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Links for May 21st through May 24th

by Mel Starrs on May 25, 2010

in News

These are my links for May 21st through May 24th:

  • Two thirds of firms ‘unprepared’ for carbon legislation | ITworld – “At the moment most organisations are just using guess work,” he said. “This can’t continue. In the same way that financial auditors wouldn’t accept guesses as to an organisation’s cash position, environmental auditors are unlikely to accept guesses on energy use.”
  • Scotland should aim higher than clusters of urban lumps, complete with useless ‘gob ons’ – Herald Scotland | Business | Markets & Economy – “What might we better achieve with all this public money?
    Well, in that final leaders’ debate Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg uttered the unfashionable words: “council houses”. Perhaps if we set-aside our prejudiced stereotyped idea of grimy estates, decent quality council houses are exactly what we should be spending public money on.
    Clegg also raised the issue of VAT. Newbuild is zero-rated, but repair and renewal attracts the full 17.5%. This hugely tips the balance towards greenfield building sites, and away from refurbishing our existing stock. There are hundreds of thousands of empty properties lying vacant in our towns and cities.
    Readjusting VAT to encourage the repair of these would deliver more homes for every pound invested, fortify existing communities, reduce car-dependency, and create more jobs (repair being more labour-intensive).”
  • Green ArchiTEXT: Flavorpill: Brad Pitt and the Trouble with Vernacular Architecture – Interesting article on an issue I hadn’t really been following – the re-building of New Orleans: “Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the designs of the Make It Right (MIR) houses in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward continue to transform the city and influence post-disaster vernacular in America. They also continue to stir discussion, and plenty of critique, from a broad spectrum of architects – certainly from preservationists, who complain the MIR designs are not New Orleans enough, and even from a few sustainability advocates who question whether these unique designs truly offer a cohesive sense of community, even whether they are replicable elsewhere.”
  • CIRIA survey – CIRIA is co-ordinating a programme that aims to assess the feasibility of identifying a widely acceptable method for construction contractors to effectively measure and report their project-based carbon footprints to clients and principal contractors. The first stage of the programme involves gathering information on current practice across the construction industry. We welcome responses to our questionnaire.
  • GRIHA – Home – GRIHA, an acronym for Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment, is the National Rating System of India. It has been conceived by TERI and developed jointly with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India. It is a green building ‘design evaluation system’, and is suitable for all kinds of buildings in different climatic zones of the country.
  • Security guard admits he hacked hospital PCs • The Register – Last summer, Federal prosecutors charged McGraw with planning a “massive” denial of service attack on the HVAC system. He allegedly scheduled it for the July 4 Independence Day holiday, when it wouldn’t be uncommon for temperatures to exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. He called it “Devil’s Day.”
  • Green Building Certifications to Cover 53 Billion Square Feet of Space by 2020 « Pike Research – “According to a May 2010 report from Pike Research, space covered by green building certification programs will increase from 6 billion square feet worldwide in 2010 to 53 billion square feet by 2020. While LEED and BREEAM will continue to dominate the North American and European green building markets, respectively, Pike Research anticipates that newly developed programs in China and India will represent about 30% of all certified green new construction by 2020.”
  • Why Planting Farms in Skyscrapers Won’t Solve Our Food Problems | Food | AlterNet – Cox and Van Tassel decimate the arguments for vertical food. Very good article. As always with these ideas, ask what problem is it that they are trying to fix? What is the intention?
  • PLoS ONE: Energy Sprawl or Energy Efficiency: Climate Policy Impacts on Natural Habitat for the United States of America – Interesting paper: “The land-use intensity of different energy production techniques varies over three orders of magnitude, from 1.9–2.8 km2/TW hr/yr for nuclear power to 788–1000 km2/TW hr/yr for biodiesel from soy. In all scenarios, temperate deciduous forests and temperate grasslands will be most impacted by future energy development, although the magnitude of impact by wind, biomass, and coal to different habitat types is policy-specific. Regardless of the existence or structure of a cap-and-trade bill, at least 206,000 km2 will be impacted without substantial increases in energy efficiency, which saves at least 7.6 km2 per TW hr of electricity conserved annually and 27.5 km2 per TW hr of liquid fuels conserved annually. Climate policy that reduces carbon dioxide emissions may increase the areal impact of energy, although the magnitude of this potential side effect may be substantially mitigated by increases in energy efficiency.”
  • Passivhaus Refurb: Passivhaus and the planning system – Loving this blog: “The UK planning system does not fit well with the Passivhaus approach, which involves much more upfront, detailed design work than a traditional build. Normally, an architect produces an outline design with just enough detail to satisfy the planners; the point being not to commit more resources than necessary until after planning permission has been given. In any Passivhaus project, but particularly in ours, which is much more challenging because we are new to Passivhaus in the UK and because it is a refurb, more work is needed to be sure we would meet the Passivhaus standard before the planning application can be submitted. If we had submitted our plans earlier, we would have locked in window sizes and other variables that have a significant bearing on the building’s energy performance. We have found getting down to the key Passivhaus standard for heating of 15kWh/m2 per annum quite difficult, without throwing silly money at some exotic materials.”