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Links for July 26th through July 27th

by Mel Starrs on July 31, 2009

in News

These are my links for July 26th through July 27th:

  • International Green Construction Code (IGCC) Now in the Works| News | Architectural Record – International in the same way the World Series is a global baseball competition: "On June 29, the American Institute of Architects, along with the International Code Council (ICC) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), announced their intent to create an International Green Construction Code (IGCC).
    The new code aims to cover all aspects of sustainability in the built environment, from roofing to ventilation strategies, drawing from existing codes and standards to create one universal code. The code will apply to new construction and renovations. “We hope this will bring all of the separate efforts together and put them under one umbrella to make it easier for jurisdictions to know what they are adopting,” says Adolf Zubia, ICC board president."
  • CBI climate change progress tracker. CBI on climate change. – Climate change remains one of the most critical issues affecting the UK, but in tough economic times it is at clear risk of slipping down the political agenda. Urgent action to cut emissions must be delivered if we are to hit government emissions reduction targets, ensure a future independent supply of energy, and manage rising energy costs.
    The CBI’s Climate Change Tracker is a tool developed by the CBI to track progress against the priorities set out in the CBI’s 2007 climate change report, Climate change: everyone’s business.
    The Tracker benchmarks the progress of the priorities for action set out in the report, focusing on the immediate decisions and delivery needed up to 2010.
  • Dubai development may be down, but it’s not out – Los Angeles Times – Fascinating and scary article on Dubai: "In the heart of most cities, the biggest piece of land that a single developer is typically able to control is one square block. …In Dubai, whole districts of the city, many covering dozens of square blocks and hundreds of acres, have been given over to single developments. Seeing architectural diversity within any project as a threat to the bottom line, their creators usually hire a single firm to design them around a recognizable theme…
    The result is a surprising twist on the privatization of cities like Los Angeles, where public space is notoriously scarce. In the privatized city, as the well-known critique goes, people aren't forced to mix with people who are different from themselves. They are hidden from that interaction inside their private cars and gated developments. … In Dubai, remarkably enough, the same is true for buildings, which tend to cluster together with other pieces of architecture just like them."
  • Property’s Quangocracy – Property Week – Excellent dissection of the RDA's and their spending. MIPIM anyone?
  • Charter of the New Urbanism | Congress for the New Urbanism – My Jane Jacobs obsession has lead me to the doors of New Urbanism and their charter. With LEED-ND and BREEAM Communities rearing their heads, time to get to grips with New Urbanism and what the future holds…
  • Frank Gruber: New Urbanism: Very Misunderstood – "New Urbanism, although it has antecedents in mid-century voices (such as that of Jane Jacobs) …is a movement that arose in the 1980s among architects upset not only with the decline of the quality of the built environment but also with the failure they perceived of the profession of architecture to pay attention to the spaces between buildings and the larger urban or regional context…
    New Urbanists are attacked from both sides of America's cultural divide. Chances are, if you mention New Urbanism to group of forward thinking, contemporary design professionals, whether architects or planners, they will roll their eyes. To them New Urbanism, …is a facilitator of sprawl, not a solution. …New Urbanism is hopelessly nostalgic.
    But if you find yourself among a group of conservatives or libertarians, … you'll just as likely unleash a denunciation on the grounds that New Urbanism aims to thwart the natural desire of Americans to live in a single-family house on a cul-de-sac."
  • Media library · Town and Country Planning Association – "Leading planning and housing charity, the Town and Country Planning Association(TCPA) will celebrate its 110th AGM today by publishing a Manifesto for the 21st Century. The Association’s vision – Towns and Countryside for a New Age of Challenge – sets out a new set of aspirations which directly address today’s challenges of climate change, globalisation and social justice.
    The TCPA’s Manifesto comprises four main elements: choice and diversity; cities and the larger task; a revitalised countryside; and networks of cities, towns and villages."
