ECO-INNOVATIONat the heart of European policies
Although relatively new to ETV verification, BRE Global has established a firm foundation in this area, working with a number of companies that are now nearly ready to field-test their new products.
We asked John Holden of BRE Global about the company’s ETV scheme.
Q. Tell us about BRE Global and your areas of expertise
A. BRE Global is the certification arm of BRE, the UK’s leading centre of built environment expertise and research. In July 2014, we received the ETV accreditation for the ‘Energy Technologies’ and ‘Materials, Waste and Resources’ technology areas. We are fortunate to have industry-recognised expertise in a wide range of energy technologies and to be heavily involved in many aspects of materials, waste and recycling such as responsible sourcing, resource management (through our SMARTWaste scheme) and environmental profiles.
Q. What sort of ETV verifications are you working at the moment?
A. Being in the second wave of verification bodies to be accredited, we have been working hard to catch up with those that were already operating in this area. We have been closely engaged with many companies that are developing new technologies, providing them wide ranging guidance on the value and means of gaining ETV verification, and helping them to overcome the challenges they inevitably face.
We now have a number of proposers who are on the verge of starting the field trials that will be the basis for verification. These involve products such as a smart thermostat and a range of voltage optimisation and recycling technologies.
Q. What is the level of awareness and interest in ETV in your country?
A. Initially we found the level of ETV awareness in the UK to be very low. We have been working hard to get the message out, for example by presenting ETV at major exhibitions and holding joint events with other UK verification bodies, but we recognise there is still more to be done. We have recently embarked on a strategy that we have found to be a very efficient way of getting in touch with companies wanting to bring new products to market. This has involved building relationships with major product distributors and building on our existing contacts with universities.
Companies with new products will approach distributors to get them to market. However, this can be a gamble for distributors because they often cannot be certain that the product will perform as claimed. One way of getting around this is for the distributor to suggest that the company considers gaining the ETV verification and recommending they work with BRE Global to achieve this.
Q. Why do you consider ETV to be an important tool?
A. ETV can be the vital boost that a new product or technology needs to become established. In many cases it takes the influence and resources of a major organisation to transform a new idea into something that will make a difference. But the fact is that an industry or community changing idea could be born anywhere – often in a small company or the mind of an individual.
The ETV initiative can offer a priceless opportunity for innovators to receive the support needed to bring new ideas to life in an increasingly competitive market. Small companies suffer from having no reputational clout to help them convince others that their products are worth investment. Being able to gain ETV verification will help them to turn their ideas into the products and technologies that we need now and in the future.
John Holden is a Business Group Manager at BRE Global, with responsibility for its Environmental ETV scheme. John was previously Multimedia Group Director at Central Research Laboratories, formerly part of the EMI Group. While working for EMI John was a named inventor in 20 UK and international patents.