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Links for April 7th through April 8th

by Mel Starrs on April 9, 2010

in News

These are my links for April 7th through April 8th:

  • Bleak and tortured: Kapoor’s Orbit is hardly an Olympic ideal | Building Blog – “the fact that Kapoor’s works seems to have garnered criticism from critics and the public alike renders it, in this regard at least, unique.
    what does it say?
    And this perhaps is Orbit’s biggest flaw and the reason why it has attracted such negative publicity. To the mayor of London and the London 2012 organising committee, who have been gushing profusely about the sculpture since it was unveiled, it clearly provides a big, pop-art symbol of the games that will doubtless look good on TV and divert attention away from the fact the London Olympic Park lacks much of the architectural ‘wow’ factor so clearly evident in Beijing.”
  • Self Reliance Myth – Debunking some myths (read the whole post): “I hear people say they are growing 30%, 50%, even 70% of their own food. What they usually mean is that they are growing fruits and vegetables that make up some percentage of the total cost or weight—but not calories—of their food. Vegetables are high in wet weight, but low in calories. If you are growing 100% of your own vegetables, they provide about 15-20% of your daily calories, unless you are living mostly on potatoes or other starchy veggies. Most daily calories come from grains, meat, or dairy products. So if you’re not raising large-scale grains or animals, it’s unlikely that you are growing more than one-quarter of your own food, measured honestly by nutritional content. In that case, it’s not accurate to claim you are “70% food self sufficient.” …. Now we begin to see how difficult, and even undesirable, self sufficiency is. You won’t have time for much else if you are truly food self sufficient, even in a permaculture system.”
  • IES » » In Practice: linking Revit to IES – “it is important to note that gbXML is not perfect and limitations transferring information between BIM and energy simulation software still exist. A key issue to understand, when looking to cycle through design options in a timely manner, is that there are some fundamental differences between an energy model for analysis and an architectural model used to generate construction documents. For example, many BIM elements do not support information exchange identifying the thermal performance characteristics that are needed to run energy analysis. …
    At early stages, if you take the perspective of the energy modeler they want to include the minimum amount of information to answer the question at hand, to reduce the variables and the analysis time. If you take the perspective of the architect, the visual character of the overall model is important to convey the design intent, as well as the details to express the layering of the idea(s).”
  • | Why no party can afford to be anti-nuclear – “By attempting to be populist but appearing merely outdated, the Lib Dems have produced an energy policy that is by far the least realistic of the plans by the three major parties. On 19 March, the Conservatives launched a sensible plan for a carbon tax on electricity generation to encourage investment in both nuclear and renewable power. After years of dithering, Labour is now on track with its large-scale offshore wind programme, nuclear new-build and major grid upscaling.
    The Lib Dems are left with wishful thinking. The writer David MacKay summarised their approach in his book Sustainable Energy: Without the Hot Air as “Plan L”, which would leave a zero-carbon Britain dependent on imports for two-thirds of its electricity, and on coal for much of the rest. (This is “clean coal”—a technology yet to be invented on the required scale.)”
  • House 2.0: Part G and the Water Calculator – Comment from Nick Grant on Mark’s Part G post: “The calculator approach is inherently flawed (on many levels) but cannot easily be dropped as it was voted on by ‘Stakeholders’ and became policy. There is a critique on my website which led to a review for CLG. Unfortunately the report of the review has not been published as I would rather reference that.
    Many of us find it really draining to have to put so much effort into debunking seriously flawed policies as you regularly flag up on your blog. We would rather get on with designing more sustainable buildings (and renovations) but have to spend huge amounts of time and effort (usually unpaid) arguing against supposedly green policies that are making things worse.”
  • Awash in Awareness: Knowing a Product’s “Water Footprint” May Help Consumers Conserve H2O: Scientific American – “Concerns over greenhouse gas emissions have vaulted the term “carbon footprint” into mainstream vernacular. Now, by promoting the concept of a “water footprint” with the goal of including it on product labels, researchers are hoping to draw similar attention to how drastically we’re draining our most precious resource. As the use of a footprint to gauge water use gains popularity, however, researchers are struggling to reach a consensus on how best to measure that footprint so the public understands its full impact.”
  • Urban Resilience § SEEDMAGAZINE.COM – Fascinating article on resilience: “From a systems standpoint, what cities are doing is creating a network—which in itself could strengthen resilience. Knowledge generated in one place could be used in another, and experiences and best practices could be shared. But this power shift raises an interesting governance question, as every organization in place today when it comes to global governance—the CBD, the United Nations, the Law of the Sea—is based on the nation state. Now on the sidelines, a very powerful network of cities is growing, sharing information technology, and driving an ambitious sustainability agenda.”