Previous post:

Next post:

Links for June 5th through June 8th

by Mel Starrs on June 8, 2012

in News

These are my links for June 5th through June 8th:

  • Disaster Resilience Part of Sustainability, Too – “…are starting to promote the concept of resilience — the ability for a community or structure to survive and quickly recover from a disaster — as essential for green building. Any building, after all, represents tremendous amounts of “embodied energy” from extracting raw materials, transporting them, and ultimately discarding them when a building is no longer usable. What happens if it’s destroyed long before its predicted lifespan? All that energy will again need to be expended.”
  • Just how big can car-sharing get? – The Washington Post – Fascinating: “But here’s the twist. For the most part, the people who sign up for car-sharing services were barely driving anyway. On average, Americans who use these sharing services see their car ownership numbers drop from 0.47 cars per household down to 0.24 cars per household. In other words, they went from barely owning cars to… barely owning cars. In contrast, car ownership for the country as a whole is about 1.87 vehicles per household. That’s one reason the effect on climate pollution is so small.”
  • Part F testing reveals catalogue of horrors – Modern Building Services – “95% of systems tested failed to meet the requirements.
    There were not enough fans in 25% of buildings, and fans were not big enough in a further 15%. There was no boost function in 7.5%. BSRIA suggests that these findings show either ignorance of the changes to Building Regulations or a total disregard for them.
    The wrong data to calculate minimum air-volume flow rates was used in 7.5% of buildings.”
  • Being normal — an engineering perspective – Modern Building Services – Please do take time to read the whole thing – David Fisk’s CIBSE presential address – excellent points in there: “One of his biggest concerns is what he dubs the mother of all verbal nonsense, ‘sustainability’, and the misplaced effort being put in to achieve it.”
  • Reducing CO2 emissions in the domestic sector – presentation for ESRI GIS conference / Existing housing / Local authorities and housing associations / Publications / Home (United Kingdom) – Energy Saving Trust – “The presentation highlighted how we have calculated the roof orientation of every property in the UK to determine potential for solar PV. We have also measured the distance of every home to the gas grid. With this data combined with data we have calculated on garden size can, we can really begin to understand the potential for things like heat pumps in the UK market, right down to the address level.”
  • CHPA publishes first map of district heating schemes – The CHPA identified over 200 existing heat networks – a mixture of residential, commercial and public sites – with a further 70 in development. Analysis of the figures revealed that:
    The average residential and commercial scheme has over 650 dwellings and 31,000m2 non-domestic floor area connected. The largest residential scheme is being planned in the Nine Elms development in Vauxhall, London, which will have over 16,000 homes connected.
    Over 53,000 homes currently have their heat supplied by district heating, with another 46,000 homes expected to connect to networks over the next five years.
    Domestic heating bills are reduced by as much as 50%. Of those schemes that provided figures, bills were reduce by an average of 18% for domestic customers and 13% for commercial customers.
    38% of district heating schemes utilise renewable fuels of some form. The majority of these are biomass boilers, with some use of biogas or municipal waste.
    20% of DH provide cooling…
  • Closing the gap between design and performance – Modern Building Services – “SBEM is a tool for assessing compliance with Part L and producing the Energy Performance Certificate. It will give you a result in kilograms of carbon dioxide per square metre per year, but it will not be much use when it comes to benchmarking real-life energy performance.
    Instead, build a proper model that takes into account process and ‘plug’ loads as well as regulated energy use, hours of occupancy for each space, shading provided by trees in the Summer, and the exact plant items installed, not just generic ones selected from pull-down menus.
    Alternatively, benchmark your building against others of similar age and type. … using a new version of CIBSE’s Energy Assessment Tool, TM22. … The latest version enables benchmarking of targets and results using DEC benchmarks, CIBSE TM46 benchmarks, or benchmarks from a client’s property portfolio.”
  • Redefining zero: carbon profiling as a solution to whole life carbon emission measurement in buildings | Downloads | Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – This report, by Sturgis Associates, proposes a new approach to measuring the carbon emissions of buildings, by combining the embedded and operational emissions of buildings.
  • Low-carbon buildings need low embodied energy – Good overview of the ICE database: “So how can designers apply embodied energy and carbon values? It’s clear that the primary value of the ICE data is for comparative assessments of materials options. A typical use would be for a structural engineer who is weighing up the options for a concrete or steel-framed building. A simple calculation can begin with working out the weight of each material to achieve an equivalent structural system, and using the embodied factors to provide total embodied figures for comparison.”
  • Delivering Energy Efficiency in London | energy for london – 31 May 2012: Think tank Future of London having been working with local authorities and other key energy efficiency delivery agents in London over the past few months considering how the Government’s Green Deal programme can be successfully implemented in the capital. The result of these discussions have been published today in a report entitled ‘Delivering Energy Efficiency in London‘. The role of local authorities and other local partners is – as DECC states on its website – “likely to be key in ensuring effective and intensive delivery of the ECO and Green Deal in particular areas.”
  • How to Save the Global Economy: Build Green Cities – by Alex Steffen | Foreign Policy – From Alex Steffen: “I suggest new innovation zones: specific parts of cities (perhaps currently underutilized or abandoned) that can be turned over to small- and mid-scale experiments in carbon-zero work, commerce, and living. Think of them as seedbeds for new urban ways of life. Guided by clear, basic rules and fast-tracked permitting, and encouraged by connections with local industry and universities, such zones could quickly become hothouses for growing the kinds of city-building businesses that will feed the global economy as it surges into this urban century. If they bloom, they will draw the kind of creative young people every city is fighting for; what many of the brightest of the next generation want most of all is to participate in making a better future.”
  • You’ve Heard About Slow Food. What We Really Need Is Slow Design | Co.Design: business + innovation + design – Michael Bardin’s Slow Architecture principles will be instantly recognisable to anyone involved in ‘sustainable’ buildings: “In the best case, slow architecture can become a charismatic global consumer phenomenon. Whether or not slow design becomes a recognized phenomenon, designers and design firms that align with the broad goals of a movement of this kind may find the place where economic growth and sustainability can coexist.”
  • Can a Sustainable City Rise in the Middle Eastern Desert?: Scientific American – An old article on Masdar (which I’m still a little obsessed with): “Achieving that sustainability requires planning, and the planned city has long been the dream of architects, engineers and others, from the re-creation of Paris by Baron Hausmann in the 19th century to redesigning the city around “green” in more recent decades. However, much like the sterile planned cities imagined by imperial rulers—from the caliph Al Mansur founding Baghdad in A.D. 762 to Brasilia born of an idea from an imperial-era planner and finally built to open up Brazil’s interior to settlement in 1956—these new designs aimed at improving the ecological soundness of cities suffer from an inability to be organic. The “garden cities” of the U.K., like Letchworth built outside of London in 1902, quickly faded into the surrounding sprawl as people repurposed the planned communities.”
  • New Solar-Thermal Flat Panels Generate Electricity and Hot Water All at Once | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building – An old article: “A team of researchers from Boston College and MIT have developed a hybrid flat panel that is capable of producing electricity from the sun’s rays as well as hot water for thermal energy. The team’s new flat panel is eight times more efficient than previously developed solar thermoelectric generators and could make solar thermoelectric technology more cost effective on a wider scale. Solar Thermal energy is expensive and generally employed in large installations — like the one above — with this new flat panel, solar thermal energy could become a much more valuable investment. The team has increased the energy output without adding much to the dollar sign side of the equation.”