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Links for March 10th through March 14th

by Mel Starrs on March 16, 2011

in News

These are my links for March 10th through March 14th:

  • Water Consumption (NF29) ¦¦ Research & publications ¦¦ NHBC Foundation – "One of the measures of sustainability in the Code for Sustainable Homes and its predecessor, EcoHomes, is the quantity of water used by consumers living in new homes. Changes to Part G of the Building Regulations in England and Wales aims to bring down average water consumption from 150 to 125 litres per person per day, but what is the success of these design targets?"
  • Ageing and Airtightness (NF24) ¦¦ Research & publications ¦¦ NHBC Foundation – "In response to suggestions that new homes become leakier as they age because of shrinkage and settlement and that this provides additional adventitious ventilation, this research subjected a small number of dwellings to re-testing one to three years after completion to establish how their air permeability had changed."
  • Is Predicting Energy Efficiency Performance a Gamble? – "To a client, it can be frustrating if projected costs and energy savings in a building don’t add up. However, very few understand the benefits of having an energy modeler involved through the entire design process, from concept to implementation.<br />
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    Attendees agreed that energy modeling is often done after the fact, many times just to answer certain questions or “check a box”—to meet LEED certification, code requirements or disclosure stipulations. The goal is to make modeling a valuable step in the design process to ensure the right questions are asked from the beginning.<br />
    <br />
    For energy modeling to help people make good decisions about energy efficiency in new construction and existing buildings, it has to be part of an integrative design process. But the industry faces multiple barriers to assuming a more prominent role."
  • Green Building Information Gateway – " The Green Building Information Gateway (GBIG) is a novel information technology that provides an unprecedented view of the green building landscape and reveals trends, patterns and processes in green building practice. GBIG allows for the investigation and analysis of data about LEED-certified projects, and will enable users to view green building in the context of other spatial and temporal factors.""The LEED Carbon Index is a synthetic performance indicator based on achievement of certain rating system credits. This index is a weighted average representing the fraction of all recognized green building strategies implemented by a project, that contribute to greenhouse gas emission reduction. Carbon Index values range from 0-100, with 100 indicating a project has earned all of the available credits related to reducing its carbon footprint."
  • Renewable Energy Focus – EU publishes 2050 Low Carbon Roadmap – "According to the roadmap, the EU's total primary energy consumption in 2050 could be about 30% below 2005 levels."
  • Alex Steffen: Worldchanging II: Change Observer: Design Observer – Greatwith Alex Steffen – worth reading the whole thing (and I've added the revised book to my wishlist): "I think that the big open secret about sustainability work and innovation is not how bad things are. The real secret is how good things can get. There’s more and more evidence that many of the changes we need to make not only can be done but would vastly improve our lives. They would make us more money, provide us more jobs, make us healthier and happier. Our cities and energy would be cleaner and more affordable, our goods would be manufactured more sustainably. There’s still a bit of reticence to talk about how good things could get. It’s too bad. Buckminster Fuller had it right when he said people never leave a sinking ship until they see the lights of another ship approaching. Another ship is approaching, but we haven’t turned on the lights. If the book is doing a good thing it’s shining a light on what’s happening."
  • » CO2 – "The following measurement protocol has been developed by the members of ENCORD (European Network of Construction Companies for Research and Development), along with partners from other like minded worldwide construction organisations, to detail the method to be used when measuring the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of an organisation within the construction sector.<br />
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    This document identifies the intended users of the protocol, the main sources of emissions over which a construction company may have some influence, and the method of measuring these emissions. Guidance is also provided on reporting methods at a company and project level, with a view that companies will report their emissions publicly. This is also intended to assist current and future work undertaken to reduce emissions from specific construction related activities and operations."
  • LED bulbs not as eco-friendly as some might think – "Scientists from UC Irvine and UC Davis pulverized multicolored LED Christmas lights, traffic signal lights, and automobile head and brake lights, allowed residue to leach from them, and then analyzed its chemical content. They discovered that low-intensity red LEDs contained up to eight times the amount of lead allowed under California law, although generally brighter bulbs tended to contain the most contaminants. While white bulbs had a lower lead content than their colored counterparts, they still had high levels of nickel…<br />
    <br />
    Incandescent bulbs, incidentally, contain very high levels of lead and mercury, while compact fluorescents are also high in mercury."
  • Renewable heat incentive – thoughts on deeming, SAP, equity and accuracy | YouGen Blog | YouGen, Renewable Energy Made Easy – Prescient post on RHI the day before the announcement from Linn: "Unfortunately, there is a slight mismatch here – the same rural properties that will benefit from the RHI don’t generally have cavity walls. For them, the calculation of the heat requirement will be undertaken assuming loft insulation is present, but the solid walls will stay as they are (which will almost always mean uninsulated). This will mean that solid wall properties will gain a higher level of RHI support than similar properties with a cavity wall."
  • What determines household energy consumption? – Nils Kok – "Most of the current regulations and policies on energy efficiency in the housing market (i.e., building codes, insulation programs, etc) focus on improving the physical characteristics of private homes. While the goals are certainly worth pursuing, it is the question whether means are effective. We actually find that household demographics are much more important determinants of electricity consumption (and gas consumption, to some extent), than the physical characteristics of the home."
  • Old walls perform better – "the results from the first stage of that research are suggesting that standard U-value calculations, used across the construction industry, underestimate the thermal performance of traditional walls. In some cases, it appears that heat loss through vernacular materials can be up to three times lower than expected."
  • The Low Carbon Kid: The Coalition’s Carbon Plan is a rehash – what should it really say? – "But alongside this, it needs vigorously to retrain and motivate planning departments across the country to support low carbon designs, which all too often fall foul of petty objections. Furthermore, Building Controllers need to be retrained and motivated to properly police implementation of the environmental aspects of the Building Regulations and, if necessary prosecute offenders with the same rigour as is applied to Health and Safety breaches. No one has ever yet been prosecuted for a breach of Part L."