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by mel starrs on August 7, 2008

in News

What I’ve been reading about:

  • Reader’s Rant – Building Services Journal – "BREEAM is about environmental damage reduction and not about sustainable development. Yet BREEAM is increasingly interpreted within the construction sector as being a metric for sustainable development. Use of the terms ‘very good’ and ‘excellent’ have become misleading because they are hijacked to mean ‘more sustainable’ to one degree or another. In fact, it would be more accurate to call buildings achieving these ratings as BREEAM ‘not as bad as most’ or BREEAM ‘a bit less harmful’."
  • IES enters free DEC software market – Building – Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) has developed a free alternative to the Government’s ORCalc Display Energy Certifiacte (DEC) software. The Glaswegian firm is planning on a late-August launch.
    The company said the software allowed users to produce DECs and the attached advisory reports as well as facilitate lodgements.
    Benefits over ORCalc listed by the company include: no restriction on the number of building zones (benchmark categories); user-friendly input Web based access; personal user area to store and manage DEC submissions; and ability to save and move between the different sections of the submission
  • Hobbits in a hole – Building Design – My favourite tacky hobbit houses in Oregon are in trouble. I could go and snap one up at a bargain auction price…
  • Kevin McCloud’s own ‘grand design’ in chaos – Building Design – Read this article, and especially the comments. As usual when a 'design guru' such as Kevin McHeadintheClouds (or Wayne Hemingway to name another, or indeed Germaine Greer, who isn't even a designer) gets involved in 'real' projects, they get hauled over the coals by those who have considerable more experience and a much more realistic view. Poor Kev.
  • Small Scale Wind Energy | Carbon Trust – A new Carbon Trust study into the potential of small-scale wind energy has found that small wind turbines could provide up to 1.5 Terawatt Hours (TWh) per year of electricity (0.4% of total UK electricity consumption) and 0.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) emission savings. This is based on 10% of households installing turbines at costs competitive with grid electricity, which is currently around 12p per kWh.
    The study also indicates that for the UK as a whole, the majority of electricity and carbon savings are available from small turbines in rural areas – four times as much as urban areas irrespective of costs, and considerably more given economic drivers. This is mainly due to wind speeds generally being higher in rural areas. Turbines in some rural locations could provide cheaper electricity than the grid, but it appears that in many urban situations, roof-mounted turbines may not pay back their embedded carbon emissions.
  • Expert tells legislators in city the price of oil will drop | – Todd Buchholz (author of "new ideas from dead economists", former advisor to Bush and technophile predicts:"Oil will peg out two years from now being closer to $50 a barrel, which is still high enough to make those alternative fuels worth pursuing.” He said he wouldn't be surprised if discussions took place two years from now about keeping the price of oil from getting too low so it "doesn't pull the rug out from solar, wind and clean coal technology.”