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CIBSE and Landscape Institute Presidents call for integration of green and grey infrastructure

CIBSE President George Adams and Landscape Institute President Sue Illman opened the 12th annual CIBSE-ASHRAE Technical Symposium on 3 April at Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, by calling for a holistic approach to buildings, urban environments and green infrastructure. A strategy is vital to the adaptation to impacts of climate change on our cities and developing them into better places to live and work.

Adams and Illman co-signed a letter to Government in February calling for an integrated engineering response to UK flooding. At the Symposium keynote address they elaborated on other looming problems such as health impacts of poor air quality, which causes as many deaths as alcohol and drug abuse, and cities overheating caused by urban heat islands which was contributory to 70,000 deaths across Europe in the 2003 heat wave.

The 12th annual CIBSE ASHRAE Technical Symposium, held at the Dublin Institute of Technology, highlighted the problem of buildings failing to perform to their design intentions, and presented new processes, technologies and best practice to tackle this issue.

Sue Illman, President of the Landscape Institute

Adams said that strategic energy improvement of the built environment and major scale urban planting have been recognised as having the ability to perform a vital role in helping cities adapt to the effects of climate change. Tree canopies, green roofs and facade systems can reduce the heat island effects in hot weather as well as improving city air quality and reducing energy consumption.

Illman flagged examplar projects, such as the Cheonggyecheon riverwalk in Seoul and the Madrid Rio, which are taking an innovative approach to developing urban biodiversity. She said: "Green infrastructure is as important as grey - we need our landscapes to work harder and deliver more."

Adams commented that adaptation strategies are needed for cities to improve building performance, reduce heat and pollution. Addressing lower carbon transport arrangements and energy supply were also identified by Adams as key factors needed to achieve sustainable cities or we will continue on the current path towards 4 degrees of climate change.

The Madrid Rio park - an example of green urban redevelopment The Madrid Rio park - an example of green urban redevelopment

The CIBSE ASHRAE Technical Symposium gives a platform to best practice and research in the build environment from around the world.

The full programme of speakers and posters is at and supporting documentation is available from

George Adams (far left) and Sue Illman George Adams (far left) and Sue Illman