-duty Bluetooth tracker, this interaction contributes to the scatternet that sends location updates to each app anonymously.


Advice to the Construction Sector: Absorb Big Tech’s Displaced Technologists

I started this article comparing and contrasting the technology sector’s job cuts to the construction sector’s workforce challenges, which on the surface serve as an interesting narrative foil.

Both industries confront seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Both are existential in nature. The displaced tech engineers worry where they may go as thousands of their peers face similar fates. The construction companies wonder how they’ll execute on a growing backlog of projects as the talent pool they and their competitors both rely on continuingly narrows.

But with these industries facing problems on the opposite side of the workforce spectrum, one wonders if, together, both industries can help solve the other’s problems in a mutually beneficial manner.

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, in a 2022 interview with CNBC International, had some thoughts that mirror this sentiment:


“There are more software engineering jobs outside of the tech industry than there are in the tech industry,” said Nadella. “So, to some degree, I’d say the labor markets are much more resilient. There’s not an auto company that doesn’t need software engineers. There’s not an energy company that doesn’t need software engineers. There’s not a retailor or a bank that doesn’t need software engineers.” He arrived at a similar conclusion to the above-one I made: “To the degree to which there is oversupply in one [industry], there will be more even distribution.”


As roles like construction technologist emerge, as experts in the construction industry agree on the importance of data and integrations, and as VC funding in contech startups surge, there begin to emerge pathways for this even distribution Nadella describes to accommodate big tech’s displayed displaced software engineers entering the construction tech industry:

  • Displaced software engineers entering contech startups
  • Displaced software engineers and technologists hired directly by construction firms to help build these companies’ tech stacks to better execute on projects


Furthermore, as a parting thought, at Milwaukee Tool, there’s a lot more than immediately meets the eye from an engineering standpoint. While software engineers may see a traditional, nearly hundred-year-old power tool company, in fact there’s so much more inside these walls: The company’s double-digit, decade-long growth includes more than 1,500 patents since 2007, a workforce that has grown 7x, and 7 new technology centers.

Innovation is part of our DNA. One such project that brought innovation to a tired product category can demonstrate, having earned accolades from both industry and tech-focused recognizing bodies.

While the clouds may seem stormy, just beyond them is a sunny outlook: partnership.


Source: Robotics Tomorrow


Pirta tests revolutionary climate cooling paint at world-renowned solar simulator

Pirta has successfully tested the performance of its revolutionary climate ‘cooling paint’ using a world-renowned solar simulator.

The Yorkshire firm visited TS Space Systems’ purpose built site in Marlow, UK, to carry out a range of performance tests.

Pirta’s unique paint formula has since been validated by the University of Leeds with provisional results indicating exceptionally high emissivity, or ability to release heat, reducing surface temperature by up to 64°C (114.4°F).

The technology holds immense commercial potential as a passive cooling agent, supporting billion-dollar market segments — including construction, shipping, logistics, agriculture and energy industries — looking to slash emissions from energy-dependent cooling systems in order to mitigate the current climate crisis.


Pirta R&D Director Robert Atkin said the initial performance tests helped propel the firm to open-air testing overseas.

“This was a fascinating way to begin our testing journey,” he said. “Solar simulators are able to replicate intense UV rays experienced in the troposphere extending 11km above sea level. For our tests, we tuned-up the simulator to deliver a variety of light intensities experienced at terrestrial sea-level where our product will initially be applied. It proved to be a vital learning curve and influenced our next stage of field tests in the UK and in India, delivered in collaboration with Leeds University and the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kerala.”

In recent months, Pirta’s lab tests have demonstrated a peak reflectance of 99.82% across visible and ultraviolet light spectrums. Its overall performance returned a Figure of Merit of 0.934, which was calculated using both reflectivity and emissivity scores.

Meanwhile, the paint formula’s SRI, recognised in the USA as an industry standard for measuring material thermal properties, was valued at 116.8. Most materials have an SRI between 1 and 100, with higher values indicating greater reflectance and emissivity and an improved ability to passively cool a structure.

Pirta has received support from UK Government backed authorities, investment arms and innovation accelerators including Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, Innovate UK Edge and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI).

HUD Announces Research Grant Opportunity to Study Off-site Construction and Land Use Reforms

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) to build the evidence base to accelerate the adoption of innovative and effective practices and policies to increase the production and supply of quality, affordable housing.

The NOFO provides up to $4 million to (1) assess the potential for off-site construction methods to increase housing supply, lower the cost of construction and/or reduce housing expenses for low- and moderate-income owners and renters; and (2) study how reforms to local zoning and other land-use regulations can increase the supply of quality, affordable housing and expand housing choices and opportunities for low- and moderate-income households. Proposals are due on August 1st.

