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Ben Onyido

Name: Onyido Tochukwu Ben C

Research Title: Capacity Development in Companies that Provide Sustainable Energy Solutions for Buildings: Maintaining the Values of an Environmental Business

Name of Director of Studies: Professor David Boyd

Key Contact Details - Email: ben.onyido@bcu.ac.uk

About the Project: The research investigates how companies that commercially provide sustainable energy products (e.g. renewable energy technologies and insulation materials) and services (e.g. consultancy, sustainable building design) for buildings do so in a manner that addresses existing problems associated with energy use in buildings without creating new environmental and social problems.

Research Activities: The research is qualitative and based on grounded theory. It involves the use of participant observation, interviews and scenario planning sessions to collect data, and the use of coding to analyse the collected data. A pragmatist epistemology and pragmatic realist ontology were also employed.

Findings: The research identifies five ‘environmental business values’ necessary for the companies to develop their capacity to address existing problems without creating new environmental and social ones. These are:

  • supply chain localisation
  • skills reorientation
  • a ‘whole-house’ approach towards implementing sustainable energy solutions in buildings
  • a preference for whole-life costing over financial ‘quick wins’
  • extensive engagement with and inclusion of building occupants in the capacity development process

The findings also indicate that the companies perceive these values to have both beneficial and detrimental (in an economic and operations sense) effects on their business capacity. Further findings are currently being discovered.

Achievements: The following publications have been released so far:

  • Onyido, B. & Boyd, D. (2012); Developing Retrofit Capacity For Environmental Businesses; Retrofit 2012 Conference Paper; University Of Salford, Lowry Theatre, Salford, UK; 24th-26th January 2012
  • Onyido T., Laughlin, P., Davies, P., Dockerill, P., Lansdell, S. (2012); 'Green Deal And Eco: Supply Chain And Skills Development'; Sustainable Housing Action Partnership Report

Attended the Retrofit conference at University of Salford in 2012. Also attended Birmingham City University’s 2011 and 2012 RESCON conferences, as well as the TEE Faculty conference in 2012 and 2013, and I’ve made presentations in and submitted posters for these events.

In terms of the research’s potential impact, it could contribute to knowledge about how environmentally and socially responsible practices can be incorporated better into the operational and capacity development processes of sustainable energy solution providers, as well as other commercial organisations within and outside the building sector.

Affiliations: Sustainable Housing Action Partnership (SHAP), Midlands Environmental Business Council (MEBC)