Pt 2: UCL-Energy seminar: Neil May 'How to Fail in Business'





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Published on Feb 27, 2013

UCL-Energy seminar: HOW TO FAIL IN BUSINESS - EXPERIENCES OF INNOVATION, SUSTAINABILITY AND ETHICS IN THE UK CONSTRUCTION SECTOR - Neil May, Honorary Senior Research Associate, UCL. Held on Tuesday 26 February 2013 at University College London.

Neil May has been involved commercially in sustainable construction for over 20 years, first as a main contractor and then as founder and CEO of Natural Building Technologies, a company developing and supplying sustainable building shell systems in the UK, of which he is still involved.

Neil will talk about this experience and of the many barriers to sustainability which he has faced, including those of his own making, leading to an examination of the reasons why most sustainability policy and activity is failing at the present time. This talk will also reflect on the issue of unintended consequences, which Neil is undertaking as part of the CBES project, as this issue is intrinsically linked to sustainability policy failure and the study of which raises serious questions about the current nature of policy and research and the paradigms under which they are operating.

About the speaker

Neil was an anthropologist and also a documentary film maker, before becoming a building labourer in 1988 for 4 years, and then setting up his own award winning ecological and conservation building company. This company was sold in 2004.

In 1999 Neil set up Natural Building Technologies (NBT see www.natural-building.co.uk), a company that sells and develops high performance environmental building envelope systems for the mainstream construction industry in the UK. Neil is now CEO.

Neil is a Founder and Director of the Good Homes Alliance (www.goodhomes.org.uk), the UK's leading organisation of environmental developers and building professionals. He is also a Director of the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP www.asbp.org.uk) and was formerly a Director of the Passivhaus Trust (www.passivhaustrust.org.uk) as well as a member of various Government Advisory groups and an Honorary Senior Researcher of the world-leading Energy Institute at UCL. He is also a Director of Positive Money (www.positivemoney.org.uk), a campaigning organisation to change the money system in the UK and elsewhere.

In regard to refurbishment, Neil is working with NBT and UCL on a 2 year project on Internal Wall Insulation, including extensive laboratory testing, case studies and advanced modelling. Neil has recently helped form the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA) which includes English Heritage, Historic Scotland, SPAB, National Trust, CIOB, Construction Skills and others and is leading work for DECC on the technical, heritage, and cost risks of Green Deal measures on traditional solid wall buildings.


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