“In recent decades, housing supply simply has not kept up with demand, which has driven up housing costs and limited affordable housing options for low- and moderate-income families. However, the housing supply shortage has also inspired pro-housing policy reforms at the state and local levels and new attention to alternative construction methods,” said Solomon Greene, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. “The goal of this research is to better understand which of these reforms and innovations are most effective at producing new affordable housing and what are the conditions for success.”

This NOFO is the latest in HUD’s effort to support researchers, community residents, practitioners, and policymakers to work together to unleash the housing supply.

  • This NOFO builds upon the research needs that are identified in the Off-site Construction for Housing: Research Roadmap, which can help overcome the barriers and challenges of off-site construction.
  • In June, HUD hosted the Innovative Housing Showcase on the National Mall, featuring new building technologies and housing solutions, focusing on off-site construction making housing more innovative, resilient, and affordable for American families.
  • In April, HUD released a Policy & Practice brief to summarize the effects of restrictive land use policies on housing supply, location, and affordability, as well as highlight reforms that state and local governments can adopt to increase the supply of housing.
  • In April, HUD announced a research grant to Cornell University to study the impacts of zoning in the largest cities in the United States.

HS2 in UK first, as engineers begin assembling off-site manufactured viaduct

HS2 has begun assembling the UK’s first major railway viaduct to be entirely manufactured off-site, in a move that represents a major step forward for viaduct design and promises to boosting safety and efficiency on site.

Unlike more traditional viaduct designs, every major element of the 880m long Thame Valley Viaduct is being manufactured in a factory before being slotted together on site like a giant Lego set, cutting its carbon footprint by around a third.

Crossing the flood plain of the River Thame, just outside Aylesbury, the viaduct will carry HS2 trains at speeds of up to 360km/h between London, Birmingham and the North – dramatically improving journeys while freeing up space for more freight and local services on the existing network.

The 68 giant concrete piers – each weighing 42 tonnes – are being cast at PACADAR UK’s factory on the Isle of Grain, in Kent, before being transported to site by road. The first 14 piers were lifted into position on top of their foundations over the last four weeks.

Set low into the landscape with a simple and consistent profile, the underside of the viaduct will be just 3m above the ground, with thirty-six even spans crossing the river and surrounding wetlands.

Applying lessons from the construction of recent high-speed rail projects in Spain, the design team opted for a simple structural solution with two 25m long hollow beams per span, which cuts the amount of carbon-intensive concrete and steel, while simplifying work on site.

Tomas Garcia, HS2 Ltd’s Head of Civil Structures said:

“Thame Valley may not be HS2’s biggest viaduct, but it does represent a major step forward in terms of its structural design. The post-tensioned double-beam approach used here has enabled the whole viaduct to be manufactured off-site – dramatically improving efficiency, safety and quality while delivering outstanding performance and durability.

“Once complete, HS2 will offer zero-carbon journey across the UK, but structures like this will also help us develop new ways to cut embedded carbon in construction that can be adopted across the rest of the industry in the future. That’s why it’s great to see the first piers in place as our construction partners begin to assemble this ground-breaking viaduct.”

The viaduct was designed by HS2 Ltd’s main works contractor, EKFB – a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall – working with specialist on-site construction partner, FC Civils Solutions.

Traditionally, viaduct beams are secured together above each of the piers with a concrete diaphragm which is cast in situ. The larger pre-cast beams that will be used at Thame Valley can be secured directly to one another, removing the need for the diaphragm – and allowing every major element of the structure to be pre-fabricated.

As well as cutting embedded carbon in terms of materials, the pre-fabricated approach requires less lorries to deliver material to site, simplifies construction, cuts waste, reduces disruption for the community during construction – and improves safety by reducing the need for people to work at height.

Off-site manufacturing also helps spread contract opportunities and supply chain jobs across the UK, with 200 people – including apprentices and graduate engineers from nearby Universities – employed on the Isle of Grain, delivering the viaduct and also making tunnel segments for HS2’s London tunnels.

Tiago Palas, FC Civils Solutions Head of Operations, said:

“The construction team is thrilled with progress made so far. In a short amount of time, we have successfully installed fourteen pre-fabricated piers as well as pressing ahead with the other stages of works, on-and-off site, such as pile cap construction and the production of the precast beams ready for installation in autumn.

“Slotting the piers into place takes precision, collaboration and the expertise of the team, however, it’s a relatively quick process – an efficiency enabled by its innovative design and construction methodology.”


Homeowners embrace solar panels and insulation as cost-of-living crisis bites


New data shows that homeowners across the country are turning to solar panels and insulation upgrades to combat high energy costs.

