Previous post:

Next post:

Links for March 15th through March 19th

by Mel Starrs on March 20, 2012

in News

These are my links for March 15th through March 19th:

  • Building4Change : Storage reduces effectiveness of loft insulation – "The research highlights the practicality issues with lofts in the UK," said Dave Raval, head of entrepreneur fast track at The Carbon Trust. "Lofts should be insulated to the recommended 270mm, but homeowners also need the loft for storage. To board-out a loft the insulation is reduced to the height of the joists, which is either 75mm or 100mm, or the insulation is compressed below 270mm by placing items on it – both of these reduce the thermal capabilities of insulation and undermine its effectiveness.
  • Written Ministerial Statement on the publication by Professor Hills of the final report of his independent review of fuel poverty – Department of Energy and Climate Change – Consultation on new definition due in summer: "Professor Hills published an interim report in October 2011. He argued that fuel poverty was a serious problem, distinct from income poverty. He suggested it was an issue of concern from the perspective of poverty, health and well-being and cutting carbon. He also argued that the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000 was correct to describe fuel poverty as a problem affecting people on low incomes who cannot keep warm at reasonable cost. He explained that the current definition of fuel poverty – which calculates the ratio of required fuel expenditure to income – was flawed and did not support effective policy-making and delivery. He proposed a new measurement approach separating the extent of the issue (the number of people affected) from its depth (how badly affected people are)."
  • Adding creativity to the engineering mix – Modern Building Services – Philip King of Hilson Moran: "How do you think the rest of the world perceives engineers? Are we seen as imaginative, dynamic or creative? I fear not. Rather, we are seen as decidedly unexciting characters, uninspiring even and, perhaps, most distressing considering our combined and collective achievements over hundreds of years, as nerdy and dull. Is this the fault of the media or the scientific, mathematical bent of our work?"
  • Drivers of eco design | Analysis | Building Design – Good overview – worth reading whole article: "The LBC is one of a growing number of environmental assessment tools, including BREEAM, EU Green Building, LEED and CEEQUAL, that will be used in 2012. There are concerns that the increased use of such tools will change the focus of the design and construction team to one of achieving compliance with the tool at the expense of a building’s overall performance. “There is too much focus on getting the certificate and not enough focus on the underlying performance,” Morrin warns.
    It’s a point that Matt Kitson, director of sustainability at consultant Hilson Moran, picks up. He says such tools need to have a much broader focus to include all aspects of sustainability and not simply environmental issues. “Environmental tools should be developed in line with the four pillars of sustainability – environmental, social, cultural and economic,” he says…"
  • Renewable Heat Incentive off to slow start | Online News | Building – Figures from Ofgem show that only 10 installations with a total capacity of 3.5MWh have been accredited since the scheme, which is currently only open to non-domestic installations, launched in November last year.
    The government’s has said it expects an extra 57million MWh of capacity to be installed by 2020, which equates to around 6.3million MWh of capacity each year through to 2020.
    Wright added: “I don’t think people understand the metering requirements. You have to have an approved assessment and it has to be assessed by a qualified assessor and I think there are relatively few assessors.”
  • Building Labeling Program Helps Building Owners Save Energy | ashrae.org – Whilst we in the UK dither over making DEC's regulation, ASHRAE in US have piloted and now implemented a market driven system: "The key component of the program is the in-operation assessment and the ASHRAE Level I Energy Audit, which serves as the industry standard for determining a building’s energy use and producing an actionable plan to improve building performance. To meet bEQ’s requirements, the assessment must be performed by an ASHRAE-Certified Building Energy Assessment Professional"
  • Ancient ‘air-conditioning’ cools building sustainably – CNN.com – "At the height of summer, in the sweltering industrial suburbs of Jaipur, Rajasthan in north-west India, the Pearl Academy of Fashion remains 20 degrees cooler inside than out — by drawing on Rajasthan's ancient architecture.
    While the exterior appears very much in keeping with the trends of contemporary design, at the base of the building is a vast pool of water — a cooling concept taken directly from the stepwell structures developed locally over 1,500 years ago to provide refuge from the desert heat.
    Award-winning architect Manit Rastogi, who designed the academy, explains that baoli — the Hindi word for stepwell — are bodies of water encased by a descending set of steps."
  • Open windows could help beat superbugs, says expert – Science – News – The Independent – "Florence Nightingale may have had a point when she insisted 150 years ago that open windows were the hallmark of a healthy hospital ward, according to a microbiologist who believes air conditioning and an ultra-sterile environment may actually contribute to infections."Open windows let bacteria in from outside and you will either dilute out the pathogens, or you are not allowing the pathogens to establish themselves because there is too much competition for the nutrients and energy that the bacteria need to survive," Dr Gilbert told the American Association for the Advancement of Science."
  • A Power Grid of Their Own: German Village Becomes Model for Renewable Energy – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International – Not entirely sure this is a replicable model, all told! But interesting case study nonetheless, especially with regards local energy independence: "Feldheim's strong wind and abundant land are pretty much the only reason that Michael Raschermann, head of Energiequelle Gmbh, decided to install a wind turbine in the village. Now the wind park has more turbines than the village has houses."
  • Gimme bomb shelter: FEMA pushes for disaster-proof green buildings | Grist – "It’s early yet, but there may be a day when, if you want to get your house LEED certified, you’ll need to prove not just that it is eco-friendly today, but that it can survive Mother Nature’s worst in order to be so a few decades from now.
    That may or may not be the case with today’s green buildings, says Green Building Council vice president of research Chris Pyke. When designing buildings, engineers use something called a “typical meteorological year,” which is derived from past climate conditions, he explains. “When they do that, they’re baking yesterday’s weather into your building today and hoping that it will perform tomorrow.”
    If there’s good news here, it’s that a lot of the things we’re doing to green our buildings today will also make them more resilient in the long run. The researchers call these “no regrets” measures, and they include everything from heavily insulated walls and ceilings to reflective and green roofs."
  • There’s more to good architecture than being sustainable | The Urbanist – I'm on the fence on this – I see the point he's making but unlike structural integrity not every building *can* be sustainable?: "I think it’s time to stop treating sustainability in architecture like it’s the precocious child that needs to be singled out and lavished with constant attention for fear it will shrivel up and die.
    We don’t single out many other performance attributes of buildings for special consideration – for example, structural integrity, economic efficiency, or user safety – but we keep treating sustainability as if it should be in the special needs class."
  • James Dyson On The Lazy Engineering Behind Fake Energy Efficiency | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation – Dyson defending good engineering "Dyson says he hates it when manufacturers market their products as environmentally friendly without making genuine engineering improvements. "People install a small motor and say 'This is green, it’s good for the environment.' But if they haven’t made the vacuum cleaner more efficient, then it’s a bit of a con. I can fit a 10 amp motor instead of a 12 amp one, and claim my product is green because it uses 2 amps less. But that’s just a cheap marketing trick. It’s not answering the real problem of using 10 amps to achieve 12 amp performance.""
  • Sponda’s Ducat II office building in Moscow receives a BREEAM certificate (RU) – The Sponda Plc-owned Ducat II office building located in Moscow’s city center, built in 1997, has been granted BREEAM® In-Use environmental certification with a ‘Good’ rating. The office building, located in a central area of Moscow at Gasheka 7, is home to numerous international law offices.