Platform. The everyday portal for sharing knowledge and intelligence on sustainability across Greater Manchester.

BDP Office Manchester

Tell Us Manchester!

The BDP office itself houses professionals from various backgrounds including architects, sustainability consultants, acousticians and structural engineers.

The zero-carbon building, with its impressive use of natural light, minimalistic design and effective acoustics is a pleasure on every sense and reflects the interdisciplinary team that works within the urbanistic structure.

Gavin Elliott, the director of BDP, opened the proceedings with a talk on the conception of MACF in 2010. He used the French Revolution as an analogy to depict the bottom up, grass root activism approach the organisation has gone through to bring about environmentally integrated change to industry and the public.


Clean Up Salford – Luke Blazejewski

A presentation that truly depicted this grass roots activism approach was by Luke Blazejewski, who has spent the last two years organising a project to ‘Clean Up Salford’. His project originally focused on litter clean-up and was inspired by the level of environmental deterioration he had witnessed when out photographing nature.

Since the project’s inception, Blazejewski aims to reconnect people with the environment and instil a psychological change within the public mind-set whereby we as a society take responsibility for our waste. He hopes that through giving nature some form of intrinsic value this paradigm shift may be achieved.


Northwards Housing Behaviour Change Project – Nailia Ilyas

For sustainable development to be achieved, consumer behaviour must change significantly. This project aims to drive behavioural changes in domestic energy and water consumption with the hope that a combined reduction in usage will see significant savings to customer’s bills and resources.

The organisation takes a community approach, visiting houses and hosting wastage awareness events. They provide tailor-made, face to face advice involving energy efficiency measures and behavioural alterations with an emphasis on the benefits in mitigating climate change. Nailia Ilyas states that ‘every behaviour change has a carbon reduction value attached to it’.

The challenges of this project have involved gaining trust from customers who are likely to seek advice from a more familiar retailer, although they hope the significant observed savings will encourage further adoption from the public.


Dimmer – Steve Pimlott

Taking the lead in energy efficiency research on a larger scale, the Dashboard project aims to record heat and electricity demand from ten major buildings within Manchester, including the University of Manchester campus. The data is then analysed against daily weather parameters to determine links and opportunities for energy efficiency improvements on a virtual ‘dashboard’.

Preliminary results suggest that there is a trend between daily temperatures and energy demand, although there is some doubt as to which energy efficiency improvements should be implemented and also how the chosen improvements should be implemented.

There is significant potential with this project to develop on an even larger scale, between cities or regions perhaps, where trade-offs between heat and electricity may be exchanged. As of yet, the data is unavailable, though it will be interesting to see how it will be used for positive changes to Manchester’s energy infrastructure.


Libralato – Dan Aris

The most technological approach of all the projects presents a 40% efficient hybrid engine design that runs on pure electricity when inside an urban area and reverts back to conventional fuel when out in the countryside.

The obvious benefits include reduced inner city air & noise pollution including reductions to CO2 emissions but customers can also expect a 50% reduction in cost due to increased efficiency. Despite this, some argue that only 1-5% of car owners use electric vehicles and that the overall benefits will be negligible.

Despite this, Libralato has received £250,000 worth of investments to date and is aspiring to manufacture 20,000 engines per annum by 2017. Dan Aris also suggests that with the success of the engine, Manchester could see an injection of hundreds to thousands of new jobs.


BBC’s Carbon Calculator – Richard Smith

The sustainability debate, according to Richard Smith, is already well established within industry. Companies recognise the opportunity to increase their efficiency and success by employing sustainable practices.

The BBC has invested in carbon literacy training within their media departments through employee training days and generating awareness of sustainability through the supply chain. Smith also discusses the importance of a sustainable change in TV production, whereby companies provide the carbon calculator, Albert, with energy measurements from production offices, editing suites etc. Albert in return produces simple charts outlining each programme’s carbon footprint, a comparison on production methods as well as a benchmark against all other UK users.

This final output is a world first and provides the competitive edge necessary to incentivise companies into adopting Albert. Smith points out that difficulties lie in providing training for a global employee network at the same rate, though there is an opportunity for partnerships to be formed such as the ITV – BBC sustainability partnership that will likely rise through the Media City complex.


Living Streets Transition Period – Michael Carpenter

A project designed to encourage more secondary school children to walk to school rather than opt for public transport was carried out by Living Streets in Manchester. They identified that 25% less children walk to school at secondary school level compared to primary level.

Children prefer to walk to school alone at secondary level because of convenience and social opportunities as well as seeking a feeling of independence, however issues of safety and street pollution discourage this trend.

In order to reverse this decline, Living Streets approached five schools with a 2-8 week walking challenge as part of a pilot scheme. The challenge involved pupils using the smartphone app Ground Miles to record their steps and compete between houses to be deemed the furthest travelled in order to win prizes.


St Johns Sunshine Project – Pete Abel

This local project involves the installation of solar voltaic panels on the roof of St John the Evangelist Church in Old Trafford in order to generate renewable electricity for the St John’s Centre nearby. It is a project that hopes to bring together the church, local community and renewable energy generation.

18 panels were installed in February 2012, generating over 3000kWh of electricity with a second array installed in late 2012. The surplus energy generated is supplied back into the national grid through the governments Feed-In Tariff providing additional funding for community projects such as The Garden Project and Old Trafford Amateur Gardeners Society.

Phase 2 installation requires further funding to increase total production to 10kW and needs to be implemented before March 2015, otherwise planning permission will need to be obtained again. This project isn’t simply about renewable energy; it incorporates truly sustainable living through reducing environmental impact, bringing communities together in a holistic and cooperative manner.


Cycle Waggle Ltd. – Pavol Gajdos

Cycle Waggle is a bike hire service set up by Pavol Gajdos in July 2013. He hoped that delivering bikes to customers for short or long-term rentals would be a unique way to encourage the use of inner city bicycle transportation, thereby improving local air quality and reducing impact on climate change.

The distinctive feature about this service is that the bikes are delivered via bike. The London Barclay’s Bikes, for example, require vans to transport the bicycles in and out of the city centre, which seems counter intuitive. The business has started off small with only Pavol and the help of some friends.

To date, the company has gained a large customer base from families wanting a weekend bike ride to office city centre workers looking for an alternative method of commuting and tourists looking to explore Manchester.

Bikes may be rented for as little as £1 from their website.