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The Critical Issue with ECO Renovation
This is my site Written by admin on May 20, 2009 – 12:33 pm

Sorry, but nothing exciting has happened on our house – we have not installed or done any work yet and for very good reason.  If we are going to be lifting floors, tearing down ceilings, removing roofs etc, we want to make sure we get this right, ensure it is sustainable, only do this once and for the right price.

I have made some attempt at this and pulled together the requirements , a “whole house” outline feasibility study and youtube video tour of the house describing the proposed changes. I would welcome constructive feedback on these documents – is it heading in the right direction?

I attended the Energy Saving Trust Media Round Table meeting (Tue 19th May) and one of the concerns raised  was (a) there is a lack of ECO skills and awareness issue in the various trades and (b) there are not a lot of experts out there that have the in depth knowledge of whole house ECO renovation. For example, one consumer mentioned that they got 3 quotes to install LED lighting – 2 were high because it was a new technology and not encountered before by the electrician. ECO renovation is an emerging market opportunity but if you are an early adopter, then you are likely to pay more.

I’m just an outsider looking into a different industry but there are some interesting parallels between this and IBM’s e-business initiative 10 years ago – lots of products, and individual product skills but not many people knew how to integrate them together. My team devised simple scenarios (such as a call centre customer interaction) based on e-business patterns[i] (which is an architectural frame work), and integrated the products together. This was documented, and packaged so that the technical sales teams & business partners could quickly pick up and tailor the materials for their own purposes – education, demonstrations etc. It became a repeatable process and in doing so, the basis for quality improvements. What took weeks to understand and implement was reduced to hours.

So could we do something similar through distant learning? Maybe, and distant learning would provide the capability to scale it up.  The key issue is not just about the implementation of the changes, but how you go about pulling together a plan which is then implemented. So the first step is to establish a plan and budget that should incorporate a cost benefits analysis. In order to produce the plan, we need a step by step guide that can be used to achieve this – maybe this is equivalent  to an e-business pattern that can be used to instantiate the plan. An e-building pattern – pick it up and tailor it to your needs? One for detached, semi-detached, terrace?

Then the next step would produce an implementation plan, and as mentioned previously, I intend to youtube & document all stages of the whole house implementation so that others can learn what’s involved and possibly implement some of it themselves to save on labour costs. This is equivalent to “Open Source” whereby the solution and its documentation is made freely available to others to benefit – similar to Apache Software Foundation.

The government’s Heat and Energy Saving Strategy want 7 million homes to have had the opportunity to take up a “whole house” package of measures by 2020 – if it takes 2 years to establish the training, process and infrastructure Mark Elton of ECD Architects indicated that is about 10,000 houses per week – we need that sense of urgency. I only hope these ideas start the debate on what it will take.


[i] E-business patterns were devised by Jonathan Adams, IBM Fellow.

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