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Links for August 6th through August 10th

by Mel Starrs on August 11, 2011

in News

These are my links for August 6th through August 10th:

  • What is Energy Use Intensity? ASHRAE Seeks to Define, Educate – Interesting (though I foresee problems – see conclusions wrt Part L2 and zero carbon recently in UK): “• Establish a single objective definition of energy use intensity (EUI) for the design of commercial buildings
    • Determine a single objective baseline EUI for design of commercial buildings from which to measure relative energy use reductions
    • Create a performance environment that will support reduction in energy consumption associated with all loads in commercial buildings
    • Identify a single objective set of commercial building types and simulation models for establishment of target design EUIs
    • Produce one set of design target EUIs for the commercial building sector to guide the development of future energy codes and standards and building energy codes adopted by state and local government”
  • Forestry Commission – Climate Change – Woodland Carbon Code – About the code – The basics – Interesting that only woodland planted in past 10 years will count (counting sequestration up to 100 years, the 10 year rule to do with adding new woodland). Will be interesting to see tension between this and biomass demand: “The potential of woodlands to soak up CO2 from the atmosphere while providing a host of other benefits for society and biodiversity is becoming increasingly recognised, and many individuals and businesses wish to contribute to tree planting to help society soak up the carbon it emits. But before investing in such projects people want to know that schemes will actually deliver the carbon savings that they claim. The Woodland Carbon Code will provide that reassurance. The voluntary code will encourage a consistent approach to woodland carbon projects, and offer clarity and transparency to customers about the carbon savings that their contributions may realistically achieve.”
  • Straw houses are baling out council building plans | Society | The Guardian – Craig (of White Design) leading the charge on pre-fab straw bale (trad straw bale historically difficult to price due to prevalence of volunteer labour): “The house withstood gusts of 120mph and doubled the fire resistance required by building regulations. ModCell will soon set up a “flying factory”, where they will take over a space such as a farmyard to construct straw bale walls for 20 homes in Leeds for an “eco village” scheme. Local people will assemble the wall panels – straw bales that are pinned with long sticks like sharpened tooth picks and encased in a timber frame. Panels are seven or eight bales high and one bale thick. “That’s thicker than most walls today, but building regulations are making everybody else catch up,” says company director Craig White.”
  • How Chicago Can Make an Even Bigger Impact with Building Retrofits | Buildings | GreenBiz.com – Always good to find data which supports my gut feeling – Green Deal providers, please note!: “Most retrofit projects target 15 to 20 percent savings for a 10 to 15 percent return on investment, so it’s reasonable to expect Chicago to aim for similar results. However, a report by Better Bricks [PDF] shows that 50 recent existing building retrofits have achieved 30 to 80 percent savings with a similar return on investment (half of the buildings have measured savings, the other half’s savings are estimated).
    How can these buildings achieve factor three, four or even five energy savings over what is commonly achieved for no added cost? The answer is a commercial-building retrofit approach that Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a non-profit think-and-do tank, has defined a ” deep energy retrofit.”
    Deep energy retrofits improve the economics of efficiency and achieve bigger energy savings at similar cost, driving much larger savings than conventional, shallow retrofits.”
  • It Isn’t Easy Being Green in Europe – WSJ.com – Interesting seeing comments like this outside of industry press: “There also is a bit of confusion because there are two main green certificates issued. In the U.K., there is the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method. In the U.S., the Green Building Council publishes the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standard, or LEED.
    Both certificates measure more than just energy efficiency. They also take other factors into consideration that include waste management, air quality and access to public transportation….”It does appear that LEED is becoming more prevalent outside the U.S.,” said Mr. Probst.
    One reason that may be happening is many multinational corporations will tend to choose one certification that they will use world-wide.”
  • Sustainable Design Still Not Mainstream Among Design Professions « The Dirt – “Cramer offers a whole set of useful recommendations for firms, many of which would also be applicable to landscape architecture firms. He says “principal leaders of organizations should find a way to walk the talk and be role models for sustainable design in their own ecosystems.” In addition, leaders need to focus on branding around sustainable design, offering higher levels of in-house continuing education, moving their staff far beyond LEED, thinking regionally about environmental impacts, committing to Architecture 2030, and pushing for green building codes and regulations at the local levels.”
  • LEED 2012 Second Public Comment Period Opens – BuildingGreen.com – “The new draft is rife with changes, but among those surest to draw attention is an overhaul of the Materials & Resources (MR) section (see Tables 1 and 2). Scot Horst, senior vice president for LEED at USGBC, explained that the section puts new emphasis on both life-cycle assessment (LCA) and transparency by manufacturers. “It’s a transition from where we think the market needs to get to be up-to-date with the rest of the world, and where it is right now,” he told EBN. Horst notes worldwide trends in increased reliance on LCA in evaluating relative impacts of products and materials from extraction to manufacture through use and disposal. Hand in hand with that is increased transparency of what is in products and what the impacts of those ingredients are. Disclosure by manufacturers of LCA data and use of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) contribute to credits in the new draft.”
  • Ray Anderson, sustainable business pioneer, dies aged 77 | Guardian Sustainable Business | guardian.co.uk – Ray’s vision of zero was on the premise that it was hard, and would take time to reach. Note he didn’t redefine zero to fit into arbitrary time targets. I’ll be re-reading his books over next few months: “Is it any wonder that many business customers and end consumers are a little confused? So I asked about the internal impact of the sustainability agenda – and specifically of Mission Zero. “Zero footprint, expressed as reaching the top of Mount Sustainability, has been the most powerfully motivating initiative I have ever seen in 55 years of business,” Ray replied, “providing a shared higher purpose for 4,000 people. For this to take hold throughout the business world, a change in the business paradigm is needed.””
  • Ray Anderson: An Appreciation | Business | GreenBiz.com – “Anderson, you likely know, was founder and chairman of Interface, Inc., the Georgia-based carpet maker that has set what may well be the highwater sustainability benchmark of any industrial company. That benchmark was Anderson’s doing, way back in the early 1990s, when he experienced the “spear in the chest” epiphany that would launch the thousand or more speeches he would subsequently make around the world, along with writing two inspiring books.”
  • ACE – Follow China’s example on energy efficiency – “Between 1980 and 2002, China decoupled energy consumption from growth. GDP rose eight-fold, energy use only doubled. But then China joined the World Trade Organization, and launched the Big Expansion turning China into the great world economy. Sadly, between 2002 and 2005, that proud energy intensity record went into reverse. Overwhelmed by the dash for growth, it actually worsened by 5 per cent each year. At the very top, the trend was spotted. Most unusually the Politburo itself intervened. It demanded that this trend be reversed. For the five year period from 2005 energy intensity was required to improve by 20 per cent. That happened. There is now a mandated 15.6 per cent improvement.”