Who are the ‘Green Engineers’?

That is the Question.

Two days of green engineering and i thought i would be ready to go back to my Neanderthal ways, being a cynic, unless its proven in my mind (in my few years on the planet i have seen  a lot trends promoted and used for ill gain, so its always good to question and not just accept because ‘billy big bollocks ‘ says so) then its hot air blather which is no use for beast or man.

But i can so see the logic in proceeding down this route, not the sandals and sack cloth,but the high and low tech solutions to everyday needs, in particular, waste.
As in not wasting resources moving products around the planet, saving and reusing local resources first before going further a field. Lastly, efficient buildings whose creation is mainly due to the landscape, not the other way round. 

The idea that LA’s are ‘engineers’ from our lesson on SUDS was an inspiration. I knew a bit about swales and suds (or at least i thought i did) but never joined the dots. A really fantastic lesson. The fact that this was backed up with evidence and the interest from Governments from around the world proved even more that what we are now entering is an age of proactive green policy rather than chest beating ‘i don’t own a car and am a vegan’ macho talk.

So ‘if’ i and the rest of us make it, then we have a duty to not to be shrinking violets, otherwise the holistic big picture of building as part of the landscape will be lost amongst the desire for engineered infrastructure that engineers love so much. Forgetting the impact on the world, rather than the often the simple solutions of using what the landscape has used for millions of years. Very inspired even if we did not make it to China!

Taking green technology to the limit, The new hospital (completion 2014) in Bermuda

A lot of thinking and re-evaluating to be done.

9 thoughts on “Who are the ‘Green Engineers’?

  1. Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh … there it is again. Sometimes I could cry. It is the bane of all ‘qualified’ engineers in the UK that the use of their professional status as ‘Engineer’ can be attached to any job, without any work, merit or approval. ‘The idea that LA's are 'engineers'… well…

    A qualified ‘engineer’ does not only design from a brief, but can model – both theoretically and physically, analyse from first principles, simulate, construct, test, commission and qualify the item or product they design.
    Is an LA a SUDS engineer… yes, absolutely… as long as they can design , model theoretically and physically, analyse their design from first principles, simulate, test, commission and qualify their product as fit for purpose and safe, both to the population and the environment. If they can’t do all of these are they really engineers?


  2. HA! A canny solution to the present dearth of UK based engineers (see constant talk of skills shortages by politicians – both in govt. and in opposition- but very little action!)- add the suffix engineer to your present profession!

    Gutted that I missed the morning lecture, but very interested in green infrastructure and water management strategies vis-a-vis public placemaking… have a look at these downloads: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110118095356/http:/www.cabe.org.uk/files/grey-to-green.pdf and…. http://www.landscapeinstitute.org/PDF/Contribute/GreenInfrastructurepositionstatement13May09.pdf


  3. Hi Paul,

    Good to hear from you, obviously i am not saying LA's are engineers as i know enough about structural engineering to understand the process of calculations involved in justifying anything to be fit for purpose.
    The lecturer was explaining that SUDS is an engineering process, determining flows,quantities, cause and effects that can be measured, measured temperatures, humidity etc. And as a LA we should be getting involved in the process to make contractors understand that the landscape has many of the answers for previously over complicated solutions. For example the cooling effect of green roofs on the climate of a building, using the landscape to help natural ventilation through convection, all of which can and are being measured ,rather than the forced mechanical ways that many engineers in the construction industry have been educated to do. Its our job to show alternatives or employ people from our industry who understand and specialise in that areas, ie the lecturer who is a LA.

    The point being its better for a solution for our industry to come from a LA who understands the big picture of what is possible if the landscape/elements are used to their full potential before going down the route of using resources that are finite

    He was very evangelical about his message, and like i say i am a cynic by nature, it made me sit up and think.

    Can you send me your new email address again and i will send you a link to the recording i took of the lesson. This so up your street!


  4. Hi Grant
    Ha ha, no, It's just sad that real engineers in this country don't get the respect that they do in Germany, Italy, India, USA etc.
    It's nice that when I tell someone I'm a garden Designer they don't ask me to clean out their pond!
    I was really miffed that I didn't get to do Green Engineering as a garden designer at Greenwich. It did sound a really interesting subject!
    New email is paul@phadley.co.uk



  5. True true, not just engineers, you should try being a tradesman!
    This country is now a place for the service sector, though i have a few friends who work in the high end pattern making for formula 1 and large commercial aircraft, i can say they still follow the proud tradition of engineering and trade working together ,its just not headline as in Germany, which is a shame as we have the talent its just not high on this perceived status charts that so many middle class families are concerned about ie my child is a Doctor,Lawyer etc (though no longer Banker ,journalist for some reason).


    look for green mp3 1 and 2

    Well have a listen, i am sure en will be doing a lot more of this in the MA (assuming i get there)


  6. Ahh the days of having a Demis Roussos album under your arm.
    though i was more of the Tubular Bells/Dark side of the Moon, long hair,flairs and 'spoons'
    I had an Auntie like Abigail, that was wife no 2 for my uncle,on no 3 at present who says romance is dead!

    Have you listened to the lecture? and R4 extra? a great episode of 'Round the Horn'


  7. Hi Grant
    Great mp3 – very interesting. He was a bit disingenuous towards engineers, just calling them ‘engineers’ is like me calling a Landscape Architect a ‘Landscaper’. Anyway, how long is the unit? It might be worth seeing if it can be done as a stand-alone unit at Greenwich.


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