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Links for July 31st through August 4th

by Mel Starrs on August 7, 2009

in News

These are my links for July 31st through August 4th:

  • By Degrees – White Roofs Catch On as Energy Cost Cutters – Series – – LEED rewards white roofs (heat island effect) and it also pops up in BREEAM Communities – but beware: "Still, the ardor of the cool-roof advocates has prompted a bit of a backlash.
    Some roofing specialists and architects argue that supporters fail to account for climate differences or the complexities of roof construction. In cooler climates, they say, reflective roofs can mean higher heating bills.
    Scientists acknowledge that the extra heating costs may outweigh the air-conditioning savings in cities like Detroit or Minneapolis.
    But for most types of construction, they say, light roofs yield significant net benefits as far north as New York or Chicago. Although those cities have cold winters, they are heat islands in the summer, with hundreds of thousands of square feet of roof surface absorbing energy."
  • Five UK firms vie for Masdar standards job – Building – Masdar, the £13bn UAE project to create the greenest city on earth, has invited five UK organisations to tender for the contract to design its sustainability standard
    They are Aecom, Arup, BRE, Hyder and WSP. Cyril Sweett is advising BRE on the cost element of its bid.
    The standard will set out sustainability targets for the project. Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, the developer of the 5.5 million m2 city, invited bids at the beginning of June and it is understood shortlisting is imminent.
    A source close to the bidders said the standard was intended to go beyond anything done before. He said Masdar would be likely to aim to be carbon positive, water neutral and waste neutral.
  • Green Compass – Constructing Excellence in Wales (CEW) has worked with BSI to develop PAS 402 as part of its Green Compass waste programme, which gives assurance to anyone disposing of construction waste that it will be collected, checked, recycled or disposed of in an environmentally sound fashion. PAS 402 provides the framework for waste management organisations to demonstrate performance in key areas. Green Compass, managed by CEW on behalf of the Welsh Assembly, is the first scheme of its kind in the UK and is expected to make a significant contribution to minimising the levels of waste going to landfill.
  • Tanya Ross on engineers and the media – Building Sustainable Design – Tanya makes some good points, but there's more to be said. Give me a minute while I go and work out the right answer to 3 decimal points ;o)
    "In a more general context, we need to keep promoting the idea of engineers as shapers of the urban landscape, as solvers of some of the problems posed by climate change. We’re clever, vital people who can help to save the planet, not a collection of wrench-wielding cowboys. Sure, it’s an enormous task, but it’s one we should relish. All engineers would benefit from increased public awareness. Whether it is not having to explain to your grandmother what exactly you do for a living or being considered suitable matrimonial material, even a modicum of greater awareness could mean improved recognition."
  • Suburbs get urban makeover – – An interesting take on the cultural aspects of urban design – asian influences in the US (both investors and occupants). Via @UrbanLandInst on twitter:
    "Suburbs that had not allowed development to rise too high above the single-family homes that have shaped suburbia for decades are beginning to embrace the "urban" in "suburban."
    The trend reflects the priorities of the times: saving energy, reducing traffic congestion, saving land, and promoting walking and mass transit."
  • Footprint » WRAP/RIBA competition results – Designing out Waste – Interesting: "architects have yet to get to grips with waste. When it comes to sustainability, the profession focuses on reducing operational energy use and embodied carbon, but that rarely translates into preoccupation with reducing the overall waste stream from a project. WRAP launched a campaign in October 2008 to reduce waste to landfill by half by 2012. Many contractors have signed on, but so far only two architects (Ryder and White Design)."