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Links for August 18th through August 24th

by Mel Starrs on August 25, 2010

in News

These are my links for August 18th through August 24th:

  • 500 Internal Server Error – 500 Internal Server Error
  • Stanford engineers’ new solar energy conversion process could revamp solar power production – "A new process that simultaneously combines the light and heat of solar radiation to generate electricity could offer more than double the efficiency of existing solar cell technology, say the Stanford engineers who discovered it and proved that it works. The process, called "photon enhanced thermionic emission," or PETE, could reduce the costs of solar energy production enough for it to compete with oil as an energy source."
  • Dilbert Creator Scott Adams Tries to Build an Eco-Friendly House – WSJ.com – Slightly concerned that Sott Adams couldn't leverage his fame to get some decent advice for his self build, but then this article wouldn't have been so entertaining: "The greenest home is the one you don't build. If you really want to save the Earth, move in with another family and share a house that's already built. Better yet, live in the forest and eat whatever the squirrels don't want. Don't brag to me about riding your bicycle to work; a lot of energy went into building that bicycle. Stop being a hypocrite like me."
  • NewEnergyFocus.com – FiTs data shows “surprise uptake” by commercial sector – "The most up-to-date figures from Ofgem show that between the scheme going live and today (August 9), there have been 5040 installations, with 4969 of them residential, 57 commercial and 13 community installations. Of these, 13 were hydro, 142 wind and 4885 solar PV and the total installed capacity totals 21.9MW."
  • INSIGHT: Save What’s Left: Architects as Stewards of Our Planet – "I am not arguing for mindless, indigenous architecture and the elimination of the architectural profession; I am arguing for a new adaptive architecture that clearly understands its regional setting. Our simple goals could be to reduce the consumption of energy in the building sector by 50% in the next 15 years, and then achieve energy neutrality in the built environment 10 years later. These achievements might be analogous to the Manhattan Project or to landing on the moon before the Soviets. The new focus on regionalism and energy conservation would be accompanied by a new attitude toward nature and the landscape, an attitude that seeks to conserve and reintroduce native species and native landscapes."
  • Home | VELUX – via Rory Bergin's blog, a tool for modelling energy for domestic properties
  • Op-Ed Contributor – Math Lessons for Locavores – NYTimes.com – excellent, though US-centric article on the absurdities of locavorism. Single issue arguments do annoy me.
  • bere:architects » Blog Archive » First Welsh Passivhaus prototype – Fenestration Calculations & Cost Data – Hats off to bere:architects for publishing such a wealth of cost data. Lots of useful graphs and data.
  • London Housing Design Guide – London Development Agency – "The Mayor’s London Housing Design Guide sets a new benchmark for housing in the capital and will soon be a requirement for publicly-funded homes. By consolidating and simplifying a comprehensive set of standards, the guide aims to provide consistency and clarity about what is expected in London from the outset of a development. The standards are anticipated to be taken forward across all tenures through the Mayor’s forthcoming draft Housing Supplementary Planning Guide (SPG)."
  • Boris the builder: The Mayor’s vision for London housing | Life & Style – "Since 1980 there have been no mandatory minimum space standards for housing in the UK, ever since the famous Parker Morris standards for Space in the Home, which were drawn up in 1961, were abolished by Margaret Thatcher's government in 1980. This has led, in recent years, to London having the smallest new houses and apartments of any major city in the Western world — and this at the end of an era of huge economic growth and rises in living standards. A new apartment in London now is estimated to have up to 30 per cent less space than its equivalent of 40 to 50 years ago. The new guide contains 90 standards that will apply from next year on all new housing built on London Development Agency-owned land, or any developments funded by public money. More excitingly, it is hoped that the guide will be part of the updated London Plan after 2012, and as such will be planning policy — meaning it will cover all new housing in the private sector, too."
  • grid carbon will stay high for some time yet « carbon limited – "the official line is that the carbon intensity of the grid will remain roughly steady until 2015, when it will plummet towards near-zero carbon in 2040. (As an aside, is it a coincidence that the dropoff comes in 2015, given that it’s the latest possible date for the next general election?) It will be interesting to see how that drop off moves in coming years. The announcement strongly reinforces the message from DECC that decarbonisation of heat will not be achieved through electrification. In other words, heat pumps are not the answer to decarbonising heat at the national scale."