  • The Effect of the Recession on Partnering in the Construction Sector – Excellent presentation from Don Ward, which he presented at the AEC networking meeting at the Building Centre last week. Slides 31/32 hold key messages for me. A lower price for the client does not necessarily have to eat into our profit margins (and in fact, shouldn't – we all need to make money).
  • Real Time Carbon – I love this – I have a great deal of time for anything coming out of AMEE : "Until now, anyone trying to understand the carbon impact of the electricity they use has only had a single static Government conversion factor. The factor – currently 527 grams CO2 per kWh of electricity – is updated only a few times a year.
    The standard figure is based on a number of assumptions about the mix of energy used to generate electricity – the "generation mix". It tells consumers nothing about the carbon intensity of electricity at a given time.
    Real Time Carbon wants to help energy users see the real-time carbon intensity of electricity so they can avoid consuming at times of high emissions. We look forward to a time when appliances, buildings and factories automatically manage demand according to the carbon being released."
  • Our Seven Commitments – Royal Town Planning Institute – Interesting work from RTPI, but it feels a little late? Interested to find out how they do with no.1, behavioural change, and good to see it isn't a "cast-in-stone" mainfesto : "The seven commitments are supported by a living and continuously improved action plan that will deliver practical outcomes, benefiting communities at the global and the local scale."
  • U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu: “Global Warming Is the Greatest Challenge Facing Science” « The Dirt – "In the case of energy-efficient buildings, Chu argued local knowledge drives local building development, and needs to be updated to ensure best practices in energy-efficient buildings quickly go global. ”Buildings are local. We don’t ship buildings to Denmark.” He described the type of knowledge needed for creating energy-efficient buildings as a sort of “hands-on,” practitioner’s knowledge –”it’s like a gardener’s craft or like those who know how to cook well.” Still, he thinks it is possible to “teach each other how to capture carbon, how to create more energy-efficient buildings.” To those who argue that any intellectual property (IP) transferred overseas should be protected, Chu added “it’s not about intellectual property (IP), it’s about people.” He also argued that the case for energy efficient buildings is economic — highly energy-efficient buildings can reduce current energy consumption by four-to-five times, putting “more money into people’s pockets.”"
  • Ch 13 Page 79: Sustainable Energy – without the hot air – From David MacKay's excellent book:"“it’s better to drive than to walk.” Whether this is true depends on your diet. It’s certainly possible to find food whose fossil-fuel energy footprint is bigger than the energy delivered to the human. … According to a study from the University of Exeter, the typical diet has an embodied energy of roughly 6 kWh per kWh eaten. To figure out whether driving a car or walking uses less energy, we need to know the transport efficiency of each mode. For the typical car …, the energy cost was 80 kWh per 100 km. Walking uses a net energy of 3.6 kWh per 100 km – 22 times less. So if you live entirely on food whose footprint is greater than 22 kWh per kWh then, yes, the energy cost of getting you from A to B in a fossil-fuel-powered vehicle is less than if you go under your own steam. But if you have a typical diet (6 kWh per kWh) then “it’s better to drive than to walk” is a myth. Walking uses one quarter as much energy."
  • DOE: Building Energy Codes – News Item – "The decision to create the joint publication resulted from the recent legislation passed by the U.S. Congress, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The Act establishes an energy efficiency goal of 90 percent compliance with the 2009 IECC and Standard 90.1-2007 in all 50 states by 2017. In establishing this goal, the Federal legislation recognizes the 2009 IECC and Standard 90.1-2007 as the energy efficiency benchmarks for residential and commercial buildings.
    Because the ICC and ASHRAE documents complement each other, publishing them in one book benefits architects, designers, engineers, and code officials. It makes it easier to choose between design options, and helps make sure new and renovated buildings are in compliance with the latest references and local building safety codes."
  • Bad British Architecture: BLAR MHOR HOUSING IN CAOL, FORT WILLIAM BY ARCHIAL FOR LORNE DEVELOPMENTS – Very quickly, a firm favourite on my blogroll. Ghost of Nairn in acerbic form as usual: "One helpful rule of thumb, from Nairn to you. When someone presents a masterplan with a perimeter of a line of trees, it means they're trying to hide something. Do not trust these people."