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Links for December 8th through December 14th

by Mel Starrs on December 15, 2011

in News

These are my links for December 8th through December 14th:

  • Sustain | Whole Life Carbon in Construction Presentations – Interesting presentations from Sustain's embodied carbon event: "Finally Dr Jon Atkinson from Halcrow and Mark Wary formerly of SWRDA detailed the work they did together on 3 offices in the south west examining the embodied carbon impact of higher standards of sustainable new builds. The results showed that while buildings with higher BREEAM ratings or approaching zero carbon did have larger embodied carbon impacts this carbon was, in all cases, paid back in less than 5 years through the reduced operation carbon emissions."
  • Challenging the regulations – Modern Building Services – The Government is somewhat reluctant to make lighting controls, even those as basic as absence detectors, mandatory, so another approach is needed to really drive lighting energy consumption down. The answer lies in an integrated design solution, a move to a systems-based measure that fully reflects the use of controls.
    If Part L adopted energy-consumption targets for lighting, then it would change the emphasis away from the individual components and instead focus on drawing those components together to ensure a truly efficient lighting scheme. It’s not rocket science. Which is more efficient — a luminaire of 100 lm/W alight in an empty building or one of 40 lm/w switched off because controls have been properly applied?
    We already have a measurement tool at our disposal in LENI (Lighting Energy Numeric Indicator) which allows us to predict and benchmark the energy efficiency of lighting schemes, so implementing controls properly wouldn’t be difficult.
    It might be argued that such an
  • EERE News: DOE Releases New Version of EnergyPlus Modeling Software – "The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released the latest version of its building energy modeling software EnergyPlus, which calculates the energy required to heat, cool, ventilate, and light a building. EnergyPlus is used by architects and engineers to design more efficient buildings, by researchers to investigate new building and system designs, and by policymakers to develop energy codes and standards. The advanced physics calculations within EnergyPlus allows it to model a wide range of residential and commercial buildings and HVAC system types, including passive building designs and low-energy systems."
  • Occupant Engagement–Where Design Meets Performance – EBN: 20:11 – "There are many reasons for this performance gap, including errors made during both design and construction as well as missed opportunities regarding maintenance and repair after occupancy. The hardest-to-manage reason for longer-term performance gaps, however, is the way people live and work in their buildings. Individual occupants and the choices they make—opening, closing, overriding, plugging in, turning up, leaving on—directly affect the amount of energy used in every type of building, from single-family homes to mixed-use high-rises. While exact estimates vary, experts at Jones Lang LaSalle told EBN that in the properties they manage, an average of 50%–60% of energy use is directly related to how commercial building tenants use their space."
  • Building Certifications Help Businesses’ Image, Says Survey – "Seventy percent of Americans feel that certification of a company's facility by a third-party organization would enhance opinion of the business, according to a nationwide survey. A similar percentage of respondents said they would prefer to work in a facility that has been certified by a third-party environmental organization. Also, more than 60% percent of respondents said they would prefer to patronize a business whose facility is certified."
  • CIBSE Knowledge Portal – KS17 Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation – "This guide presents an overview of indoor air quality (IAQ) in buildings, and outlines how IAQ impacts on occupants’ health and performance. Ideally the surrounding environment and facilities in a particular space should provide healthy conditions in terms of sufficient fresh air, low pollution concentrations, adequate lighting and heating, access to drinking water and catering areas, and satisfactory sanitary installations. Cooling and/or air conditioning may also be needed depending on climate conditions and internal heat gains. The building should also have security and fire/smoke protection systems to protect the occupants and the building fabric in the event of unwanted intrusion and the outbreak of a fire or other undesirable high risk event (e.g. flooding)."
  • Operational and embodied carbon in new build housing – a reappraisal (NF34) ¦¦ Research & Publications ¦¦ NHBC Foundation – "The key results of this research are as follows:
    The modelling showed a typical percentage split between operational and embodied CO2eq of 62/38% for masonry construction, and 65/35% for timber-frame construction. These are averaged figures – for individual percentage splits, see Tables 3 to 14.
