ENGINEERS MUST take climate change into account when they design structures, Carbon Trust director of delivery and external relations Garry Felgate said last week.
'The profession needs to recognise that climate change is happening, is caused by manmade activities and, critically, that buildings are a major contributor to carbon emissions in the UK, ' Felgate told NCE.
He emphasised that it was the duty of the engineer to understand that different construction materials had different levels of embodied energy - that is the amount of energy needed to make it in the first place.
This, he said, directly affects how sustainable an engineered solution is.
Felgate will be speaking at the ICE's Making Energy Effi ciency Happen conference next month which will address the question of how the transport, power and building sectors can be more energy efficient.
He will also address the apparent conflict of interest among energy suppliers, 'who make money by selling more energy but must also operate under the 'Energy Efficiency Commitment' to help customers reduce energy use'.
Department for Trade & Industry energy and sustainability director Adrian Gault will be one of the speakers at the conference. He will discuss current government policy on achieving a low carbon economy.
Other sessions will discuss car manufacturer BMW's decision to explore hydrogen power and how future European Union directives will affect building regulations and energy performance certification of buildings.
Felgate is keen to emphasise that engineers should also be aware of the energy efficiency of the buildings in which they live and work.
He described a working experiment to reduce energy consumption in offices which could be replicated by engineers.
Carried out in the offices of the Carbon Trust in London, teams were scored on how energy effi cient they were. This ranged from ensuring computers and lights were turned off at the end of the day to cycling to work.
'Our energy usage reduced by 18% after just one week, without spending a penny, ' said Felgate.
l register for this conference email: conferences @ice. org. uk or call (020) 7665 2313 by 17 October. Fee payable and booking is essential. Delegates can also register online at www. iceconferences. com.