Earth Notes: On the Futurebuild Exhibition (2024)

Updated 2024-03-25 19:25 GMT.
By Damon Hart-Davis.
Brief notes from visiting Futurebuild 2024 (as a student/researcher)
Met some old friends, and less PV than usual.

Event: Futurebuild 2024

Join the cause and be a part of the most respected exhibition and conference for the built environment. Futurebuild exists for you to discover innovative solutions, inspiring ideas, share knowledge and drive sustainable construction at all levels.
  • Featuring: Various exhibitors and speakers
  • Free
  • Start date:
  • End date:
  • Location: ExCeL London
    • London Docklands
    • UK
  • Organiser:
Review summary
  • Day 1
  • Busy, with lots of heat (especially heat pumps), and natural building materials (the hemp insulation smelled like softwood carpentry), but not much solar PV.
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Published:
  • Updated:

Futurebuild 2024 ran 5rd, 6th, 7th March at London's ExCeL in the Docklands.

I popped in for a few hours on Tuesday afternoon to get the buzz.

The layout seemed effective, with speaking venues amongst the stands, rather than separated.

This event felt a little smaller than some previous, but it still took some time to orbit the entire floor and then visit all the remaining stands in the middle without getting lost!

I met up with old friends such as LightFi, and Powervault and Sunamp.

I heard wisdom such as that multi-tenant buildings (commercial and domestic) will the the hardest to decarbonise and the issues are not technical!

I saw lots of batteries, including some apparently amazingly cheap deals, and devices with ~1h charge/discharge times (cf 5h for my Enphase).

For example, the GridBuddy Combo Inverter 2.5 With Built-In Battery (2.5kW inverter with 2kWh battery, 36kg, 701x544x101mm) shown at £1920 might fill a cheeky little hole in 16WW's system. In conjunction with the Enphase (so 1kW+2.5kW) it could cover all but our very heaviest current loads, eg any one of the 3kW kettle or 2kW oven / dishwasher / washing machine. It seems perverse not even to use its DC input from PV! It would have to be made to play nicely with the Enphase and Eddi diversion, eg by having a response time just a little faster than the Eddi. It would be useful to ensure that any heat-pump load could be fully covered when making DHW and the sun briefly goes behind a cloud.

There was a roomy tiny house (possibly an oxymoron) with two upstairs bedrooms each with a double bed, £77k list price. (Though not much storage or living or cooking space as the trade-off.)

I was also intrigued by Rebarmat: composite rebar for future infrastructure, non-steel (fibreglass) rebar reinforcement bars for concrete.

~461 words.