Monthly Archives: September 2007

Carbon neutral buildings designed

Searching for the carbon negative led me to this neat little 5 mins video from Green Building Studio It sets about designing a building to be carbon neutral using their online web service. It is worth following through to the end of the video to see how orientation and material choice affects the carbon performance and costs of the building in use.


End of back to backs

Pleased to note the greenhouse project in Beeston Leeds as reported in Building today. (Work starts on UK’s first carbon negative project) Having had an office on the fringe of Beeston for about 10 years, it was an area that fascinated me, a built environment from another era, with most of the housing of 19th century stock, including what must be some of the last remaining small back-to-back terraces

The greenhouse project is billed as being carbon negative – rather than just carbon neutral. It is hoped this includes the construction processes as well as the use of the new homes, and NOT achieved through carbon offsetting but through real improvements in process, management and technology.  I searched for a definition of carbon negative – but unable to find anything useful that was not linked to carbon off-putting, but for an excellent overview see this Worldchanging link 

It is fascinating to see how far we have come from back to back housing

 The rows of houses were literally built ‘back to back’ one room deep.   The typical back to back house has three rooms, one above the other. The housing became renowned for squalor, disease and poverty due to its cramped design and poor sanitation.

“Our house is a three storey terrace with a common yard, a privy and wash house which we share with fifteen other families.”


back to back





Fringe climate events at conservative conference, Blackpool

There is an impressive series of fringe events being organised by Climate Clinic along side the conference next week in Blackpool. Of note is the Ask an Architect event on Monday and Tuesday, hosted by the RIBA, billed as

Get advice from some of Britain’s best green architects on creating new, environmentally friendly buildings or improving the energy performance of existing buildings. Understand the science of climate change and get advice from the science experts – Met Office Sustainable Energy Advice – learn about easy steps you can take to be more energy efficient – Energy Saving Trust

I am hoping to get to some of these events and will feedback through here.

Updated -comments here: conservatives, blackpool and the built environment

Details at Climate Clinic

Carbon Accounting for the Construction Industry

Noticed this (free) Envirowise event in Loughborough on 30th Oct.   Delighted to see David Hampton (Carbon Coach) is one of the speakers. I plan to attend and report back through here, and hopefully track down that elusive Construction Carbon Calculator.

For Lancashire Best Practice Club members – this is the type of event we need to host here in Lancs.  I will investigate.

How much coal is required…

…. to run a 100-watt light bulb 24 hours a day for a year?

Came across the useful – and frightening – link on How Stuff Works.  Take a look – the answer is a lot and a lot of carbon emissions as a by product.

Timely as news from the government to phase out traditional light bulbs.  But why wait till 2012 –  they are already yesterdays news in Australia and elsewhere.

Greenpeace director John Sauven, reported in the Guardian, said: “For every year of delay in getting rid of these bulbs, 5m tonnes of CO2 are emitted into the atmosphere unnecessarily.”

Want to stop global warming? – New York Times

I have mentioned the Architecture 2030 programme here before. (An American programme to reduce carbon levels in construction and use of ALL buildings by 2030, 5 years ahead of the predicted point of irreversible damage when carbon emissions are predicted to hit 450ppm – they are currently at 380 something.)

Architecture 2030 is very focused on removing existing and halting planned coal power plants in the states ( and elsewhere) as the single biggest contribution we can make.

Today they placed a full page ad in the New York Times. Although obviously focusing on the states the ad carries some strong messages for the built environment generally.

Have we, here in the UK , stopped to think of the relationship between coal power stations, our built environment, and the use of energy within buildings that continues to ‘justify’ the continuation of these power stations to generate electricity. Just think of our typical night time cityscapes – illumination from empty buildings, lighting and other unnecessary illuminations, nearly all pulling power from coal power stations, and thereby needlessly increasing carbon emissions.

According to the BAA Campaign for dark skies – the amount of additional carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere due to inefficient UK street-lights in the last 12 month is 540,271 tonnes. (That’s the British Astronomical Association . not the other BAA). (and that’s just street lights?)