Energy activist congratulated for CIBSE Gold medal

Energy activist Phil Jones has been awarded CIBSE’s highest honour. He is just the 42nd person to receive the Institution’s Gold Medal in 110 years and described himself as “humbled, honoured and thrilled by this fantastic recognition”. 

In his acceptance speech, Mr Jones said that CIBSE members were the real and original “climate activists” adding that he had never felt the urge to glue himself to a boiler to bring about change. “Activism can be positive and practical”, he said. 

“Ever since I measured the first large condensing boiler in the UK in the early 80s I have been a climate activist, although it was just called ‘energy efficiency’ back then.” 

He has worked in the building services sector for more than 40 years and has produced over 100 publications, visited at least 1,000 plant rooms and trained over 10,000 people. However, he said there was still a tremendous amount of work to be done to improve building performance and urged both CIBSE and BESA to concentrate on producing more technical standards, codes of practice and compliance guides. 

“We need to go further than guidance. We need to be saying: ‘You shall’ rather than ‘you might’,” said Mr Jones. “Two editions of CIBSE Guide F helped changed the sector and TM39 brought energy metering into buildings. All of which has been driving towards energy efficient, low carbon buildings. 

Responsibility 

“We have made progress, just not enough. We need to go faster, deeper, better, to meet the huge responsibility we have in designing and operating the future low carbon built environment.” 

A founder member of the BESA Heat Interface Unit (HIU) test standard committee, he is currently helping the Association update the Standard, with a new version due for publication later this year. 

“Phil has played a crucial role in the development of a test that has proved critical to the improvement of HIU performance across UK heat networks,” said BESA chief executive David Frise.

“This is extremely valuable, underpinning technical work that is already delivering real results by helping to decarbonise heat and bring the net zero vision closer to reality.” 

Jones’s work on the Code of Practice for Heat Networks (CP1) has been widely praised as an exemplar for how an industry can raise its technical and compliance standards. It also provides the compliance tools needed to underpin a forthcoming regulatory framework for heat networks. 

“Most buildings are still fairly poor products,” said Mr Jones. “Sometimes we even have to send them back to the supplier. This is not just about poor energy efficiency but also unacceptable levels of comfort, indoor air quality, maintenance, and so on. 

“We must do better, but at least we now know how to develop the tools we need to drive that improvement. I would like to thank CIBSE for its support and the many people I have worked with over the years.” 

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