Opinion Former Article

CIOB recognises the power of footfall

An interactive paving slab that generates energy from footfall has won first place in a green innovations competition run by the Modern Built Environment Knowledge Transfer Network (MBEKTN), along with partners the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN) and the Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network (CIKTN).

Following a successful competition seeking entries for near to market or new to market technologies to address carbon reduction challenge was showcased in the Innovation Future Zone at Ecobuild 2010. The technologies ranged from energy harvesting paving slabs, home energy servers through to paper concrete construction blocks and waterless radiators.

Visitors to Ecobuild were asked to vote on which of the innovations they felt would have the biggest potential impact. These votes were combined with those voting online with the winning innovation announced on the final afternoon.

Chris Blythe, CIOB Chief Executive commented; "The CIOB have always focused upon seeking and promoting innovation and research of international excellence, shaping national research agendas and policies, and actively addressing public and professional needs.

"Construction is a very diverse sector and there is not one single way in which innovation occurs. Innovation is a key driver of competitive advantage for the sector and of society's need for an efficient and sustainable sector. The CIOB aims to stimulate greater private and public investment to support innovation and assist effective transfer and exploitation of existing knowledge."

The intelligent technology designed by Pavegen Systems Ltd is a bold step towards achieving energy and cost savings in busy urban environments.

It works by converting the kinetic energy from people's footsteps into electrical energy which is stored in a battery within the paving slab. A rubber panel on the top of the slab flexes with each footstep and the force generated is used to power an energy mechanism within.

The energy produced can provide power for lighting, signage and information displays without the need to wire these electrical items into the national grid. Five hours of constant footfall would be enough to power the lighting of a bus stop all night.

The slab glows when stepped on, providing educational as well as environmental benefits by demonstrating how people can help save energy without even realising it. Installation costs are minimal as the slabs are the same size as standard paving and can be retrofitted in traditional concrete.



The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) represents for the public benefit the most diverse set of professionals in the construction industry.

Our Mission

To contribute to the creation of a modern, progressive, and responsible construction industry; able to meet the economic, environmental and social challenges faced in the 21st century.

Our 7 Guiding Principles

· Creating extraordinary people through professional learning and continuous personal development.
· Promoting the built environment as central to the quality of life for everyone everywhere.
· Achieving a sustainable future, worldwide.
· Advocating exemplary ethical practice and behaviour, integrity and transparency.
· Pursuing excellence in management practice, and technological innovation rooted in evidence based science.
· Being socially responsible and working responsibly.
· Enabling our members to find an emotional resonance with the Institute; their success is our success.

We have over 45,000 members around the world and are considered to be the international voice of the building professional, representing an unequalled body of knowledge concerning the management of the total building process.

Chartered Member status is recognised internationally as the mark of a true, skilled professional in the construction industry and CIOB members have a common commitment to achieving and maintaining the highest possible standards within the built environment.

Further information is available by contacting Saul Townsend CIOB Press and Communications Manager on t: 01344 630 766 or e: stownsend@ciob.org.uk.

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