1 March 2019
Spotlight on Member, Carl Cappuccini MCABE CEnv, Senior Consultant, Bespoke Building Services
How did you become involved in the construction industry?
Following an apprenticeship scheme with a company called GreenFish, I started out as an energy assessor carrying out energy performance certificates on houses and commercial buildings. This has since snowballed into more technical design and consultancy involved in commercial and residential buildings.
How long have been in your current role?
What does your role entail?
Every day is different. One day I might be carrying out an EPC for a client’s office, the following day a thermal comfort evaluation on a block of flats. It could be a daylighting assessment for a new development or a full energy prediction for operational use. The job is hugely varied, but what is key is to engage clients as early as possible in the design process.
What is your definition of ‘best’ when it comes to buildings?
Generally speaking it would be a project that would fulfill as many sustainable principals as possible whilst still functioning as intended by an end-user. There is no point making a thermally efficient building if it doesn’t work inside for the occupant. Ultimately, it’s about adapting sustainability principals to fit around the convenience of a building.
What about cost?
The key impact is always cost, but it’s often the case that the majority of the sustainable practices that are implemented, as a side effect, will be cheaper. The biggest challenge for the industry is breaking down this barrier: over the long term sustainability is proven to be financially attractive. Of course, when it comes to electricity, we do need to simply use less through insulation measures and by sourcing energy efficient equipment.
Any recent project highlights?
We carried out a full sustainability design for a small office development and demonstrated that it could be zero carbon in use. This was through a ground source heat pump and a photovoltaic array. We negated the need for any cooling with a passive ventilation strategy, shading measures and nighttime ventilation. Heating demand was heavily reduced through triple glazing whilst a significant proportion of the building’s electricity requirements was from renewable energy generation. We are hoping that our predictions are true within a year as this development will have been running for two years.
What excites you in the world of sustainability?
It’s very satisfying when someone listens to me! It can have a real impact on a development rather than something that has to be done. The direction of the industry is quite exciting. In the past five years the carbon intensity of the grid has nearly halved and most of the UK’s electricity is low-carbon, which is a good thing. There is a lot of fascinating technology to do with overheating in London, particularly with high density flats and offices. A number of companies have developed interesting solutions to reduce the urban heat island effect.
What developments in the industry will help with the testing process?
There is new guidance and new regulation all the time. We have just had new guidance for London with regards to the update of the GLC energy strategy. This will cause a heavy shift in the industry from combustible plant towards electrical generation of heating and as little cooling as possible.
Why did you join CABE?
A former colleague initially put me in touch with CABE. At the time I was looking into a few associations and just felt on balance that CABE was a good fit to help progress my professional career and gain some professional recognition for my competence. The Association has a good range of disciplines and was also looking to further expand the diversity within the organisation.
I achieved my Chartered Membership with CABE, and have recently, through the CABE, achieved my Chartered Environmentalist qualification for the Society for the Environment.
How important is the younger generation to CABE membership?
The younger generation is incredibly important, particularly from my sustainability point of view. The point of sustainability is not necessarily about reducing carbon emissions or putting plants on top of buildings. It’s about longevity and maintaining standards and performance. This can only be done by getting in early at ground level and encouraging younger people into an industry like ours. It’s also about acquiring proper mentoring and guidance so that the knowledge and experience can be passed down.
What do you see as the main benefits of joining CABE?
CPD is always valuable and useful. The gravitas of having a chartered organisation behind you aids and instills confidence in both clients and colleagues. Everyone at CABE has been incredibly helpful. You also have a stronger voice as a group than on your own. The revision to Building Regulations Part B is a good example with CABE having far greater impact as a united voice.
What are your future ambitions?
I have found an industry I like so I am keen to keep progressing. I have no plans to move. New standards such as the WELL Building Standard and other environmental assessment methods such as BREEAM are interesting and clearly a route to healthy, sustainable buildings. It’s an important time to embrace emerging technology trends and I’d also like to get more involved with CABE by taking part in panel discussions and mentoring.
FInd out more on becoming a Chartered Environmentalist