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Links for February 10th through February 15th

by Mel Starrs on February 17, 2012

in News

These are my links for February 10th through February 15th:

  • Viability of building material reuse centres in the UK – Publications – News, Publications & Events | BioRegional: solutions for sustainability – "The study explores the environmental benefits of reuse and provides an in-depth assessment of the market for reusable materials addressing a range of groups. A set or parameters were devised as a means of measuring economic, social and environmental impact against which existing reuse centres have been analysed. Interviews were then conducted with key stakeholders in the field of reuse and findings discussed.
    The paper concludes that BMRCs have a key role to play in reducing the environmental impact of construction which can deliver broad social benefits. Significant barriers exist presently within industry, consumer culture and in policy which make establishing a BRMC extremely challenging, although opportunities do exist where particular sets of characteristics can be brought together."
  • Benchmarking energy consumption and CO2 emissions from rainwater-harvesting systems: an improved method by proxy – Ward – 2011 – Water and Environment Journal – Wiley Online Library – So although only 0.07% of an office, much WORSE than we previously thought: "Comparison of the simple and improved methods identified the former underestimates pump energy consumption and carbon emissions by 60%."
  • Energy implications for rainwater harvesting – Sustainability news and articles form NBS – via Get Sust newsletter: "Overall, the total energy consumption of the rainwater harvesting system under test accounted for just 0.07% of the total energy use in the office – negligible when compared to the overall energy use of a modern office building. In addition, the system used marginally less energy than mains water distribution, and cost less per m³ of water. The water-saving benefits of rainwater harvesting were also significant."
  • Phenomenal cosmic skyscrapers — itty bitty environmental savings | Grist – "The city of Paris clocks in at about 54,300 people per square mile, and height restrictions have kept the height of most buildings there to five or six stories, tops. Still, New York City and central Paris are expensive places to live — not everyone can afford it. That highlights one of the confounding factors in the quest to densify cities: It drives up the cost of living. High-rises only contribute to the problem because they’re so expensive to build and maintain.
    Creating dense, livable cities is a difficult problem, and difficult problems are seldom solved simply. High-rises have been pitched as that easy solution. They’re not.
    That’s not to say skyscrapers don’t have a place in cities — they absolutely do, whether they house offices, condos, or shops. But they’re not a silver bullet. I’d hate to see us start stacking floor on top of floor until we’ve lost touch with the world. We’re more creative than that, right?"
  • More low-down on tall buildings | Better! Cities & Towns Online – Interesting: "There is a growing body of research on the benefits and drawbacks of tall buildings, and this research gives a decidedly mixed picture. Indeed there are significant negative ecological impacts of tall buildings, as well as other negative factors, and the ecological benefits are not as great as is often assumed. We summarize some of this research below, and offer a sampling of citations."
  • Review> Industrial Strength – The Architect’s Newspaper – Worth reading entire review – added to wishlist: "Tumber envisions an alternative for Janesville and cities like it: a low-carbon future. Small-to-medium-size cities have an inherent competitive advantage that enables them to restructure in a sustainable manner. Their depopulated centers are perfect for installing urban gardens and community farms. Their sparsely developed suburban belts are ideal staging grounds in an emerging market for sustainable agriculture. Their slow growth patterns are opportunities to develop green manufacturing. All they have to do is plan for the eventuality of oil running out, tear down all the highways running through downtowns, plant vacant lots with vegetables, get the government to build a trillion dollar high-speed rail system that connects to small cities, and wait thirty or forty years."
  • The Olympic Park Energy Strategy | London 2012 – "This case study describes the energy strategy implemented on the Park and emphasises the importance of developing a project-specific energy strategy that optimises energy demand and carbon reduction, while being cognisant of the rapidly changing policies, technologies, economics and regulation in energy supply and demand."
  • Development and use of BREEAM for Olympic Park venues | London 2012 – "This research paper explains why BREEAM was selected and how a new, bespoke version was developed and applied. Particular reference is made to two venues: the Aquatics Centre and the Velodrome."
  • USGBC Blog: Self-Reliance Becomes a Movement – "Green building is not just about conserving resources, or recycling, or achieving Platinum certification. Rather, it's the universal ideals of independence and interdependence, of self-reliance and self-less collaboration that are at the core of our movement, and that have attracted such incredible support. From all professions and walks of life, from men and women all across the political spectrum, from the young and the old, from places up and down the economic food chain: People want to be part of our movement."