Re: Re: Any experience I should look for for energy efficiency specification?

Home Forums Ireland Any experience I should look for for energy efficiency specification? Re: Re: Any experience I should look for for energy efficiency specification?


What prompted me to write to her was a real concern that the market for ‘Eco’ products seems to be becoming saturated with sellers who know very little about the fundamentals behind their products.

I will say a little bit more about the automobile manufacturing industry below. Toyota have some very interesting perspectives on the above. Amory Lovins of course, who I quote below from his book ‘Natural Capital’ has got the benefit of seeing into several industries: Aviation, automobile, real estate etc. The above is a point well made, and it provides me with an ideal oppotunity to put in a reference to a very useful book on marketing used by the technology industry that I know and love so well for many years now. Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore is a book anyone involved in the young energy conservation business should read very carefully. One of the basic points in its thesis, is that early victories selling new technologies to ‘early adopters’, . . . customers who are easy to sell to, who will buy anything almost, if it is the ‘latest thing’, . . . is often followed by a much tougher period in terms of sales, after the early victories. Failure to ‘cross the chasm’ at this stage is the downfall of many a young enterprise. Moore uses the analogy of the landing at Normandy beach in 1944 to make his point.

To be honest, my biggest criticism of the architectural profession on the subject of energy conservation, is that they have only won a couple of easy and early victories. They have no grand strategy to invade the beaches of Normandy. They are contented to pose alot, try to look cool and show up to the relevant awards ceremonies. In that sense, they haven’t done the whole energy conservation industry that many favours. If and when the energy conservation industry falls out of favour, which it will do, architects will care less about it. It is not that they aren’t sincere about a green future. But the task of achieving a ‘green future’ represents a direct assault on the way in which they conduct their professional business. Green design implies more integration of architectural skills with other skills to obtain the efficiency required to call your design green. It implies having a closer workiing relationship with the people who carry out the work on site too. An awful lot of this simply is not possible within traditional contractual arrangements. No matter how much you try to stretch them. Boundaries will have to be rubbed out, if new efficiencies are to be achieved. See attached PDF document for a little more elaboration on this.

Moore’s book applies equally well to young designers hoping to persuade people to move towards a renewable direction, and also to materials/products suppliers who hope to find markets also. I very much enjoy the way Moore describes one group of customers, he calls ‘Laggards’ who never will buy any new technology. I have tried at length in the recent while to articulate some difficulties that architects need to overcome in terms of their business model. See links posted below. Someone sent me this very interesting quote from Hawken and Lovins today.

“Conventional buildings are typically designed by having each design specialist “toss the drawings over the transom” to the next specialist. Eventually, all the contributing specialists’ recommendations are integrated, sometimes simply by using a stapler.Green builders, in contrast, are insisting on the sort of highly integrative design process that was used by the Amsterdam bank, a process that melds diverse skills and perspectives into a whole that is greater than the sum of its constituent parts. One of the best ways to ensure that this takes place is to have the architects, engineers, landscapers, hydrologists, artists, builders, commissioners (specialists who get the building working properly between construction and occupancy), occupants, maintenance staff, and others who have a stake in a particular building all design the building together.

All these stakeholders collaborate in a “charrette” process—a short, intensive, teamwork-oriented, multidisciplinary roundtable—to ensure that key synergies between design elements are captured and that those elements work together to yield big energy and resource savings at the lowest possible cost.”

There is not a hope in hell that the business model for architecture in Ireland is ready to take on the ideas described in the post above by Hawkens and Lovins. Ironically, organisations like the one Liam Carroll built up over two decades were ideally suited to the task, if the right vision was present at the top of that organisation. I am in no doubt that the ‘vision’ is sincere within the body of professionals that is the RIAI, but they are simply not experienced in organizing human labour at the scale required to deliver on renewables. I would compare working for Liam Caroll to something similar to the car industry with Toyota. I know that from my experience working at Dell manufacturing facility in 2001/02, which was structured around the Toyota ideals. Liam Carroll’s genius was to make everyone he employed a problem solver, or to use the modern slang, a knowledge worker.

How Toyota Turns Workers Into Problem Solvers

The products and services characteristic of our modern economy are far too complex for any one person to understand how they work. It is cognitively overwhelming. Therefore, organizations must have some mechanism for decomposing the whole system into sub-system and component parts, each “cognitively” small or simple enough for individual people to do meaningful work. However, decomposing the complex whole into simpler parts is only part of the challenge. The decomposition must occur in concert with complimentary mechanisms that reintegrate the parts into a meaningful, harmonious whole.

A very interesting organisation in Ireland which has imported the right management ideas I believe is Dublin Airport Authority. You will see a document I produced earlier in the year in the thread linked below, named ‘Future for Irish Architects’. Another organisation which has top class project management skills is ESB Networks. The guys at ESB Networks made the point in a recent lecture, that the business model had to change radically a decade ago, in order to allow financial means to flow into ESB Networks. It had to de-link itself from the parent organisation to a certain extent. But the unfortunate thing was, this never happened in telecommunications. So the investment could never flow into that area in Ireland, as it did with our power grid infrastructure.

Brian O’ Hanlon

Future for Irish Architects..

Apathy at the RIAI

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