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Links for October 20th through October 24th

by Mel Starrs on October 27, 2011

in News

These are my links for October 20th through October 24th:

  • The Pros and Cons of Cargo Container Architecture | ArchDaily – "Reusing containers seems to be a low energy alternative, however, few people factor in the amount of energy required to make the box habitable. The entire structure needs to be sandblasted bare, floors need to be replaced, and openings need to be cut with a torch or fireman’s saw. The average container eventually produces nearly a thousand pounds of hazardous waste before it can be used as a structure….
  • Green design is good for business, not politics – US article: "If you run your building efficiently, then it costs less to do business here," said Blake Peterson of Ashforth Pacific, who heads the energy and environment committee of the city's chapter of the Building Owners and Managers Association.
    "Properties choose to do energy-efficient projects because they make financial sense."
    That's not politics. It's a pragmatic approach to our future, and the urban world so many of us share. Common sense about a changing world – what a concept.
  • What’s the Greenest Building? The Problem With Ranking Systems – Auden Schendler & Mike Toffel – Life – The Atlantic – Really interesting article and steps beyond where most sustainability buildings ratings lie – what goes on in the building once it's built or what is the attitude of those who own the building. Tricky ground – can it (should it?) be done?: "Including advocacy in criteria will make rankings more accurate, but will also steer consumers and investors in a positive direction."
  • NASA – NASA Partners with DOE to Construct ‘Greenest’ Federal Building – Via Brian D, fascinating article: "When considering the design of this new office building, Ames used the analogy of it being "the first lunar outpost on Earth." It was even named "Sustainability Base," in honor of Apollo 11's lunar landing site Tranquility Base. Designed as a "closed-loop," sustainable building, it not only uses repurposed NASA technologies to conserve energy and reduce water consumption, but it also uses regional natural resources, such as natural lighting and the captured, cooler temperatures of the night air.
    Because Berkeley Lab has extensive expertise in building technologies, systems, tools, and processes, it can help NASA Ames monitor the building's performance for maximum efficiency and make suggestions for potential performance improvements. In addition, Berkeley Lab will provide advice regarding the new building's overall performance assessment."
  • Active House – a vision | Active House – Via Rory Bergin, yet another creed for housing: "Active House is a vision of buildings that create healthier and more comfortable lives for their occupants without negative impact on the climate – moving us towards a cleaner, healthier and safer world." Why are we all so obsessed with labelling things?
  • SUDS – Sustainable drainage systems – Wealth of info from CIRIA: "SuDS have been successfully designed and incorporated into an increasing number of developments from residential schemes and schools to motorway service areas and commercial properties. There are a range of design manuals to help ensure that designs are fit for purpose and that the SuDS Management Train principles are applied, ie source control, site control and finally regional control. The SuDS Manual (CIRIA publication C697) will guide you through the design process and can be referred to by those checking designs and calculations to ensure that sustainable drainage principles have been applied."
  • Footprint » AECB Annual Conference 2011 – Interesting: "Brian [Ford] asked whether ‘MVHR has become the default option’ that is put into homes no matter what, because it is easier than working out a natural ventilation system that functions properly. He proposed that there should be a threshold for MVHR use, which exists in Germany where MVHR is not fitted unless the air tightness is below 1.5m3/hr/yr @ 50pa.
    With such a wealth of knowledge and experience at the AECB, even the most experienced of lecturers get a grilling, and Brian Ford was no exception. His audience was made up of a collection of stalwart Passivhaus converts, who know their airtightness and their MVHR and were quick to question his theories. This made for an interesting debate on the merits of mechanical versus natural ventilation."
  • Scaling up Retrofit – the need, the opportunities and the difficulties | Bere:Architects – Scathing comment on UK policy: "Often in the UK it is said that there is no money for deep retrofit improvements and at the same time the UK is spending billions of pounds on the scramble to reap the benefits of a government feed-in-tariff, funded by a tax on energy bills. This same mechanism could and should be used to create British jobs doing the fundamental and less glamorous work of deep fabric improvements including insulation and decent windows that improve the comfort and reduce the fuel costs of UK citizens for generations to come, starting with the elderly and disabled. Instead government legislation has ended up funding the absurd dash to put mostly imported photovoltaic panels, with an expected life of just 25 years, on roofs of buildings that are leaky and uninsulated, before the funding gets reduced in March 2012. ‘Fabric First’ is now widely established common sense – but government sources of funding are driving through a reverse policy to this!"