Monday, 8 March 2010

ecobuild - london

Last week a group of keen and excited IED students jumped on a train to the big smoke aka London town. For some of us, this was our first time down to London, for others it was just another adventure there. For us all it was going to be an insight into the big wide world of everything environmental and sustainable

We are currently in the middle of a sustainable design project so for many of us this was the perfect opportunity for us to make the most of the thousands of exhibitors that we were going to meet. Personally I was quite excited about this overload of information, but also a little apprehensive. I felt that these ‘big important business men’ wouldn’t be interested in talking to or selling their products to us ‘nosey, scrounging students’, but I found myself to be very wrong. While going up and down all the aisles, I noticed so many of the exhibitor’s eyes brightening up to see a young and fresh face interested in their product. They automatically came strolling over (power suit was an essential, filofax optional!) to speak to us. They were so keen to tell us all about their product, project, material, tile, stretchy wall or recycled tin can. I found it really interesting and revitalising that they didn’t chat in a language only they would understand but explained everything in common terms and were more than happy to fill our bags with samples and leaflets and answer some of the silliest questions I think I have ever asked. Many of the exhibitors’s expressed their interest in us, explaining that the current generation of builders, architects, designers or project managers aren’t interested in sustainability like we are. Many said that reckon they all already have their ideas and thoughts and are stuck in their ways, so they believe that we are the generation that can change this idea and way of thinking.

As the time moved close to going to ecobuild and during our sustainable project so far I have felt myself having the idea of, I was never really going to have any impact on how peoples views of sustainable building can be changed and needs to and so why bother? These exhibitors could obviously see something different in us, something that the current designers etc don’t have. I feel this is going to be something to our great advantage, we will be the ones coming into a business with this fountain of knowledge and excitement of sustainability and how we can actually make a difference. If we all make an effort together, it is actually possible. I found it really refreshing to be reminded that there is actually a purpose in putting in the effort to the sustainable side of a design and even more important now that I can see that there is actually a positive future in it. The world is becoming more and more aware of the need for this, but it isn’t happening fast enough. It is up to people like us to realise this and start taking it into consideration in our designs, still making them exciting and interesting so that people will catch onto this idea so we can make a difference

So yes, attending ecobuild did fill me with way to much information about solar panels and water reclaim systems and how you can make a rather nice house from old container cabins, but it also filled me with an excitement about sustainability and how we can and will actually have an impact on our future, and for once we weren’t just viewed as students trying to get what they could for free, but as something positive, someone who excited others.

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