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Links for April 21st through April 27th

by Mel Starrs on April 28, 2009

in News

These are my links for April 21st through April 27th:

  • NGS GreenSpec – Materials – Embodied energy – Data on embodied energy is notoriously difficult to find. This is a useful source: "The figures included in the following table are a much-shortened and abbreviated adaptation of a survey published by the Sustainable Energy Research Team (SERT) of the University of Bath. The survey, ‘Inventory of Carbon & Energy (ICE)’ V1.6a, was compiled and written by Prof. Geoff Hammond & Craig Jones, 2008. The full detailed survey, complete with original data, methodology and notes, is availablefrom
    The figures are based on a ‘Cradle-to-Gate’ analysis of publicly available information."
  • BSD launches wiki site – Building Sustainable Design – "The BSD Project wiki allows you to upload details of projects, images and design team information to our project database.
    You don’t have to know every last detail about a particular project, just log in and fill in the bits you do know then encourage other members of the project team to upload information on the aspects of a scheme for which they were responsible.
    Like Wikipedia, the BSD site is a database open to everyone, to contribute or scrutinize and over time we hope the wiki will grow into a valuable resource of contemporary project design."
  • ACE – CFLs won’t save much energy if they stay in the kitchen drawer – Andrew Warren on all those unsolicited lightbulbs. Not only unsolicited, but often packaged in boxes too big to go throught the letterbox, requiring an extra car trip to the post depot. *sigh*
    "Since 2002, the energy companies have distributed 262m light bulbs. That amounts to an average of over eleven CFLs for every single household in Britain. Nonetheless I keep meeting people who have never received any such largess. Bearing in mind the large number of studio and single-bedroom flats around, with far fewer than eleven light sources, that ought to mean that some households must have got at least a couple of dozen.
    Are they all installed? Amazingly, nobody seems to know. There is no requirement for anybody to keep tally on which addresses these 262m bulbs have gone to, let alone to establish whether they are being put to use. If ever there was a need for a sample survey of existing homes, this must surely be it."
  • Recovery soon for construction? (Brickonomics) – "Clearly the wider economy as measured by GDP has a major impact on construction output, but the link is neither linear nor direct. … construction is a series of mini-industries with growth cycles that are out of phase.
    When you aggregate the various cycles of construction together the effect is to elongate the overall response rate to outside signals….. So while housing is moving up, commercial may well still be moving down before rising later.
    The pattern is further muddled by the heavy influence of public spending, which accounts for about a third of all work. This can operate counter-cyclical to the private sector, dulling the up and down movement and reshaping the V towards a U.
    And it is this spending that currently poses the most concerns regarding the shape of the construction recovery.
    There is a real risk that public spending on construction will take an L-shaped path in the near future as the Treasury seeks to balance its books."
  • James Randerson: To stop a climate catastrophe we must first believe we can make a difference | Environment | – "Far from over-playing their hand to swell their research coffers, scientists have been toning down their message in an attempt to avoid public despair and inaction."
  • » Where do your ideas die? (With a bad illustration) – This sounds familiar (from my days back in large engineering consultancies): "Executives often do this flinchy sort of thing and it’s big news at many corporations to start “idea programs” to encourage people to submit ideas. These programs are launched, ideas are submitted, and there is much rejoicing. But little change.
    The reason there is little change is that idea inputs were never the problem. The bottleneck was further upstream. Crowdsourcing, brainstorming, mindmapping, and the dozens of other techniques people obsess about help create early idea volume, but do little to help the curators, the people who winnow down the hundreds of ideas down to dozens, and dozens down to a handful.
    It’s much more useful to study where the bottlenecks are, when and why new ideas are killed, and who the people are that are killing them."