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Links for September 15th through September 21st

by Mel Starrs on September 22, 2010

in News

These are my links for September 15th through September 21st:

  • Pursuit of LEED could result in professional negligence, insurance executive warns – Daily Commercial News – Absolutely (same goes for BREEAM): “By adhering to a “recipe” or “formula” in order to earn points toward LEED certification, design professionals might be at risk of neglecting their responsibility to clients, says an insurance company executive.
    “When we are pursuing our LEED project, we are in fact figuring out how to get points. And sometimes the pursuit of those points becomes an end in itself,” John Hackett, vice-president of practice risk management for Pro-Demnity Insurance Co….
    “A design professional’s obligation is as an educator or advisor to their client … they in fact should be advising on a range of options with the implications associated with each … and your client makes the decision.””
    The dilemma with following a formula to achieve LEED certification, Hackett said, is that a design professional may overlook those implications.
    “From an insurance perspective, this is a concern to us. If you don’t tell the whole story you may be negligent.”
  • My word: sustainability – Polon – Another criticism of the word sustainability: ““Sustainability is a troublesome word,” says Dan. “I think we could do with a new one.” What’s wrong with sustainability? ”It’s not an interesting word or a rich word,” explains Dan. “It’s a word that polarises people’s opinions and makes them turn off. It feels restrictive because people think it’s about limiting stuff.””
  • Sustainability: Not What You Think It Is – Sustainability & Innovation – MIT Sloan Management Review – Peter Senge on the word ‘sustainability’ (and note he doesn’t equate sustainability with carbon): “On another level, it’s just a bad word. It’s technically what we would call a “negative vision.” We don’t want the unsustainable, we don’t want civilization to collapse, we don’t want the human species to fail. Well, of course we don’t want that, but those images don’t move people. “Survival” is not the most inspiring vision. It motivates out of fear, but it only motivates for as long as people feel the issues are pressing on them. Soon as the fear recedes, so does the motivation.
    What we’re talking about is arguably the greatest challenge to innovation that humankind has ever faced: reinventing our whole way of living. And every single example I know of where something meaningful has happened, where people have worked at something that’s taken five years, 10 years, 15 years, it’s because of people’s excitement toward something that really draws them. It’s aspirational.”
  • Why carbon savings don’t always match the forecasts – The IET – IET looking at carbon alone – time of course is probably a bigger factor in most people’s lives, so minor carbon savings plus big time savings are a WIN in my book: “Unless online shoppers order more than 25 items, the impact on the environment is worse than traditional shopping, the study finds, while working from home increases home energy use by as much as 30 per cent, and can lead to people moving further from the workplace, stretching urban sprawl and increasing pollution. Environmental savings can be achieved if online shopping replaces 3.5 trips to the shops, or if 25 orders are delivered at the same time, or if the distance travelled to where the purchase is made is more than 50km. Shopping online does not offer net environmental benefits unless these criteria are met.”
  • Learning from the London Plan – Modern Building Services – Interesting read – I’d like to get my hands on the full research: “It is over six years since the London Plan was published early in 2004. One of its objectives being to address the issue of climate change and reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions using the planning system. It has become a fact of life for the construction industry, and information about its effectiveness has emerged from studies carried out by London South Bank University and presented to the recent CIBSE Conference by Tony Day, professor of energy engineering at London South Bank University.”
  • Bjorn Lomborg: U-Turn On Global Warming? Hardly. – WSJ.com – I have to agree with Lomborg here, he’s never been a denialist – it’s less black and white than that. Climate change + media soundbites = widespread confusion *sigh*: “That’s the way it is with heresy—there is no middle ground. Either you believe global warming is the worst problem mankind has ever faced and that cutting carbon is the only solution, or you are an antiscientific ignoramus who probably thinks the Earth is flat.”
  • http://oco-carbon.com Jamie Bull

    Mel,

    It looks like Tony Day’s presentation was based on this paper http://legacy.london.gov.uk/mayor/priorities/docs/lon-plan-energy-policies-monitoring-1.pdf

    I emailed him recently asking about the report from the next phase which involves actual monitoring rather than just predictions in energy statements. He replied that Part 2 is still being finalised but that they published some of the findings in papers given at the UK-ISES Energy in the City Conference in June. The proceedings can be requested from http://www.uk-ises.org/ although I didn’t get a response when I asked them.

    Good luck with the new job!

  • http://oco-carbon.com Jamie Bull

    Mel,

    It looks like Tony Day’s presentation was based on this paper http://legacy.london.gov.uk/mayor/priorities/docs/lon-plan-energy-policies-monitoring-1.pdf

    I emailed him recently asking about the report from the next phase which involves actual monitoring rather than just predictions in energy statements. He replied that Part 2 is still being finalised but that they published some of the findings in papers given at the UK-ISES Energy in the City Conference in June. The proceedings can be requested from http://www.uk-ises.org/ although I didn’t get a response when I asked them.

    Good luck with the new job!

  • http://www.carbonlimited.org Casey Cole

    Hi Mel,

    I was also struck by the way that the Tony Day presentation presented predictions as fact. It doesn’t mean a heck of a lot until the performance is measured. The second stage of that work is likely to be more interesting than the first I think.