Only by sharing our experiences can we hope to improve as an industry. Only by sharing our successes and our failures, will we progress as individuals. Here we present a (subjective and probably incomplete) list of some of the most innovative engineers, scientists, architects and developers working today in Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
These practitioners are doing great work, and they are sharing their learning. This is why we think they are well worth following.
Alex Baines/Saint Gobain
Alex has been a leader in the business of Passivhaus and sustainability for over a decade. As a consultant he has delivered numerous innovative schemes, including his own earth-bermed Passivhaus, whilst also contributing to improving regulations, and broadcasting his learning at events and via social media.
Most recently Alex has moved to major manufacturer Saint Gobain where he leads on building physics and sustainability.
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Ron Bakker/PLP Architecture
Ron is a co-founder of PLP architecture and is a leading designer in the world of sustainable buildings. Ron was lead designer for The Edge, worlds most sustainable office building and named by Bloomberg the worlds smartest building. Ron was also part of the Timber Highrise research group in collaboration with Cambridge University ‘s Department of Architecture in which they designed a 300m tall timber framed high-rise building named Oakwood Timber Tower. This Timber building was designed to meet the fire regulations equal to Concrete and Steel.
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Formerly of leading architects Architype, Elrond puts Passivhaus into plain English in his blog, making it a valuable resource for many. He regularly issues project news and opinion on social media.
His UK project work included landmark scheme Agar Grove and now, repatriated back in New Zealand, his firm VIA architecture is at work on a range of passivhaus projects across the country.
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Hannah Jones & Toby Cambray/Greengage Building Energy Consultants
This building engineer and physicist couple run GGBEC. GGBEC provided the M&E design for the Stirling Prize winning Passivhaus Goldsmiths Street. Does that make them a Passivhaus power couple? Or perhaps you could say they have reached a ‘comfortable stage’?
GGBEC regularly tweet and blog their valued insights into building science.
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An MEP engineer by trade, Alan has been involved with many of the ‘headline’ Passivhaus buildings in the UK. Together with Nick Grant, he has been quietly demonstrating how to build some of the most efficient & elegant buildings in the last decade. Alan is the only person to be able to succinctly describe the ‘PER’ calculation method. This alone earns him ninja status in certain circles.
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As our lives become more urbanised, our buildings more heavily glazed and the climate warms, summer overheating risks are increasing. Susie is leading research into summer comfort. She is pushing for greater accessibility to sensible & sustainable solutions, with further reach than many major consultancies. As a three-time judge for the CIBSE performance Awards, and an author of industry guidance on predicting overheating risk, Susie is a trusted voice in genuine good design.
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Sally Godber/Warm low energy building practice
Also a contributor to Goldsmith’s street, Sally runs Warm, a consultancy that has consistently punches above its weight, including at the CIBSE Building performance awards; the credible benchmark for genuinely sustainable buildings in the UK. As one of a handful of Passivhaus certifiers in the UK, Warm are central to pushing the industry forward. All of this happens from Warm’s unassuming (yet highly airtight) HQ in Plymouth.
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As CIBSE technical manager Julie is a strong advocate for better buildings. She has authored CIBSE TM40; major new guidance on Health and Wellbeing, and comments thoughtfully on regulation.
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Nick Grant/Elemental solutions
Nick’s credentials in efficient building are as tall as he is long on witty anecdotes. From living off-grid at CAT in Wales in the 1970s/80s, to building his own super-insulated home, pioneering water efficiency with AECB, and as Technical director at the UK Passivhaus Trust, Nick has consistently innovated and shared his learning. All the while he has been delivering highly innovative schemes, including the ‘world’s most airtight building’ at IWM archives.
Nick is one of the industry’s most acute communicators- tune in for disarmingly simple yet insightful advice, often illustrated with a witty epigram.
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As a leading airtightness tester, Paul has many fans. If you ask anyone who knows their salt who has the most experience delivering super-airtight buildings in the UK, Paul’s name will soon come up. Paul is working on the most airtight buildings in the UK, and he’s sharing his learning as he goes along.
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Kit is a chemical engineer by trade, but he’s more of an alchemist when it comes to low carbon buildings. As we set out in our profile previously, Kit has a progressive and informed view on how to solve the built environment’s most pressing issues. And he’s putting those ideas into practice daily.
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Joseph Little/Dublin School of Architecture
Formerly a practice lead, now Assistant head at at Dublin School of Architecture, Joseph has a specialism in building performance, especially moisture. He’s the programme chair of the MSc in Building Performance (Energy Efficiency in Design). Joseph brings light and warmth to the dingiest corners of modern construction. On these damp isles of Ireland and Britain, we need more clear thinking communicators such as Joseph.
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Tomas built the first Passivhaus in Ireland, his own home, and has been living and breathing PH ever since. As PH goes truly global, and as the projects scale-up, Tomas is one of the most experienced certifiers for large scale schemes. Ever forward-thinking, Tomas sees the pressing need for good training. He is delivering this with MosArt.
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Ray Mc Nally/Ensen
Architect & lecturer in Ireland. Ray is building his own projects at the moment. He relishes the challenge of installing renewable heating and deep energy retrofit of older buildings, which requires a considered approach.
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Sofie Pelsmakers/Tampere University Finland
Sofie is an assistant professor of architecture. She focusses on connecting environmental research with real-life building practice. She is author if the Environmental Design Pocketbook and founder of Architecture for Change not-for-profit. She regularly blogs and tweets.
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James Traynor/ECD Architects
James heads up ECD. His team have worked on some of the leading EnerPhit renovations in the UK. Therefore he is well placed to understand the monumental task we have ahead of us to 2050. We profiled a case study of his in a previous blog.
He has captured his unique experience in a recent book; EnerPHit: A Step by Step Guide to Low Energy Retrofit.
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Did we miss anyone?
Did we miss anyone? We want to know who you are paying attention to. Leave a comment below.
Learning from these people is certainly a great way to stay up to date and continue learning. If you want to learn more about airtight and windproof building envelope products, subscribe to one of CPD’s in the UK & Ireland now.