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This week’s essential reading January 9th through January 14th

by mel starrs on January 14, 2009

in News

These are my links for January 9th through January 14th:

  • BioRegional Newsletter January 2009 – BioRegional and Cabe publish cutting edge guidance for eco-town agencies – "We were motivated to write the guidance by our concern that the CLG’s guidance so far has not been strong enough to deliver truly sustainable towns. For instance it has fallen short of showing how eco-town residents can meet the 80% C02 reduction target that the Climate Change Act requires. What makes an eco-town? defines an eco-town as a place designed to make it easy for residents to reduce their ecological footprint by two thirds and their carbon dioxide emissions by 80 per cent below 1990 levels – or what we call one planet living.
    The guidance proposes features of places designed for living within ecological limits, these include: generous space to grow food; ample tree canopy cover; attractive alternatives to shopping as the default leisure activity; and substantial reduction in car dependency. It provides clear criteria and practical guidance on how the sustainability of settlements can be monitored and tested. "
  • BioRegional Newsletter January 2009 – BioRegional and partners publish new research into the availability of wood for heating and power in London – "The key finding of the report is that London has a potential wood fuel resource exceeding
    the requirements of currently planned wood fuel plant by a factor of 20 if not more.
    However, a lot of this is waste wood which would require Waste Incineration Directive
    (WID) compliant boilers and for some of this wood, recycling and reuse might be better
    environmental options. In general, most of this resource is not available now and policies
    and support frameworks need to be put in place to ensure London can better develop its
    wood fuel supply chain.
    A substantial increase in wood fuel boilers/CHP would have air quality implications in
    London. It is beyond the scope of this report to address this issue in any detail but it is
    recognised that more work is needed to ensure that climate change mitigation objectives
    are balanced with concerns about other emissions."
  • Opal [Tomoye Ecco] – via Tom Chance: "Welcome to Opal (One Planet Action Learning), BioRegional's online action learning portal.
    Opal is a space for sharing challenges and helping solve practical problems, in delivering cost-effective solutions for sustainability."
  • Choking to death in the suburbs – Opinion – smh.com.au – The press in Oz have a slightly more upfront attitude to gender issues than the UK – this made me giggle: "Planning, mostly run by women, does the words and pictures; making and announcing plans (such as the Metro Strategy) that never hit the ground. Public Works, by contrast, has no strategic capacity, no cerebellum, but just builds things – roads, tunnels, bridges and rail lines. This, you will be unsurprised to learn, is generally a boy thing."
  • The Measures Taken: Living Façades – Owen takes issue with green roofs: "the greening of architecture is not just an aesthetic question, but a moral one, something necessary. Some of these proposals seem eminently sensible – no doubt, there are few better ways of insulating a building than chucking a few layers of sod onto it. Nonetheless, looked at in detail, what we have here is a rather superficial phenomenon – something which we could call, with a nod to the similarly vacuous policy of atoning for pollution by engaging in a bit of philanthropy, 'urban offsetting'."
  • Aguanomics: Preventing the Tragedy of the Commons – David quotes Elinor Ostrom:"No institutions generate better outcomes for the resource and for the users under all conditions. Many of the lessons learned from the operation of communal property regimes related to natural resource systems are theoretically relevant to understanding of a wide diversity of property regimes that are extensively used in modern societies."
  • How the city hurts your brain – Boston.com – "Given the myriad mental problems that are exacerbated by city life, from an inability to pay attention to a lack of self-control, the question remains: Why do cities continue to grow? And why, even in the electronic age, do they endure as wellsprings of intellectual life?"
  • CIBSE design compass – "The CIBSE “Design Compass” is an online tool to assist professionals involved in building design to incorporate weather/climate related information into a clearly defined framework. It provides a common methodology and a frequently updated database where professionals can find information to help them deal with the extra layers of complexity that have been added to the design process in recent years. Most challenging of these is the changing climate and the associated and increasing needs for both adapting to it and mitigating against it."
  • Rediscovered Masterpiece: The Ford Foundation – "More than four decades after its completion, the Foundation is still a remarkably prescient piece of architecture. It excels in several areas where many architects continue to struggle: how to integrate natural light and decent views into the workplace; how to provide privacy to workers without sacrificing a feeling of community (or sequestering them in bland cubicles); and how to create a daring, iconic form that is a good neighbor and a true contribution to the city. Visiting the Foundation today is still a unique and thrilling experience, one of those New York moments that should not be missed."
  • Sustainable Industries | Green Building | Green building sets the code – "While 2007 and 2008 proved big years for the widespread adoption of stricter green building standards by major cities—including Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle—the coming year is expected to bring even more. And while the trend has traditionally applied to government-owned buildings, the early adopters of green building standards, such as San Francisco and Portland, are starting to build green building measures into code for all commercial buildings.
    But updating building codes is not an easy task. In Albuquerque, N.M., for example, a new green building code set to become effective Oct. 1, 2008, was placed on hold when the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute and several distributors sued Albuquerque, alleging the code would have created energy efficiency standards for furnaces, water heaters and air conditioners that were more stringent than those allowed under Federal law."
  • | Autodesk® Ecotect™ WIKI | Ecotect WIKI – Fantastic resource – a wiki for Ecotect.
  • Ecofont | Take a look at the Ecofont – A step too far? Or a cunning way to save ink (and money, I guess). Has anyone tried this out yet?
  • Solar Panels will add value to your home « Robert Kyriakides’s Weblog – "evidence that in the United States a home’s value rises on average by $20 for every $1 decrease in its annual energy bill and that this formula has held pretty much true since the 1970s. That means that if your solar system in the United Kingdom saves you around £150 per year, then it adds £3000 to the value of your home. "