Last week I went back to visit Trinity College Cambridge, but this time with fellow Network members The Charterhouse. The idea of the trip was to see progress made on their New Court project (see previous blog in June), but mainly to facilitate the link between the two organisations so they can start sharing and learning.
Although on the surface the two organisations don’t seem to have a lot in common (one is a college for students, the other is an almshouse for elderly gentlemen) having visited both places I was struck with the similarities between the two projects; both are undergoing big refurbishment projects of their accommodation, finding ways to make them more energy efficient at the same time. Both are thinking about small-scale renewables, and last but not least, both visits culminated in lunch in their ‘Great Halls’. This last commonality is perhaps the most important, as it made me think that perhaps the cultures might be the same. Same culture means similar decision-making processes, people and hopefully from the point of view of the practitioners – ways of getting round them! Interestingly, both Charterhouse and Trinity had built mock-ups at the beginning of their projects to illustrate to others what it would look like in the end to achieve buy-in.
The New Court itself was a hive of activity compared to my last visit in June (work was just about to begin), with 150 people now on site. All the rooms have been stripped out and they are methodically renovating the New Court one stairwell at a time. Going through the site, it was great to see so many monitors and probes in the walls; the impact on the fabric of the building is being measured throughout and will continue to be measured for another 10 years. This way, any irregularities can be quickly spotted and rectified and the valuable research can be disseminated and shared with the Fit for the Future Network (and others of course)!