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Links for June 3rd through June 5th

by Mel Starrs on June 9, 2009

in News

These are my links for June 3rd through June 5th:

  • ECUK – Sustainability – Engineers chartered with EC now explicitly expected to "Do more than just comply with legislation and codes": "ECUK’s Guidance on Sustainability clarifies the role of engineers in relation to sustainability and lists six principles to guide professional engineers in their work. It should be read alongside sustainability related information produced by Professional Engineering Institutions, such as codes, policy statements or guidance of a technical nature. "
  • Sustainable legislation: keep it simple – Building – Pooran Desai of BioRegional takes on CSH: "Up to Code Level 4, the outcomes from an environmental persepective are basically sound though the metrics can be made more straightforward, robust. However, Code 5 and 6 as they are currently written are of dubious environmental value. The industry now generally accepts that forcing ‘net zero carbon’ on-site electricity generation is not helpful. There are other problems. On higher density sites particularly where you can’t collect sufficient rainwater to flush toilets, it forces on-site grey water treatment, often energy and chemical intensive, when even the Centre for Alternative Technology states that conventional sewage treatment is more eco-friendly than on-site grey water recycling. The solutions needed to deliver Code 5 and 6 are not just expensive in capital terms, but may not be kept operational because of high maintenance costs. This means that many homes built to current Code Level 5 and 6 will be less eco-friendly than Code 4."
  • Genuine partnership remains the key to regeneration success – The Regeneration Blog – Excellent point, and not just for regeneration, but the entire construction industry: "I was at a conference the other day when a very clever person (oh, I wish, I wish, it had been me) said "less than three years ago we were confidently asserting that we had seen the end of boom-and-bust, now we are bust we are pinning our hopes back on the forthcoming boom. Well, you can't have it both ways"."
  • Lord Turner on failed markets, irrational markets and environmental policy – 21 May 2009 – "The CCC’s report concluded that the electricity sector would have to be radically decarbonised by the 2030s in order to meet the 80% 2050 target. This cleaner electricity could then be applied, across other sectors such as transport, to help reduce emissions. He said that the CCC had concluded that the volatile nature of the financial market, with its direct impact on carbon and fossil fuel prices meant that a wholly market-led approach to tackling climate change would simply not work. Stronger policy instruments, coupled with government intervention would be needed to deliver the radical changes required."
  • Living Building Challenge Version 1.3 — ILBI – A kind of supplement to LEED, via CRGBC: "The Living Building Challenge is a rigorous performance standard that defines the closest measure of true sustainability in the built environment, using a benchmark of what is currently possible and given the best knowledge available today. Version 1.3 is comprised of sixteen prerequisites within six performance areas, or Petals: Site, Energy, Materials, Water, Indoor Quality, and Beauty + Inspiration."
  • China’s Grand Plans for <br/>Eco-Cities Now Lie Abandoned by Christina Larson: Yale Environment 360 – Arup's mythical Dongtan – lessons learned (a must-read): "Dongtan and other highly touted eco-cities across China were meant to be models of sustainable design for the future. Instead they’ve become models of bold visions that mostly stayed on the drawing boards — or collapsed from shoddy implementation. More often than not, these vaunted eco-cities have been designed by big-name foreign architectural and engineering firms who plunged into the projects with little understanding of Chinese politics, culture, and economics — and with little feel for the needs of local residents whom the utopian communities were designed to serve."
  • NYCDOT – Street Design Manual – "The New York City Street Design Manual provides policies and design guidelines to city agencies, design professionals, private developers and community groups for the improvement of streets and sidewalks throughout the five boroughs. It is intended to serve as a comprehensive resource for promoting higher quality street designs and more efficient project implementation.
    The Manual builds on the experience of innovation in street design, materials and lighting that has developed around the world, emphasizing a balanced approach that gives equal weight to transportation, community and environmental goals. It is designed to be a flexible document that will change and grow, incorporating new treatments as appropriate after testing. The use and continued development of the Street Design Manual will assure that New York City remains a leading innovator in the public realm as it becomes a greater, greener city."
  • Eco-ventilation health scare prompts regulation change – Building – "The draft report by the BRE’s Dr Michael Swainson and seen by Building, found that filters were not being replaced when worn out, which could lead to a build-up of humidity, carbon dioxide and other pollutants, as well as driving up energy use. It also says this could increase the risk of cancer in the homes of smokers.
    Mechanical ventilation systems are required in energy-efficient airtight homes to make sure that fresh air can circulate and that pollutants and humidity are extracted from the house. However, like a hoover, if the filter is not replaced the system stops working.
    The systems are virtually unavoidable if a home is to meet level four of the Code for Sustainable Homes, which all new homes in the social sector must meet by 2010."