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Links for January 29th through February 3rd

by Mel Starrs on February 5, 2010

in News

These are my links for January 29th through February 3rd:

  • Inbuilt gains official status to approve Passivhaus buildings – Inbuilt has been awarded the highly-prized status of Certifying Body for Passivhaus buildings. Passivhaus is a design methodology for ultra low-energy buildings, promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. There are about 12,500 Passivhaus buildings worldwide, the vast majority of them in Germany and Austria, and the approach is rapidly growing in popularity in the UK as developers and designers consider their options to meet the Government's zero carbon targets.
    Inbuilt is now one of a tiny handful of organisations in the UK, and just 20 worldwide, who are accredited by the Passivhaus Institut to offer certification services. Certification provides a robust assessment of a building’s predicted energy use and allows an architect or builder to claim the 'Passivhaus' tag for a building and to market it as meeting the scheme's very precise performance standards. In the UK, only three individual buildings have been formally certificated so far.
  • NGS GreenSpec – Opinion – Quality Assured PassivHaus Buildings – Part 1 – Excellent piece on Passivhaus by Mark Siddall of Devereux Architects (despite the mandatory slightly shrill rant against CSH/BREEAM which detracts from the piece, IMO). Covers the quality assurance aspects very well and explains why PHPP needs to be used. First of two articles – read both.
  • Factor 4 efficiency illustrated by contemporary economic statistics 20100117_wf – Interesting analysis from Wolfgang Feist on CO2 vs. GNI and life expectancy.
  • Zero carbon definition offers a new practical approach – EC Harris comment on zero carbon definition: "The revised cost of complying with the new zero carbon definition will depend on the value attributed to the ‘Allowable Solution’ and also the renewable strategy adopted to deliver the 45-50% renewables.
    However, the fabric efficiencies have been reported as adding between £2,000 -£6,500 per unit and the renewables requirement is likely to add around £15,000 per unit. This results in an additional build cost of £20,000 per unit but represents half the previous £40,000 estimate to deliver the full Code Level 6 definition.
    Astute house builders will therefore see opportunity in the new definition, with commercial advantage gained by selecting sites and design solutions which allow on site renewable costs to be minimised either through connection with district heating or large scale wind coupled with the use of an ESCO. Renewable availability of a site must now be considered in land acquisition and existing land banks reviewed."
  • News analysis – Is aid without climate adaptation a waste of time? – The Ecologist – However, some NGOs have been amending an existing emergency relief strategy, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), to integrate climate science into their work. DRR uses past events to help the community become more resilient to them in the future. Integrating climate science in DRR plans involves taking account of future predictions for a given area, such as flooding or sea level rises. ‘DRR enables humanitarian agencies to extend the time horizon and to mitigate rather than just respond,' says Dr. Mike Edwards, climate change programme development officer CAFOD.