According to the new analysis of planning applications by Barbour ABI, the number of planning applications citing insulation has more than doubled since 2019, and those citing solar panels have risen threefold. Not only is this saving money on heating, but evidence suggests energy efficiency upgrades are now increasing house values, even as the housing market struggles.

This trend follows the disruption of the pandemic, which had previously led to a surge in home improvement in 2019 and 2020, as homeowners spent savings on improving outside space and reconfiguring internal space to make way for home working.

Barbour ABI Chief Economist, Tom Hall said:

“The latest data reveals the exceptional impact on the home-improvement market created by an extraordinary series of economic and social disruptions. Covid saw home improvement applications boom as people looked to extensions, home office improvements and garden upgrades to improve home working conditions – activity has fallen over the last year but overall numbers remain above the pre-pandemic trend.

 “The surge in solar panel installations and the rapid rise in insulation work suggests that the cost savings from reduced energy bills and increasing evidence of an energy efficiency premium is now tempting for better-off homeowners.”

 Meanwhile, the pressure on the UK to meet its net zero targets is likely to grow, prompting the use of incentives or regulation to encourage reluctant owners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, so we expect this trend to continue.”


St Albans is the home improvement capital of Great Britain


St Albans in Hertfordshire has topped the league for the most home improvement planning applications in the UK.

Looking at the hottest spots for home improvement, the Top 25 table shows that districts in London’s commuter belt dominate. The East of England and Southeast regions each fill nine slots on the table, with London taking five. The remaining two places in the top 25 are taken by Uttlesford, near Stansted in Essex, and Cotswold, in Gloucestershire.

The Top 5 districts include St Albans, Three Rivers, Elmbridge, South Cambridgeshire and Epping Forest.


Falloff in home improvement applications


But whilst the sharp rise in the cost of living may have prompted many households in better-off communities to invest, the same pressures are restricting spending in poorer areas. All regions saw a sharp drop of 19% from a peak of planning applications in 2021, but it’s districts in the north of Britain filling out the bottom of the league whilst the Northeast is the hardest hit region, dropping 26%.

Hall continued:

There can be little doubt that the home-improvement market will suffer as the economy weakens and the cost-of-living crisis bites deeper into the pockets of households. But counter to this, the case for investment in improvements that reduce the cost of running a home is increasingly making sense for those who still have money to invest in their properties.

“However, there is evidence to suggest the benefits will not be felt evenly throughout Great Britain. Less-well-off areas will struggle to fund upgrades of any sort in the current economic climate, leaving them at the mercy of energy markets.”  


TopHat, a company that builds factory-made modular houses, has completed a deal with France’s largest house builder as it seeks to expand into Europe.

The Goldman Sachs-backed firm said it had made an exclusive partnership with Nexity on Wednesday 14 June to “accelerate the development of offsite construction in France”.

TopHat will contribute its modular expertise to the partnership, it said, while Nexity will provide its experience with French construction and development programmes.

Nexity developed 18,000 homes last year, similar to the output of the UK’s largest house builder Barratt. The developer aims to have 10% of its houses built in factories by 2028, citing the reduced delivery times, higher environmental standards and energy efficiency of modular production.

The announcement comes as TopHat’s UK modular competitor Ilke Homes was fighting to secure its future. Ilke revealed last week it had paused factory operations and put itself up for sale. The company blamed issues with the planning system for its financial woes.

Unlike Ilke, which uses a land-led delivery model – in which the company buys land, secures planning permission and develops the site – TopHat only sells houses to third parties. About a third of its output is bought by housing associations, another third by developers, and the final third by build-to-rent providers.

Last month, Legal & General announced that it would stop production at its giant modular factory due to weak demand, leaving Ilke as TopHat’s last remaining major competitor in the UK modular sector.


Source: Inside Housing

Copyright  Octopus Energy

UK festival gets an eye-catching 28 metre wind turbine

Communities have the opportunity to host the turbine after its Glasto stint, under Octopus Energy’s ‘try before you buy’ scheme.

It’s not as if Glastonbury Festival goers need another reason to feel delighted by next week’s line-up.

But the likes of Lizzo, Lana Del Rey and Sir Elton John are being joined by one very prominent guest at Worthy Farm: a pink and purple 28-metre wind turbine.

Octopus Energy erected the tall turbine on 13 June, in a move they say will help make Glastonbury 2023 the greenest yet.


“We agreed the Glastonbury turbine only a few weeks ago,” the renewable energy company revealed on Twitter.

“It took just two weeks to build the parts and a single day to get the turbine up and spinning. That’s how fast green energy can get done when people work together.”

Spinning its eight-metre long blades, the turbine will generate up to 300kWh of power a day. This will be fed into a mini grid providing clean energy to food stalls in William’s Green field, near the iconic Pyramid stage.

