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Links for March 24th through March 29th

by Mel Starrs on March 30, 2011

in News

These are my links for March 24th through March 29th:

  • Import and export meters and the feed-in tariff | YouGen Blog | YouGen, Renewable Energy Made Easy – "Getting an official export meter with an MPAN number costs about £70 a year. This means it isn't cost effective for most domestic installations, as the exported electricity (at 3p a kWh) won't be worth enough to cover the cost. So instead the export figure is 'deemed' to be half of your total generation. In my case, this is an under estimate. I have a 2.1kWp system, which has generated 1,966.8 kWhs of electricity. Of that, 1,266.7 kWhs has been exported – which is more than half. And I work from home. So people who are out all day will probably be exporting an even greater proportion."
  • In search of zero-carbon non-domestic buildings – Modern Building Services – Was reminded of this – unregulated was never in the non-domestic zero-carbon definition (and is excluded from EPBD too): "In non-domestic buildings, however, unregulated energy will not fall within the scope of zero carbon. The Government believes this will be too difficult because the variation in energy use between different types of commercial and industrial buildings is so much greater than for homes."
  • 500 Internal Server Error – 500 Internal Server Error
  • Feist’s Physics – Dr. Wolfgang Feist – People – GreenSource Magazine – Interview with Wolfgang Feist. I am getting rather tired of ournalists mixing up sustainability and energy efficiency. PH an excellent EE standard – part of the broader jigsaw of sustainability.
  • ArchNewsNow – LID seems to be very similar to SuDS: "Both LID and LEED principles share many of the same design strategies and ideologies. They both emphasize stormwater quality and water conservation. Both seek to slow down the flow of water, keep water on site, and water filtration before returning it to the watershed. The major difference between the two is LID costs you no upfront money regarding the project registration fees associated with certifying a LEED project."
  • / Arts / Design & Architecture – Bridge in the Gulf – e"All that has been learnt from New York or Hong Kong is the profile, the spiky skyline: nothing has been learnt from the successful spaces of everyday urban life, the things that make a city work.<br />
    There have been attempts before to build on traditional Middle-Eastern city structures, notably Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy’s superb New Gourna outside Cairo. There is also Foster & Partners’ much-touted eco-city Masdar, currently under construction in nearby Abu Dhabi. …Musheirab is an attempt to tie together a bitty established city by constructing a coherent centre around which it can rebuild itself in the future.There are a few issues; the city centre remains immune to public transport – although a subway line will eventually be constructed – and despite the mix of uses, social class here looks likely to be decidedly unmixed. There is little room for the migrant labourers who are building it or indeed for the traders whose tatty shops occupied the now-demolished structures."
  • The death of a housing ideal | Society | The Guardian – Fascinating (long) article on regeneration rights and wrongs featuring Haterley and Moore: ""Welcome to failed utopia," he says, when I eventually reach him. He's being ironic – even its most ardent fans would be hard pressed to call the Heygate utopia, though now in its abandoned state you can hear birds twittering, and squirrels come scampering up to you looking for food. But nor does he think the estate deserves to die. "There's something beautifully simplistic about these blocks," he says. "They're not very pretty and they have become unfashionable, but they're structurally sound and functional. Just because they're a bit grey doesn't mean people can't live here happily.""
  • Building4Change : How good for the economy is housing retrofit? – "The report gives a snapshot of British housing stock, highlighting the carbon ‘villains', perhaps unsurprisingly mainly big, draughty houses heated by electricity and oil. The good news is that there are relatively few of those homes. The biggest problem is owner-occupied and gas heated houses producing moderate CO2 emissions that exist in such large numbers that together they account for a major proportion of overall carbon emissions. But these properties tend to have more space, making them generally suitable for renewable energy installations."
