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Links for June 16th through June 21st

by Mel Starrs on June 23, 2011

in News

These are my links for June 16th through June 21st:

  • Engineers always do the business, Lord Sugar | James Dyson | Comment is free | The Observer – I don’t watch the Apprentice, but I approve of this defence of engineers from James Dyson: “”I’ve never met an engineer who can turn his hand to business,” pronounced Lord Sugar last week.
    Safe to say I disagree with him – engineers can lead successful businesses. In fact, 15% of FTSE 100 companies have engineers on their board. They are analytical problem solvers – it’s why the City loves engineers.”
  • Why is the UK backing biomass power? | Environment | – “And last month the government introduced sustainability criteria for the use of solid biomass to generate electricity. That stipulates a minimum greenhouse gas emissions saving of 60% compared with fossil fuel assessed across a lifecycle that considers the emissions associated with cultivation, processing and transport of the biomass, together with general restrictions on the use of materials from land important on carbon or biodiversity grounds.”
  • Now the gloves are off | Opinion | Building Design – Ellis Woodman comments on the aftermath of the James review – Ouch: “But the really bleak news came later that day when Wates and Capita Symonds proudly unveiled Adapt School Solutions – their “groundbreaking new model” which promises to allow existing buildings such as offices to be adapted for use as schools. Their claim is that such a strategy can deliver cost savings of as much as 60% compared with the new-build equivalent, and looking at the dismal rendering they released to illustrate the initiative one can almost believe them. Half of the depicted interior has no access to daylight while the minimal floor slab suggests a nothing if not optimistic approach to the challenges of ventilation. Classrooms are markedly smaller than current standards while it seems we can no longer afford to set our environmental ambitions higher than a Breeam target of “very good”.”
  • Designing the Energy Bill for success | the green living blog – “The Green Deal certainly has great potential. But as governments in other countries have learnt, removing the upfront cost of insulation and other energy efficiency measures doesn’t mean that people will install them.
    One American study of over 150 energy efficiency loan schemes in the US found that most of the programs reached less than 0.1 per cent of their potential customers in 2007. Not quite game-changing.
    Neither carrot nor stick
    The problem is that a loan for energy efficiency is neither a carrot nor a stick for householders. It only removes a financial barrier. To get widespread take-up of the Green Deal beyond a small engaged minority, government knows that it needs to design a scheme that works well, but also put measures in place to drive demand for it using “triggers and nudges” as Chris Huhne says.”
  • How can we measure sustainability? – Urban Energy Solutions – Interesting blog from Ramboll which emphasises the need for different solutions for different contexts: “The general opinion is that a building is more sustainable if it is a low energy house or even better a zero energy house having solar cells and wind turbines on the roof and highly insulated walls. We come in general to the opposite conclusion.”
  • Whose responsibility is it to reduce carbon emissions? | Guardian Sustainable Business | – “Companies tend to prefer issues where they can objectively measure before and after performance so that they can report on their performance. This has led to companies focusing on those issues that are amenable to quantification, which may not correspond to the areas where they have the greatest potential to exert influence.”
  • ISO – News – ISO launches ISO 50001 energy management standard – “ISO 50001 will provide public and private sector organizations with management strategies to increase energy efficiency, reduce costs and improve energy performance.”
  • Matrix | Carbon Hub – “Whilst we all have a responsibility to drive down carbon within the built environment, there are actions within the action plan that are industry or job role specific. In order to make it much easier for you to identify what actions you can start doing now we have developed a single view of all the actions, and who is responsible for doing these actions – the Carbon Action 2050 Matrix.”