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Links for October 30th through November 5th

by Mel Starrs on November 6, 2009

in News

These are my links for October 30th through November 5th:

  • GEO DYNAMICS – How sustainable are heat pumps? -:- Construct Ireland – Great, but long, article on the pros and cons of air source heat pumps. Level of detail is just right, with plenty of graphs and good argument.
  • BSRIA review of NG Bailey’s Solais House – Great review of Solais House. I hadn't realised that it was a spec office before, having seen David Frise present it recently. That explains why it's aesthetically…dubious. Despite this constraint, promises to be a great example – although we await the POE results.
  • A place for PVC in a sustainable world? | Forum For The Future – Fascinating article on PVC. Still not convinced about the green guide rating of A for PVC windows, but things are getting better: "It’s not the first time that TNS has wrestled with the issue. It originally grappled with the stuff in 2000, when, with the support of the UK Environment Agency, it investigated whether PVC could have any place in a sustainable society. The answer was a cautious ‘yes’ – providing the industry addressed some of its most pressing challenges."
  • Sir Nicholas Grimshaw – People – Dwell – Great quote from Grimshaw on sustainability: "You’ve got to do a bit of lateral thinking on these green issues. It’s quite important to be pragmatic. The one thing we have to watch very carefully is polarization"
    Unusual to find a pragmatic architect – consultants and engineers usually much more pragmatic as they don't play the same zero-sum game as architects are forced into.
  • Footprint » You should have been at the RIBA tonight… – Intriguing – anyone know anything more on Bill's views?: "Dunster also made a strong plea on behalf of the Code for Sustainable Homes, calling it ‘an enlightened piece of legislation in danger of being dumbed down by the UK-GBC and the ZeroCarbonHub.’"
  • News : NDS – From Mandelson's Hinto Engineering Lecture: "Snow didn’t use the term, but he was angling at the idea that Britain was becoming a scientific knowledge economy. This is certainly the case now. We need to understand more clearly than ever the way in which our pure science and applied science underwrite our prosperity, not least so we can strengthen their contribution to economic growth.
    The wider costs of any failure to do this are very high, both for our own economy and society, but also globally. Snow was worried about how a scientifically illiterate society might fail to feed the expanding populations of the developing world. That concern is still very much with us, and to it our society would have to add the massive problem of decarbonsiation and the management of our environmental impact on the planet. "
  • Constructing Excellence in the Built Environment » Blog Archive » Never Waste a Good Crisis – Another report added to my 'must read and comment pile': "Government, as a client, needs to understand the enlightened thinking that better and more intelligent designs improve patients’ recovery in hospitals and learning outputs in schools. So, rather than reduce the number of schools and hospitals being built, it must sponsor smarter and more productive solutions and reduce the amount of money wasted on the procurement process. For Government as a policy maker, the challenge is to create an environment that incentivises innovation and speeds up the modernisation process."
  • Thoughts on Copenhagen: Nicholas Stern | News | Architects Journal – Good series of interviews from Hattie in the AJ, on COP15, including this one from Nick Stern: "Energy consumed in the construction and operation of buildings is responsible for more than one third of total energy use. According to the fourth assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published in 2007, the building sector has great potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
    It concluded that the energy consumption of new and existing buildings can be cut between 30 and 50 per cent without significantly increased costs.
    Architects, together with other built environment professionals, have the strategic and technical skills to deliver buildings that both lead to lower emissions and withstand those impacts of climate change that are now inevitable. With existing technologies, these buildings are now affordable. New technologies are constantly being created. What is required is the vision, leadership and commitment to make a low-carbon future reality."
  • Thoughts on Copenhagen: Pooran Desai | News | Architects Journal – The run up to COP15 has started, with this snippet the most interesting thing I found in AJ's recent piece, from Pooran Desai: "To achieve effective change, we need elegant solutions and a sensible systems-based approach to zero carbon; for example, recognising electricity as a pooled resource and not unnecessarily converting buildings into power stations. Land use is as critical as carbon emissions."