Monthly Archives: July 2007

2030 – just when you thought …

… meanwhile the following email posting from the USA Architecture 2030 programme makes sobering reading.

Architecture 2030:

Rapidly accelerating climate change (global warming), which is caused by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, is now fueling dangerous regional and global environmental events. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration illustrates that buildings are responsible for almost half (48%) of all GHG emissions annually. Seventy-six percent of all electricity generated by US power plants goes to supply the Building Sector. Therefore, immediate action in the Building Sector is essential if we are to avoid hazardous climate change.

Just when we thought we were making a difference…

Wal-Mart, the largest “private” purchaser of electricity in the world is investing a half billion dollars to reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of their existing buildings by 20% over the next 7 years. “As one of the largest companies in the world, with an expanding global presence, environmental problems are our problems,” said CEO Lee Scott. The CO2 emissions from only one medium-sized coal-fired power plant, in just one month of operation each year, would negate Wal-Mart’s entire effort. Continue reading

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The 2010 Imperative – (NW Sustainability Network)

Further to the NW sustainability network initial meeting this week, noted the following on the USA’s Arctitecture 2030 programme web site, the 2010 Imperative

How about carbon neutral campuses (campi?) for the NW by 2010 ???

To successfully impact global warming and world resource depletion, it is imperative that ecological literacy become a central tenet of design education. Yet today, the interdependent relationship between ecology and design is virtually absent in many professional curricula. To meet the immediate and future challenges facing our professions, a major transformation of the academic design community must begin today. To accomplish this, The 2010 Imperative calls upon this community to adopt the following:

Beginning in 2007, add to all design studio problems that:
“the design engage the environment in a way that dramatically reduces or eliminates the need for fossil fuel.”

By 2010, achieve complete ecological literacy in design education, including:

  • design / studio
  • history / theory
  • materials / technology
  • structures / construction
  • professional practice / ethics

By 2010, achieve a carbon-neutral design school campus by:

  • implementing sustainable design strategies (optional – LEED Platinum / 2010 rating)
  • generating on-site renewable power
  • purchasing green renewable energy and/or certified renewable energy credits (REC’s, Green Tags), 20% maximum

After the flood

We have to tackle carbon emmisions if we want to avoid more flooding, argues Tony Juniper on his Comment is Free blog

Dealing with the effects of heavy rain is one thing but, if recent climate change research proves correct, how will we cope with what lies ahead?

The future of the Code for Sustainable Homes – Making a rating mandatory

From the Communities and  Local Government website:

The Code measures the sustainability of a new home. It went live in England as a voluntary standard in April 2007. This consultation document follows on from the positive response received to Building a Greener Future: Towards Zero Carbon Development, where we asked if rating against the Code should be mandatory.

Consultation is aimed at Housing development industry, architects, construction companies, planners, energy efficiency specialists, environmental stakeholders and academics.

Goodbye zero champion…hello sustainability blog…

Zero Champion blog has been re-branded and given a face lift, as Zero Hero ** says

It’s part of the development I’m working on which will see this space being integrated more closely to the websites my company publishes – Building, Building Design, Property Week and Building Services Journal

check out the new look at Sustainability Blog

** (sorry couldn’t resist that)

open source sustainability

I am becoming more and more aware of and convinced of the role that open source approaches and concepts can have in our built environment.  Based on the open source approach to IT, we are starting to see open source architecture…education …and sustainability.  In addition I see benchmark and best practice clubs transforming themselves into innovation circles or networks.  (Perhaps the next generation of Construction Best Practice Clubs??)
In essence, to me it means collaboratively working together to address sustainability issues, focusing effort on what matters,  promoting access to the design and production of goods and knowledge, rather than everyone focusing on their own thing, duplicating effort, be it a product, strategy or service.

Competitiveness arises from starting at a more mature level.

What is open source, one of the best definitions comes from, Open Eco Source  a web base tool, which ‘will help speed up the distribution of available knowledge and connect efforts that aim to create a sustainable environment’

The three rules for open source are: nobody owns it, everybody uses it, and everybody can improve it. … The open source web-base tools are fantastically powerful and the fastest collaborative media we have to shape our future.

or the wiki definition:

Open source is a set of principles and practices that promote access to the design and production of goods and knowledge.

Building purple haze…

The post to Worldchanging on green issues in New York City caught my eye over the weekend:

Around 85 percent of all the buildings that will exist in New York City in 25 years are already standing, according to reporter J. Alex Tarquino in this past Sunday’s edition of The New York Times. 80 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas pollution is created by building energy use — with residential buildings taking up about one-third of that energy.

So however advanced green building methods become, however energy-efficient, we’re going to make the biggest gains in cutting energy use — thus lowering particulate and greenhouse gas pollution — by transforming these older buildings.

Even though the New York way of living is inherently very energy-efficient, compared to other American cities or communities, we can do better, reports Tarquino:

The article makes a valid point of focusing equally on the facilities management aspect of the built enviroment as the construction.

There are so many figures around as to the built environments contribution to carbon and other ”greenhouse’ gases.

Sometimes it feels we are patting fog…do we really know? As Dave over at Carbon Coach has been pointing out for many years now…if carbon gases were purple then the sky would have changed colour in our lifetimes,  and we would be living in a purple haze now – but we would take action …but as its colourless…we don’t.