Can digital technologies help reduce energy usage in public buildings?

I’m back doing some work with my former colleagues at Digital Birmingham at the moment. I’m helping out on the SmartSpaces project, which is asking this very question.

Logo for the SmartSpaces EU project

SmartSpaces logo

I’ll blog about the project more as it goes along, but at the moment I’d like to encourage people to complete a brief survey that will help us to establish some baseline data.

So if you ever visit Birmingham Council House, the Museum and Art Gallery or the Margaret Street extension we have a survey that you can fill in. It genuinely, honestly only takes 10 minutes to complete and will help us to assess the impact of the project.

SmartSpaces is a three year, EU funded project?that aims to use digital technologies, including smart metering to make significant energy saving in public buildings. Previously, I’ve worked on the DEHEMS project, which attempted to do similar work in people’s homes. It’ll be interesting to see how SmartSpaces compares to that. In particular how much more or less people feel they are able to control their energy usage.

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When the Cabinet Office released its white paper on open data last month I asked this question:

So, can I FOI Service Birmingham now?

This was because, while the Open Data white paper can be viewed as a continuation of policies which develop our right to open data, we are also going through a period where the organisations which provide public services are being dispersed, often out of the public sector itself.

Door and Knocker II Another of Barcelona's ubiquitous fancy doors, though this was more interesting than ornate. Image Copyright ? 2007 Jeremiah Blatz

Whether it is privately owned health providers or social enterprises delivering local authority contracts, more and more of the organisations which hold and create the data produced in the course of public services are exempt from Freedom of Information legislation.Continue reading

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I had a wet but stimulating time at The Hay Festival last weekend, camping out with friends and attending a variety of interesting talks. Hay is a lovely town and the festival puts on events with a great range of writers, although due to the weather the number of linen suits and panama hats were way down this year.

Hay Signpost
I booked the individual event tickets for all of us and so whenever the festival had any updates or additional information I received an email from them.?Continue reading

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