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Cleantech, innovation

Clean energy


Iconic? or Missed Opportunity?

The master likes his shopping. So in tune is he with fashion that he will drive hundreds of miles, or endure endless hours on trains, or flights halfway across the globe just to get to the latest craze, be it a fashion show or otherwise.  It doesn’t always go to plan, and many  times he’s wished he hadn’t bothered. But while he’s not yet the fashionista he would like to be,  he is someone with an eye for spotting where improvements would enhance the state of something in some measurable way. A visionary innovator, who has not only technical skills (can make physical things), but also writes quite well.

So, it was funny watching him scoff at the Bullring after reading something that had a page on renewable energy use by the complex

For those of you who are unaware, the Bullring is a popular shopping complex in the heart of Birmingham. The new complex is a £500 million structure that was opened in September 2003 and by 2004, it was the busiest shopping complex in the UK, having served over 36 million customers in that year alone.  By almost every standard, it looks important, has been described as iconic, won numerous prestigious awards (here, here, here, here and here), the whole story.

However, the master is not impressed. He thinks that the designers (whether intentionally or not) may have “aimed too low”; That while he was unable to find the utilities bills of the complex, he reckons they spend a fortune on gas, electricity and water (imagine all those lights,electrical equipment, water taps, toilets being flushed every single day, gas to supply all those restaurants, etc) each year. He thinks the cost of utilities is unjustifiable in this day and age, when there is readily available technology which could have significantly reduced such costs.

For example, the designers could have  taken advantage of ecofriendly and green technology (i.e. like these: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] ) to give a Bullring with circular solar panels instead of large rounded buttons whose purpose was merely aesthetic? They could have had waste and water recycling technology installed and possibly geothermal energy heating. A couple of wind trubines would also have  added to the flavour – – if the windy ,almost boisterous conditions he found when he visited recently is anything to go by.

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