    No significant differences emerged between masonry and timber construction in terms of overall CO2 impact over the 60- and 120-year study periods. The largest difference observed between comparable masonry and timber constructions was 4%.
    The impact of grid electricity decarbonisation was more pronounced in the 120-year study, and indicated that electric heating may be a lower CO2 option in the long term."
  • THE Q&A: AUSTIN WILLIAMS, URBANIST | More Intelligent Life – Austin's book is out: "In the book you discussed whether eco-cities are the way forward for urban living. What conclusions did you come to?
    Some eco-cities are merely marketing labels to sell bog-standard urban developments to canny politicians; some have regressive anti-urbanist agendas but masquerade as urbanism. Then again some have good points in that they are, at least, urban agglomerations with much-needed housing. The bluster about zero-carbon is farcical when you explore the figures.
    In the book I carried out a simple comparison of Tianjin in China and London using the criteria by which Tianjin markets itself as an eco-city. Even though the conclusions are tongue-in-cheek, the data are interesting….If I was being mischievous, I might conclude that London is actually way ahead in environmental terms of a purpose-made Chinese eco-city."
  • Building4Change : Consortium develops tool to assess environmental impact of design – "The tool will be able to explore, for example, which building shapes and what materials have the lowest impacts – and the costs over the life of the building. In addition, it can be used to optimise operational (in-use) and embodied energy. Results from IMPACT are designed to be integrated into relevant credits in BREEAM assessments."
  • Meeting the needs of the industry – Interesting sensible piece on electric heating: "In addition, it’s likely that hot water cylinders will very soon be labelled, just like other domestic appliances such as fridges and washing machines, in accordance with the European Commission’s Eco-Design of Energy Related Products (ErP) Directive. Again, we believe this will be mandatory from 2013, and that direct electric cylinders will be penalised due to the energy generation efficiency factor being applied to electrical products."
  • The myth of renewable energy | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – Thought provoking piece, worth reading: "Unfortunately, "renewable energy" is a meaningless term with no established standards. Like an emperor parading around without clothes, it gets a free pass, because nobody dares to confront an inconvenient truth: None of our current energy technologies are truly renewable, at least not in the way they are currently being deployed. We haven't discovered any form of energy that is completely clean and recyclable, and the notion that such an energy source can ever be found is a mirage."
  • Low-carbon district heating systems critical to the affordable reduction of carbon emissions says WYG specialist – 18/11/2011 – AM12 has been updated: "the conference entitled 'What is the future for CHP and District Heating in the UK?' formed the launch of a major update to CIBSE's key CHP publication AM12, on the future for CHP and District Heating"
  • Transparency – Perkins + Wills take materials seriously: "We believe that it is appropriate to apply the precautionary principle when selecting and specifying products and materials in light of the lasting impact such materials may have on the users of facilities we design. We need to make our selections based upon governmentally published scientific advice and knowledge which, in keeping with the precautionary principle, indicates a relevant adverse finding as it relates to human health or materially negative environmental impact, with the understanding that we live in a world without scientific certainty. We will seek to, where possible and appropriate, present alternatives to our clients for their consideration, providing, within the standard of professional care, information we have which is summarized here, as well as cost and lifecycle information where it is reasonably available."
  • Bengt Cousins-Jenvey : Research and Ideas – "The TED talks of Hans Rosling, David McCandless and Eric Berlow inspired the data visualisation below. Some materials do not seem to obey the linear relationship when embodied carbon and energy are compared. Stainless steel, bitumen, a large number of plastics, adhesives and sealants are all outliers."
  • USGBC Blog: Scaling up Energy Efficiency Financing – "Every $1 of GEF support for energy efficiency catalyzes a reduction of about 2.2 tons of CO2. The same investment in renewables catalyzes a reduction of 0.4 tons. Some energy efficiency investments, such as lighting, offer paybacks in a matter of weeks. Meanwhile, fossil fuel subsidies, which hinder efficiency investments by artificially lowering the cost of energy, remain larger than public spending on health in many countries."
  • Two contractors set to guarantee energy performance | Magazine News | Building – "Skanska and Willmott Dixon are gearing up to be the first main contractors to guarantee the energy performance of their new buildings in their contracts with clients."