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Links for June 22nd through June 28th

by Mel Starrs on June 29, 2012

in News

These are my links for June 22nd through June 28th:

  • Labels for building products gain traction – Journal of Commerce – Canada: "Instead of nutrients, the label on the building product will list what’s in it, and how much embodied carbon that represents.
    The label will also provide a “global warming number” that gives the product’s total carbon footprint."
  • BSRIA reveals building energy, maintenance and service level benchmarks – The total maintenance cost across the building types is £18.88/m² GIA; this is a decrease of £4.29 compared with last year.
    The Network has collected waste data for the second time this year enabling us to compare waste costs for the first time. The average total waste contract cost across all the building types is £1.85/m² GIA compared with £1.62/m² GIA last year. However; the recycling contract costs have nearly doubled across the building types.
    Encouragingly, some of the members of the Network have reduced their energy consumption in the past year including:
    Data centres have a 35kWh/m² GIA decrease in their benchmark; this data is from the same data centres as last year. Further investigation showed this company has been striving to lower energy consumption, subsequently the data is encouraging.
    General offices have also seen a decrease of 24 kWh/m² GIA to their benchmark this year.
    As far as the profile of the contributors is concerned, we have had the largest data return fr
  • Retrofitting District Heating Systems – Publications – News, Publications & Events | BioRegional: solutions for sustainability – "The study is based on connecting district heating to flats, but the approach can be applied to other building types. The study found that district heating (using a variety of heat sources) achieved considerably more carbon emission savings than the full traditional retrofit option (whereby a building’s energy efficiency is improved by improving the building fabric and installing energy efficient or renewable sources of heat and electricity in the building itself) and at a lower cost.
    Unlike the district heating approach, however, traditional retrofit tackles other issues such as fuel poverty and thermal comfort. These were important considerations for the residents surveyed who, whilst in favour of both approaches, would prioritise the retrofit. As some retrofit measures provide far greater carbon savings per pound spent than others an optimal solution was installing the low cost retrofit measures alongside the district heating."
  • BIM, Construction and NBS: Seven key slides to include in every BIM presentation – Very funny post – this is my favourite: "Comparison with automotive and aerospace industries
    The process for designing, constructing and testing in the building industry is not as advanced as in the automotive and aerospace industries. A slide therefore is necessary showing how many parts go into a car and how that industry manages the process.
    Don't however mention that producing 13million identical Nissan Micra's has a slightly different dynamic to it than refurbishing a huge 1960s office block with six fellow consultants from different companies that all detest each other."
  • black_tansa_: Renzo and His Piano – "Sustainability was briefly touched on, with the justification of the all glass façade being that it is triple glazed, with interstitial blinds that automatically close when the sun hits the various splinters that form the envelope. Piano talked about lightness of the construction but this was really about the visual lightness of the façade than the actual weight and related embodied energy of the structure, made with an enormous amount of concrete. He claimed that The Shard is the most sustainable tower in the world but did not back up this audacious claim with any evidence. I was left with the impression that, as with so much in architecture at present, you must tick the sustainability box, but there is no need to let it interfere with how the building is designed."
  • Vertical Farming: Can Urban Agriculture Feed a Hungry World? – SPIEGEL ONLINE – "The main problem is light — in particular, the fact that sunlight has to be replaced by LEDs. According to Cox's calculations, if you wanted to replace all of the wheat cultivation in the US for an entire year using vertical farming, you would need eight times the amount of electricity generated by all the power plants in the US over a single year — and that's just for powering the lighting.
    It gets even more difficult if you intend to rely exclusively on renewable energies to supply this power, as Despommier hopes to do. At the moment, renewable energy sources only generate about 2 percent of all power in the US. Accordingly, the sector would have to be expanded 400-fold to create enough energy to illuminate indoor wheat crops for an entire year. Despommier seems to have fallen in love with an idea, Cox says, without considering the difficulties of its actual implementation."
  • Short Sharp Science: Cities can be carbon sinks too, not just sources – "Current emission inventories in the UK assume that vegetation in cities stores no carbon. Researchers from the University of Kent set out to test that assumption for a mid-sized city in England.
    Zoe Davies and colleagues visited parks, golf courses, abandoned warehouses and household gardens around Leicester. They classified the plants in each location and estimated the amount of carbon held in the leaves.
    By their count, the urban vegetation stores about 230,000 tonnes of carbon – about 10 times greater than national estimates for the city. Trees absorbed more carbon dioxide than grasses or shrubs but city trees are often cut down for public safety, so they need to be replanted for the urban ecosystem benefits to continue, the researchers say."
  • Airtight promise | Analysis | Inside Housing – Great interview with Wolfgang Feist which includes this gem: "‘I’m a physicist, so zero is something special. Zero is zero. Zero is not five, it’s not one, it’s not 0.5 and it’s not 0.000001. So if you talk about zero, and then you define 42 to be zero, that’s scientific nonsense. I would strictly recommend that you don’t talk too much about zero. He writes the word ‘zero’ on a piece of paper in pencil, underlines it, and then circles it."
  • Peer Effects in the Diffusion of Solar Photovoltaic Panels by Bryan Bollinger, Kenneth Gillingham :: SSRN – "We provide a methodology for the simple, straightforward identi?cation of peer effects with suf?ciently rich data, avoiding the biases that occur with traditional ?xed effects estimation when using the past installed base of consumers in the reference group. We study the diffusion of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in California, and ?nd that at the average number of owner-occupied homes in a zip code, an additional installation increases the probability of an adoption in the zip code by 0.87 percentage points."
  • New material could lead to cheaper carbon capture | News | Heating and Ventilation News – Interesting: "It is described as a porous metal organic framework (MOF) which adsorbs and releases carbon dioxide gas at lower temperatures than existing methods.
    NOTT-202a consists of two MOF networks attached to a central indium metal atom and overlaid in such a way as to leave gaps where the carbon dioxide is stored"