Consultancy

Most of my consultancy work over the years has been on behalf of the Centre for Alternative Technology, so it is not surprising that much of it was devoted to setting up similar enterprises elsewhere.

Such work could range from simple written advice, to site visits with verbal commentary, to complete planning reports. Over the course of twenty years or so I consulted on (and usually visited) numerous projects in the UK and also in Ireland, the USA, Japan, Cyprus, Italy, Slovenia and Costa Rica.

I also carry out energy/carbon audits for organisations, seeking inconsistencies and making suggestions for improvements. Large savings on energy bills are achievable.

I also calculate carbon footprints for events and festivals, using a unique accounting system that carefully differentiates emissions from the event proper, and those from its ‘consumers’. 

I design bespoke household carbon calculators, mostly for educational purposes so that schoolchildren and students (and indeed adults on courses) can explore hypothetical ‘other selves’: “What would happen if we did x, or y?”. These calculators use a ‘consumption’ accounting basis, and pay particular attention to the 'fingerprint': the unique proportions of the various meission classes.


The long-established finance house Man Financial wanted an assessment of the implications of carbon-neutrality for its operations and entire workforce. My task was to estimate the emission patterns from four different system boundaries to show the relative sizes of emissions, and to show what was realistic and what an impractical fantasy.

In 2007 The Open University asked me to develop a personal calculator for the use of students taking a new environment unit in 2010.  After some initial drafts, it was decided to provide two calculators, ‘Quick’ for ten minutes round the kitchen table using rough estimates, and ‘Full’ using real data as far as possible, taking longer but generating a more convincing and nuanced set of results. This proved a helpful innovation. The calculators were accompanied by a comprehensive set of explanations and guidance notes, prepared by Professor Robin Roy. They were usable by students on line.

An ecocentre project in Japan asked for proposals to develop a large rural site in Hokkaido, one of the very few proposals to come from the private sector. After two site visits, an extensive report was prepared. The project was successful and still exists. The image above shows a green-roofed snack bar in the grounds.

The London Borough of Brent wanted a plan creation of an environmental demonstration centre and fun park on land around the Welsh Harp Reservoir in North London. I led a team that generated a 200-page report analysing a wide range of possibilities, delivered in 2009.

The interactive science centre Techniquest asked for an audit of its energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. After collecting the necessary data I submitted a report in 2007. Very substantial scope for reduction was identified.

Venn Diagram of background model for a consumption-based carbon calculator system commissioned for a research project at Southampton University. The overlaps and colour codes are meaningful and deliberately chosen.

The Shambala Festival, the industry leader in the 'greener festivals' movement, wanted a baseline carbon-audit for its 2007 festival. This was carried out on the basis of organisers' statistics and interviews with participants. The subsequent report applied a greater degree of methodological rigour than is customary for such clients, and established a new numeraire, the Equivalent Participant Day, that allows comparison between different festivals and different years. This set a new standard in Festival auditing that has influenced norms across the industry. Further audits were carried out to 2012, allowing the Shambala festival to credibly demonstrate year-on-year reductions. The 2012 report contains further comments on methodolgy, particularly with respect to festivals, here.

The annual Hay-on-Wye Festival also asked for a carbon audit in 2008. This is different from a ‘camping festival’ of the Glastonbury type, and it is not really possible to provide a reliable numeraire. Nevertheless an audit was successfully carried out and scope for emission reductions identified.

In 2014 a youth-orientated programme called Face Your Elkephant wanted to update a simple household carbon calculator based on one I had developed in 2004. This was undertaken and delivered in 2014, with updated statistics, and is easy to use. A version is also used in teaching practicals at the University of Bath and CAT's Graduate School of the Environment.