And it’s just the start of the colourful behemoth’s tour. Communities across the UK are invited to temporarily host the turbine after Glasto, as part of a ‘try before you buy’ scheme.

Source: Euro News Green

TRB Lightweight Structures recreates B-17 flooring panels after 35 years

TRB Lightweight Structures is delighted to announce the successful manufacture of replacement balsa wood and aluminium floor panels as part of the B-17 Charitable Trust’s refurbishment of Sally B, Europe’s last remaining airworthy B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft.

TRB has led the way in the design and manufacture of lightweight panels and structures for over sixty years, including the production of numerous specialised sandwich panels for the aerospace industry. As part of the ongoing restoration and upkeep of the Sally B, the aircraft’s radio room required replacement floor panels to allow it to meet relevant aerospace regulations and continue to fly. The trust therefore approached TRB – which had manufactured the previous flooring panels in 1987 – to provide like-for-like replacements. The company was able to deliver high quality replacements that replicated the original sandwich panel design of aluminium skins over a balsa wood core, providing both the light weight and stiffness required for this unique aircraft.

Chris Cooper, Project Engineer at TRB Lightweight Structures, commented:

“This was an exciting partnership for TRB. Together, we have ensured the continued flight of the Sally B, based on the same panel construction method that we used in 1987, demonstrating our ability to offer customers tailored solutions to the problems they face.”

Steve Carter, Deputy Chief Engineer at the B-17 Charitable Trust, added:

“The B-17 is an iconic aircraft, and the Sally B has spent 47 years as a flying memorial to the US airmen who died during the Second World War. Its preservation is a striking dedication to fallen airmen, and replacing the flooring in a way that kept the Sally B airworthy was of critical importance. We valued partnering with TRB for the expertise of its engineers, who clearly understood our needs and offered a functional and neat solution.”

About TRB Lightweight Structures

TRB Lightweight Structures (TRB) is a leading international manufacturing and engineering company, specialising in lightweight and durable composite products for a range of industries. Since its formation in 1954, TRB has invested heavily in people, and has a team of over 130 experts to support its services across design, engineering, manufacturing and quality. TRB’s cross-functional teams work closely with customers to tackle big challenges – reducing weight while improving performance, safety and durability. The company prides itself on working with other businesses that take their carbon footprint seriously, and want to use more environmentally-friendly materials in their manufacturing processes.


We are seeing smart cities in the UK and overseas collecting a wealth of data by installing different sensors around the community.

This can range from measuring air quality, as used by the London Air Quality Network, to detecting leaking water pipes, with Vodafone recently partnering with SES Water.

Cities are increasingly making city-wide data available to use; in 2012 in New York, the then-mayor Michael Bloomberg signed Local Law 11 of 2012, known as the ‘Open Data Law’.

This mandates that all public data be made available on a single web portal.

With just seven years to prevent the temperature from rising 1.5ºC according to the Climate Clock, government and industry need to invest in smart technology as a priority.

The stats speak for themselves:

  • Buildings account for 40% of all energy consumption 
  • When it comes to electricity, buildings account for 55% of consumption
  • It is estimated that 30% of all energy used in commercial buildings is wasted 
  • In Europe 75% of buildings are inefficient

Research has found that in buildings with clean air technology, productivity can increase by 11%.

To achieve this, businesses will need to install ventilation, filtration, and disinfection technology, which must be linked to an occupancy measuring solution and technology to measure air quality.

These types of building management systems can maintain and optimise buildings on their own, and only need humans when they are notified.

With new technologies such as digital twins, IoT, ML, AI and Automation, smart buildings can operate without much human interference at all.

A digital twin can be used to simulate how different policies may affect a city.

With such technology, if a product is having any issues or is nearing the end of its lifecycle, it can notify and send out an engineer with the right part to fix it first time.

The building can remain energy efficient, while bringing down costs to the business and freeing up the time for engineers, building owners and facilities managers to spend on the more pressing issues at hand.

Smart technologies on their own are not “sustainable”, but it’s how they’re used.

For example, they can help to monitor the usage of utilities such as heating and electric, keeping costs down for homeowners/tenants and ensuring properties remain greener and more energy efficient.

Smart technologies can reduce waste output, minimising the carbon footprint of developments.

They can also make developments a more comfortable place for homeowners/tenants to live, improving quality of life and therefore increasing the demand for such properties.

We use renewable energy resources wherever possible in both our commercial and residential developments, promoting cleaner energy and a more cost-effective solution for the end user.

Modern methods of construction speed up build time and lower the carbon output.

Our largest opportunity will use pioneering saltwater greenhouse technology to grow produce on-site in harsh conditions.

This will give the local community direct access to fresh fruit and vegetables rather than having to import the produce from elsewhere, lowering costs and carbon output.


Source: Development Finance