the Guardian

BRE have just issued ‘Micro-wind turbines in urban environments: an assessment’ (BRE Trust report FB17, ISBN 978-1-84806-021-0) and although I haven’t managed to get a copy myself the Guardian have and they dissect it here. The gist of things is that micro-turbines aren’t a great idea in urban areas on a domestic scale.  Good to see […]


ZED standards

by mel starrs on November 21, 2007

in Green Building Rating

Poking about the ZEDFactory site I came across yet more standards. Bill Dunster teamed up with Arup’s to give us ZEDstandards, which on first inspection appear to be in competition with CSH (Code for Sustainable Housing) but predate them by 2 years (2004). Arup have been down this path before – SPEAR was drafted as […]


Creative engineers?

by mel starrs on November 19, 2007

in The Profession

Spotted this great retort to Jonathan Glancey from Chris Wise in the Guardian: This need is poorly served by specialised research universities and corporate engineering practice, rooted as it is in the postwar era and a scientific tendency to avoid responsibility. Nowadays, sums are so easy that many engineers try to analyse their way to […]


Backlash against turbines

by mel starrs on November 9, 2007

in Renewables

 I wrote this back in December last year and for the life of me I can’t remember what else I was going to add to it. It’s mostly all been said now, but the most interesting tidbit (which is why I’m publishing it now, woefully out of date) is the prediction from Arup – I […]


Population – a sticky issue

by mel starrs on September 14, 2007

in Uncategorized

Madeleine Bunting in the Guardian on Monday wrote a piece on population.  Always a tricky debate, her main thrust was that the debate should enter the green mainstream, whereas currently it is seen as a marginalised issue (due to pressure from some quarters – Bunting cites the Pope and US pro-life factions). A book which […]


It’s OK, Germaine has the answer

by mel starrs on August 1, 2007

in Uncategorized

Germaine Greer (yes, the feminist) has solved the world’s building problems with just over 1000 words. In the Guardian. Why? I have no idea what purpose this serves. Plus Jane Jacobs said it all a lot better and with significantly greater authority. Germaine might want to think about physics and math, too: Following Lloyd Wright’s […]


George’s latest rant

by mel starrs on March 21, 2007

in Uncategorized

George Monbiot’s off on one again in the Guardian here: Her (Ruth Kelly) planning statement on climate change, published the same day, banned local authorities from setting higher energy efficiency standards for homes than national building regulations require. The PPS supplement in question is here.  Consultation is now over, but the ACE (not that ACE, […]


Craig Macintosh over at Celsias has a somewhat Malthusian solution to global warming.  Rather than agriculture limiting population (and thus limiting carbon emissions, halting or reversing global warming) a major pandemic could do the job much swifter.  As I keep mentioning, Jared Diamond covers similar topics in ‘Collapse‘.  Gareth Kane has population on his mind too.  […]


Lessons to be learnt from BedZed

by mel starrs on May 30, 2006

in Case Studies

BedZed, Bill Dunster’s pioneering zero-carbon development has been beset by a number of well publicised problems in delivering the vision. For the full details see the piece in the Guardian. The most interesting point to me is that the development has been a success ‘socially’ – always one of the hardest aspects of sustainability to […]

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