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Plugging in to the latest in low carbon development and refurbishment

The Institute for Sustainability is a project to connect London-based businesses with UK low carbon building projects and live demonstration projects.
The first phase currently being delivered will see up to 1,200 built environment SMEs receive learning and business support via a network of professional bodies including CIPHE, Constructing Excellence and NRCF among others.

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) will deliver the plumbing, heating and water services network, which aims to equip SMEs with the practical knowledge and understanding to take advantage of the retrofit opportunity present in London.

The £10 million project - FLASH - is joint-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and supported by the Technology Strategy Board through the Retrofit for the Future programme www.innovateuk.org/retrofit. The project aims to ensure SMEs in the built environment have access to the information, research findings and best practice they need to take advantage of the sustainable building and refurbishment market. The retrofit of the UK's housing stock by 2050 is estimated to be worth £200 billion alone.

Kevin Wellman, CIPHE operations director, said: 'This is an excellent initiative which is designed to assist SMEs, operating in or intending to enter the built environment sector, to target the opportunities now emerging for green building, eco retrofit and renewable technology solutions. Industry and the general public alike will benefit immensely from the support information that will be made available. SMEs that are knowledgeable and experienced in sustainable products will be in demand for many years to come and should be proud of their efforts in reducing our carbon footprint.'

Speaking about the project, Dr Neil Johnston, director of delivery at the Institute, commented: 'The built environment has a huge part to play in delivering on 2050 carbon reduction targets so we need an engaged and informed industry to allow the rate of change required.

'The speed at which we need to overhaul our built environment is going to demand we find new ways of doing things. To meet 2050 targets, we should already be retrofitting 600,000 homes a year, while in fact we are not approaching ten per cent of that number. Real collaboration across the industry and with the research community currently doesn't happen nearly enough. We have set up FLASH to encourage and deliver this collaborative model.'

Ian Meikle of the Technology Strategy Board added: 'The Retrofit for the Future programme will produce many valuable lessons about the benefits and opportunities of low carbon refurbishments in the UK housing stock. I am delighted that the FLASH programme will be helping to disseminate these lessons to enable SMEs to capitalise on them'.

The Institute is working with leading industry trade and professional bodies across the built environment sector including RICS, RIBA, CIPHE, NFRC, BSK-CiC, FMB and CE. These organisations will provide the latest information on sustainable retrofit and new build for residential, municipal and commercial buildings in a way that is accessible and relevant to their trade or profession through a range of business support. Those benefiting will include architecture, surveying and engineering practices, small builders, plumbers, electricians and other specialist trades.

Throughout 2011, FLASH will also offer opportunities for businesses to work in partnership with leading academic institutions to create innovative solutions to key sustainability problems, and advice on how to make their own operations more sustainable, resource efficient and reduce their carbon footprint.

The FLASH project is free for London based SMEs. For more information visit: www.instituteforsustainability.co.uk/flash.html
7 March 2011

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