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Links for April 7th through April 9th

by Mel Starrs on April 14, 2009

in News

These are my links for April 7th through April 9th:

  • Insulation is king – part 2 – "When NOT to insulate
    Some properties, typically built before 1940, have no vertical damp proof course (VDPC) around the windows. They rely on the ventilation in the cavity to stop rainwater penetrating to the inside wall. In this case you will need to either insert a VDPC or not fill the cavity.
    In any house, cavity wall insulation will reduce ventilation, preventing natural moisture build-up from being removed. So if you have cavity wall insulation make sure you also have trickle vents or extract fans."
  • Interior Design Trends – Garden Landscaping Ideas – Beautiful Homes | Maryland – Northern Virginia – Washington, DC – Passivhaus – Always interesting to see reactions to Passivhaus (more desirable than LEED?):
    "The thought of a home so efficient that it doesnt need a HVAC system is quite intriguing, and for some, more desirable than a LEED cert. The PeakOiler's will love it. Of course, our HVAC contractor might not like the concept too much, but hey, there's still ductwork to run and an ERV to take care of. …
    Another one of my concerns is that the home is that the home I've seen are necessarily boxy and without much exterior detail. According to Katrin Klingenberg, an architect who built one of these in Champagne Urbana, IL, "The surface/volume ration has to be very good… you do not want to have a lot of nooks sticking out of your house… because you lose energy". This runs counter to our typical bungalow designs that are quite high on the nook and cranny ratio."
  • Forestry Commission – The Trees and Design Action Group – via Hatty at the AJ Footprint blog (an excellent blog, BTW), "No trees, no future" report from Forestry commission.
  • Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air: the Freakonomics of conservation, climate and energy – Boing Boing – Great review from Cory of David McKay's Without Hot Air. I think I'm going to have to cave and buy on paper – I've not opened the electronic version I downloaded months ago and this review really makes me want to read it.
  • Reinventing America’s Cities – The Time Is Now – NYTimes.com – "With their crowded neighborhoods and web of public services, cities are not only invaluable cultural incubators; they are also vastly more efficient than suburbs. But for years they have been neglected, and in many cases forcibly harmed, by policies that favored sprawl over density and conformity over difference.
    Such policies have caused many of our urban centers to devolve into generic theme parks and others, like Detroit, to decay into ghost towns. They have also sparked the rise of ecologically unsustainable gated communities and reinforced economic disparities by building walls between racial, ethnic and class groups.
    Correcting this imbalance will require a radical adjustment in how we think of cities and government’s role in them. At times it will mean destruction rather than repair. And it demands listening to people who have spent the last decade imagining and in many cases planning for more sustainable, livable and socially just cities."