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Links for April 7th through April 13th

by Mel Starrs on April 14, 2011

in News

These are my links for April 7th through April 13th:

  • Olympic Games transport could spark EU pollution fines – 12 Apr 2011 – News from BusinessGreen – "It concluded that the ODA and London Organising Committee (LOCOG) are on track to reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent as planned, but they will only deliver nine per cent of electricity from renewables, rather than the 20 per cent target originally set."
  • Defending LEED – "Do I think that LEED is perfect? Absolutely not. No system is perfect. And yes, some criticism is deserved – and needed to keep improving what has become the most dominant green building program in the world. But there is a big difference in criticism that is intended to make the program stronger – so that it can continue to contribute to lowering environmental impact and changing the building culture – and criticism that is intended to tear down and destroy something that I believe has done a lot of good in the world. The former is essential – if not always appreciated – the latter is destructive and typically self-serving of particular corporate or individual interests."
  • Natural Step US to merge with Cascadia Green Building Council | Sustainable Industries – "Intellectually, the groups share an interest in envisioning the end result they want — sustainable places and companies — and then mapping out a path to getting there, rather than focusing on making current practices a little less harmful. It’s an approach Henrik Robèrt calls backcasting."
  • Net-Zero-Energy versus Passivhaus | – Martin Holladay has a downer on Passivhaus – first of a series of critical reviews (some points valid but I know will ruffle some feathers). Long but interesting read: "So here's my recommendation: design your house using the net-zero-energy approach to cost optimization — but don't buy or install the PV array."
  • The Tyee – Five Myths About Green Building – Excellent article – read it all: "Green buildings have earned a reputation for being large, complicated and absurdly expensive. This is particularly true in Vancouver, where taxpayers are still forking out millions of dollars a month in interest payments on the world's first LEED Platinum neighbourhood — the 2010 Olympic Village."
  • About Us » Green Buildings Alive – "The outside appearance of a building often gives very little indication of how well it operates. Environmentally friendly attributes may make a building better, and they may make it worse.<br />
    The only reliable indication comes from real, measured data and unfortunately, this can be very hard to come by.<br />
    By making more building performance data available we can transform how people engage with buildings. Their occupants will be better informed and their operators will be more appreciated.<br />
    That's why the Investa Sustainability Institute created Green Buildings Alive."
  • – I'm very late pointing this one out (good to see such diversity in the list!?): "Construction News' inaugural power list of the 21 most influential people in low-carbon construction highlights who is making a difference and where more needs to be done"
  • Ten Point Sustainable Project Criteria – Willmott Dixon Group – Interesting approach to sustainability from Willmott Dixon including targets for BREEAM and CSH: 'We are unique in that all our projects are measured by our in-house ten point sustainable criteria.<br />
    This determines how sustainable they are against our list of priorities and sets targets for year-on-year improvement to ensure we reach our pre-determined goals for sustainable construction by 2014.<br />
    We have tailored each plan for our three major contracting businesses, Construction, Housing and Interiors, to reflect their markets and ensure we deliver our low carbon, zero waste goals. Our plans are essential to being a sustainable business."
  • ‘Living Buildings’ Could Help Tackle Climate Change | Impact Lab – Rachel Armstrong's work really intrigues me: “Adapting biological materials to create ‘living’ buildings may seem outlandish, and is not without its problems, given the time it takes to grow organisms and the need to feed them and manage their waste. But if architects can overcome these limitations and make the connection between artificial structures and natural ones, we could harness ‘metabolic materials’ such as bioluminescent bacteria that produce light through biochemistry, for example, and reduce our energy drain on the grid."
  • Brand New Energy Modeling Guidelines | Rethink Energy and Design – "COMNET’s recently published Commercial Buildings Energy Modeling Guidelines and Procedures are a lot more interesting than you might imagine. While intended as a guideline for building energy modelers and simulation software developers, architects interested in learning to increase their facility with the language of mechanical engineers, energy modelers and the energy performance requirements of green building rating systems, will find that this document can serve as a primer and roadmap to a realm of increased energy performance. (And unlike other publications written to convey that information, this one is free.)<br />
    …can be used to calculate percent savings for green building rating system points; and is used to estimate annual energy use during design, for energy labels. The modeling rules and procedures in the manual are consistent with the widely used Performance Rating Method (PRM) of Appendix G of ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007."
  • Challenge issued to create ‘living building’ – Home, Furniture & Design – – "Biophilia is defined as "a love of life and the living world." This wonderfully simple but powerful concept is embedded in the core philosophy of this greenest of green building programs. Other interesting aspects of the challenge include net zero energy and water use, urban agriculture, social justice and (gasp!) limits to growth. These are just a few examples of the sort of "deep green" goals that make the Living Building Challenge program both unique and meaningful."
  • The SROI Network – Home – "What about the social return on investment ratio?<br />
    SROI is an account of value creation and the account requires a mix of information including qualitative, quantitative and financial. In the same way as quoting a financial return on investment without any other information, the SROI ratio, by itself, has little meaning. The range of judgement that is permissible within an SROI analysis means that comparisons of SROI ratios alone are not recommended. Comparison of forecast and actual ratios provide the starting point for an understanding the reasons for the difference which will also need to draw on other types of information."
  • Passive House: Old Technique, New Trend | Technology | Epoch Times – I'm starting to collect Passivhaus examples from around the world – here's one in New York: "While this building style has been slow to catch on in the States, New York-based architecture firm, Loadingdock5, has taken the lead. Thanks to LD5, 174 Grand Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is scheduled to become the first Passive House in New York erected from the ground up."
  • Designing a Good Ventilation System | – US focused article which advocates 'build tight, ventilate right', except his version of build tight varies to mine, as he still relies on 'cracks' to let in air with an extract only system!!!: "Unfortunately, several research studies have shown that a high number of mechanical ventilation systems are poorly designed or installed. Among the common problems:<br />
    Ventilation fans with low airflow because of ducts that are undersized, crimped, convoluted, or excessively long.<br />
    Ventilation systems that ventilate at too high a rate, or for too many hours per day, resulting in a severe energy penalty.<br />
    Ventilation systems that waste energy because they depend on inappropriate fans (for example, 800-watt furnace blowers)."
  • – Study on German heat pump market foresees 800,000 units in use by 2020 – Interesting article also looks at potential of R744 (CO2) in HP's (not yet for heating): "The average heat output for currently installed systems is about 10 kW for brine-water heat pumps, 12 kW for air-water heat pumps, and 14 kW for water-water heat pumps. Due to better building isolation, heat demand has decreased by 5 kW since 1990. The test bench measurement (EN 14511) carried out by the Geothermal Center Bochum (GZB), attests air-water heat pumps with a COP of 3.4 and brine-water heat pumps with a COP of 4.5. Under real life conditions, air-water heat pumps have shown a performance of 3.0 in new buildings and 2.6 in building stock, while brine-water heat pumps achieve 3.8 in new buildings and 3.3 in building stock."
  • 500 Internal Server Error – 500 Internal Server Error
  • Time to redefine competence? – "Can you see where this is heading? If we can accept private building inspectors, and if we can accept areas of the building regs that just get signed off as having been done competently by some bod in a van who has been on a course, why not go the whole hog and have suitably qualified builders and architects who can sign off entire buildings as "meets current building regs?""
  • FTSE launches ethical ratings service – 07 Apr 2011 – News from BusinessGreen – "A decade after the launch of its FTSE4Good Index Series, the group yesterday launched ESG Ratings, a publicly available data service which claims to measure the environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices of more than 2,300 public companies around the world."