Action on a more circular economy starts with design: the design of products, the design of business models, the design of services, and the design of processes. We have to learn to think about lifecycles, and designers have a key role to play. Better design is one of the key aspects articulated in the EU Circular Economy Action Plan, as it can make products more durable or easier to repair, upgrade or remanufacture. The plan proposes a number of incentives to design products that can be more easily recycled or reused.
I am Professor of Zero Carbon Design at Birmingham School of Architecture, Birmingham City University, where I have established a research group called Zero Carbon Lab. I conduct multidisciplinary research in the field of zero carbon design of buildings, and lead a Masters Course on Zero Carbon Architecture and Retrofit Design.
My book 'Designing Zero Carbon Buildings Using Dynamic Simulation Methods' has been adopted as core text at several UK, US and European universities and has been used as a handbook by major international consultancies, such as Arup.
Part of my research was based on the work done to evaluate the Birmingham Zero Carbon House, a ground-breaking carbon-neutral building based on a 170-year-old redbrick Victorian house.
I have established an international conference series on Zero Carbon Buildings Today and in the Future, in order to provide a forum for exchange of knowledge, and for establishing collaboration networks and partnerships in this field. In the absence of a global plan about how to make the planet net zero emissions, this conference series address the 'how' question and makes a small but important step towards a global change in the right direction.