A graduate from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is teaching the next generation of Russians about the importance of sustainable construction.
Guy Eames, who attained his MSc in Climate Change and Sustainable Development at DMU in 2009, has been instrumental in driving environmental and social change in Russia since he graduated, having been appointed Chair of the then newly-formed Russian Green Building Council (RUGBC) in 2009.
Most recently he has helped launch a new qualification in six Russian universities, the BREAAM AG (Approved Graduate) accreditation, which provides engineering and architecture students with a practical guide to sustainable construction.
The BRE (Building Research Establishment) Academy is the world’s leading provider of build environment training and education. BREEAM is the internationally recognised sustainability assessment method for master-planning projects and certifying the sustainability of buildings.
“Prior to launching BREEAM AG, Russian university students had little or no knowledge of green building methods,” explained Guy. “This accreditation provides them with the skills they need to deliver sustainable construction projects.”
The RUGBC, of which Guy is still Chair today, strives to accelerate sustainable construction in Russia through raising awareness, introducing standards and growing a community of interests in green build.
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“I first went to Russia in the 1990s and it was then that I realised they were so far behind with addressing the climate crisis,” Guy continued. “When I decided to study for my MSc I really felt like I had to do something about it.”
As the lead higher education institute in the United Nation’s ‘Together’ campaign, DMU is committed to supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. DMU encourages students, alumni and partners in universities and organisations around the world to address these 17 goals through pioneering research, community work and academic excellence.
“I wrote my thesis on energy efficiency in Russia and I remember trying to find examples of policy and statistics but there were none,” continued Guy. “I interviewed people from huge organisations, including the World Bank, and they themselves were trying to measure their carbon footprint but not having much luck.
“10 years ago people in Russia laughed at the idea of a Green Building Council - nobody was concerned about sustainability back then.”
Over the last decade, thanks to the work done by Guy and the RUGBC, there are now hundreds of completed ‘green’ buildings or projects under construction in Russia.
“It has been a tough road, especially with the tense political atmosphere between Russia and the UK, however what we do is completely non-political,” said Guy. “We all live on one planet so the issue of sustainability should never be political.”
As well as chairing the RUGBC, Guy also now runs his own UK-based environmental consultancy, focusing on projects in Eastern Europe.
Reflecting on his career and time at DMU, Guy added: “Studying my Master’s degree changed my life. When I started the course it felt like I was like putting on a pair of glasses and seeing the world in a different way, it changed my whole outlook.
“I’m very grateful to the university for enabling me to pursue a career that has helped me make such a difference to our planet.”
Posted on Wednesday 20th March 2019