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Russell Jones explores some of the issues from a truly memorable year

I wrote a Hub article at the start of this strange year (13th January) where I tried to predict 20 things about 2020 and, whilst I have to say I was pretty spot on with a lot of the issues, I completely missed the topic that has rightly dominated every conversation this year – COVID-19 – but then no-one saw that coming!

We developed The Hub to offer industry insights, expert opinion, and general food-for-thought from both independent contributors and our own brilliant people and I’ve looked back through the 139 articles to pick the ones that I suggest are worth revisiting.

I hope you enjoy them and they do help inform and advise.

TV presenter and architect, George Clarke, will be joining us again in the New Year

Russell Jones Russell Jones Content and communications manager

Health and well-being

As soon as it became obvious that the global pandemic was changing the way we did everything, we decided to focus very much on people’s wellbeing and there have been a lot of Hub articles looking at mental health and more broadly, looking for ways to support issues that can sometimes get overlooked.

That’s why we were very active in supporting the issue of mental health during Mental Health Awareness Week with several articles from colleagues trained as mental health first-aiders, and general advice on how to cope with lockdown and working from home.

We also covered the things we miss about being in the office, how important it is to keep your video on during conference calls, and even how your pets will miss you as you look to return to ‘normal’ working.

And more recently, we’ve tried to focus on one of the biggest issues affecting older women that often gets overlooked or worse, passed off with a joke – the menopause. Yet half the population face going through it alone and everyone will have a mother, gran, aunt, sister or friend, who is suffering in silence.

Air quality

The other thing we have been trying to discuss all year is air quality, and if you’ve seen the recent news coverage of the inquest into the tragic death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah (who became the first person to have air pollution officially listed as a cause of death), you can see why it is so important.

We’ve been working with the British Lung Foundation to discuss the importance of good IAQ (indoor air quality), and we were delighted to support Clean Air Day as we realise how overlooked this topic has been.

We’ve covered this several times with different contributors and it is definitely something we will revisit in the New Year, especially as we are working with the British Lung Foundation and industry bodies to see what can be done to improve things. 


If you read anything on The Hub over the years, you will know that we are always looking for ways to raise awareness about how we can all minimise our impact on the environment, and this year has been no exception.

Whether it was focusing on the harmful effect of disposable PPE on the environment, or the growing mountain of toxic electronic waste that is causing real concern, we’ve tried to cover the important issues.

We’ve also tried to look at the bigger picture with a great article on 5 changing views of earth from space, and brought things more to down to earth with a look at why all this hand washing could be bad for the environment. 

The good news though, is that there are things we can all do and we all have an important role to play.

Zero Carbon

I’m not going to make much in the way of predictions for next year, given how 2020 panned out, but I think we can be confident that Zero Carbon is going to be a main focus for everyone.

We covered what corporations should be looking at in an article looking at decarbonisation, and this was also the topic when we focused on commercial heating systems.

Our independent contributors also played their part with articles focusing on the growth of renewable technologies and a look at what low carbon technologies we can all use at home.


At our heart though, The Hub is all about the building services industry and the expert engineers who keep us warm or cool, throughout the year, regardless of the size, shape or use of the building we are in.

There was a big focus on refrigerants as the industry grasps the implications of the F-Gas Phasedown and we also looked at the changing nature of training during the pandemic.

And, as the world seeks hope with the news of vaccines, we also looked at how important temperature control is going to be in getting this rolled out to everyone.

A change of focus

In the past 3 years, The Hub has grown and developed and we are constantly looking for new things to focus on, so this year, we have seen a number of articles focusing on modular construction in different sectors, and why wet trades are no longer a viable proposition.

We’ve also looked at facilities management and the importance of maintenance regimes, as well as looking at how you can help your building services get through the winter.

And of course we’ve had a big focus on renewable heating with articles focusing on fuel poverty and others from our heat pump ambassador, TV presenter and architect, George Clarke, who we are delighted to report will be joining us again in the New Year for another series of forthright articles on the need to sort out sustainable, beautifully designed, housing for the country.

George is also part of one of the heart-warming stories we covered this month with the installation of renewable heating into a Newcastle homeless centre.

We hope that you’ve found value in the articles we have posted throughout the year and you can rest assured that we have more great contributors and topics planned for the next year.

In the meantime, we hope you are all keeping safe and enjoying the remains of the festive season.

Until next year!

Russell Jones is content and communications manager