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The future of eco-technology: An interview with Damian Tow

Eco Technology Show Director, Damian Tow, reveals his plans for this years show, while emphasising the importance of behaviour change to help adopt new technologies to ensure the success of sustainable options for the future.

How will this years Eco Technology show be different?

We have a Big Debate area for the first time which incorporates conversations around the big topics, including the benefits and opportunities arising from shifting to a lower carbon economy. This includes innovations in building and transport and how they fit within a sustainable economy and our energy future, whether its fracking, biofuel or renewables.

What do you hope show achieves this year?

The show is in it's third year and we feel that we are now firmly on the map as a South-East based event covering a wide range of sustainable options in energy, build, transport and resources efficiency.  The show is free to attend and it has moved to a weekend as a result of visitor feedback.

One of the themes of the show is future cities. What in your opinion represents the future of future cities?

My view is that the 'future city' opportunity is where the competing demands of population growth, improving the environment, making the way cities operate more sustainable and technology solutions, come together. At present, no city has yet balanced these competing demands but there are practical examples being developed in the UK and Europe. We have speakers from the Technology Strategy Board, Future Cities Catapult, Cisco and Siemens who will expand more on the subject at the show.

How much impact do you think smart meters will make on future cities and towards making sustainable choices?

My view is that the key technology components of making future cities 'smarter' is the data captured from sensors and smart meters and the software to manipulate and analyse this data in order to drive efficiency and more sustainable choices. So by having smart meters in homes and businesses, individuals will be able to make more informed choices about how they use energy and water and how much they use.

Energy Saving Trust technology expert, Geoffrey Stevens, will expand on the role of sensors and smart meters at the show in his talk on Thursday 26 June. We encourage visitors to come along to this session.

Behaviour change is a key message this year. What specifically do you think is important to consider when trying to convey this message?  

Behavior change has been practised by religions, the advertising industry and governments for hundreds of years so 'pro-sustainable' behaviour change should not try and reinvent the wheel but instead understand the tools and messages that have created our consumer society, and use these rather than images of doom and gloom.

Do you think the message is starting to get through?

The message is starting to get through but we need to consider human nature and the attraction of short- term gratification over making sustainable choices in the longer term.

How important is the role of technology in implementing behaviour change?

I would say that it is more a need for behaviour to change to adopt new technology. It is all about motivation; we need to find a way to make sustainable options and technologies compelling to use in the same way that behaviour has changed in the last few years to adopt smart phones and social media.

The show will take place on 26-27 June. To find out more, visit the Eco Technology show website where you can also hear Energy Saving Trust Technical Project Manager, Geoffrey Stevens, talk about Monitoring and the Use of Sensors and Smart Meters.      

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