  • A fifth of air-conditioning units face ban – The National – "DUBAI // Up to one in five air-conditioning units could be banned for failing to meet energy efficiency requirements when a new rating scheme is introduced next year.Although efficiency ratings are common in the West, Esma's initiative will be the first time a Gulf country has taken on the task.Esma is using an international ranking of efficiency that divides the cooling capacity of each air conditioner by the total electrical input. A ratio of 10 or higher is considered the most energy efficient. Esma has made a ratio of 5.9 its minimum requirement of energy efficiency.The experts suggested that the Government considers additional measures to trim the nation's energy consumption habits, such as changing building standards to demand more energy efficient cooling measures and raising electricity tariffs."
  • Cityscapes: Gehry’s 8 Spruce Street isn’t pursuing LEED certification; Gang’s Aqua is – "You may wonder: Why bother checking up on both buildings' green credentials? Here's why: Because these are two of the most acclaimed skyscrapers of our time, and they were designed by two of the most highly-publicized architects of our time. Gang is one of America's rising design stars; Gehry is today's most celebrated architect. What he, in particular, does–or doesn't do–can have enormous influence, not simply on architects but on developers. Because buildings play a major role in producing the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, it's important to examine Gehry's work through the lens of carbon footprint reduction, not just aesthetics. The key is to ask the question: Green or not green? Let's see where the question leads us."
  • Planning Portal – Sustainable development presumption and levy for affordable housing mooted – "The new “presumption in favour of sustainable development”, proposed as a key tenet of the new-look planning regime, may after all become part of the Government’s localism legislation, Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark has signalled….Originally the administration had argued that the presumption would not be on the face of the Bill but would be a centrepiece of the National Planning Framework."
  • Has the Price of Going Green Really Dropped? Some Hoteliers See Red – Ouch: "However, even if green materials and construction costs have dropped, the price of hiring a consultant to meet certification standards remains high, some hoteliers complain. Gene Singleton, president of Summit Associates LLC of Raleigh. N.C., a hotel developer, said that when his company built a $24 million project, it spent $240,000 on green measures before deciding to go with a LEED program. “But you still need a LEED consultant as interpreter. It’s really stupid,” he says. “Hurry up with the LEED conversion to the English language!” Other developers share his frustration. “The issue is that it is not only the engineering cost. The engineering cost is not the point. But the consultants that you bring in to get you the green certificate, that’s where the cost is,” says Taufiq Valiani, president of New Horizons Hospitality, a developer and property manager based in Houston, who attended the conference. New Horizons owns and manages three Hilton family hotels in Houston."
  • Interview with Jaime Lerner « The Dirt – I had the good fortune to same Jaime speak live a couple of years ago (he's now a hero). Great interview, worth reading the whole thing: "If you want creativity, cut one zero from your budget. If you want sustainability, cut two zeroes from your budget. And if you want solidarity, assume your identity and respect others’ diversity. There are three main issues that are becoming important, not only for your city, but for the whole of mankind. These relate to three key issues in cities: mobility, sustainability, and tolerance (or social diversity)."
  • Enplanner — Enplanner — Login – Another 'Merton Rule' type piece of software. A few of these on the market – but beware – only about 8 authorities ACTUAL requirements reflected (default is Merton rule of 10%).
  • ACE – Is this the key to finally beating fuel poverty? – "The definition of a household being in fuel poverty has long been that those present need to spend over 10% of disposable income (after housing benefit) just to keep warm. The operative word here is “need”. In many cases, a deliberate decision is now being taken to choose between burning fuel and purchasing other necessities. Literally, heating, or eating. Where households have been under-heating as a result, the magnitude of the fuel bill savings will be lower. The household may well need to increase the temperature of the property to a healthy level. This renders them unlikely to comply with the most fundamental tenet of the Green Deal Finance concept, the Golden Rule. This Rule requires there to be sufficient savings on the household fuel bill to enable the initial capital (plus interest) to be repaid over the loan period. As a result, many of those now struggling to heat their homes could be ineligible for the scheme."
  • 500 Internal Server Error – 500 Internal Server Error