Monthly Archives: January 2008

Barratt Homes – Chorley

With the Lancs Best Practice Club looking to visit the eco show homes at Chorley soon the following links should give a balanced view on the background to these homes.

CarbonLimited – scathing comments on performance

Key findings from Chorley

Hanham Hall Challenge -isite

Hanham Hall Challenge – english partnerships


waste management plans and carbon calculator event

Details of the Lancs Best Practice Club event on 12th Feb looking at sustainability targets, site waste management plans and carbon calculators are now available to download on the events page.  Fittingly the event will be held at the Solaris Centre in Blackpool

Green spires or greenwash?

Universities UK today published Green Spires, a very rosy picture of what academia is doing within the world of becoming green. The report, full of case studies of great activities from around the UK Universities is a must read with many of the innovations related to the built environment.

However, Bibi van der Zee writing in the Guardian Education illustrates the real world of academia – one that should put its own house in order, ‘focus on estate management, universities are huge and wasteful beasts’ and ‘move out of their comfort zone‘.

Learning curve on Radio 4 last night contained interviews on the report – listen again

One of the key priorities laid down today by John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, in his annual grant letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) was reducing carbon emissions emissions to help the Government achieve a 60 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050.

The Government wants universities’ performance in reducing carbon emissions to be a factor in their future capital allocations

Also of note EAUC’s (Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges) conference this year will focus on skills for sustainability – if architects and engineers don’t have the necessary sustainable skills we will never be able to achieve our carbon reduction strategies

Locally in the North West of England, SusBee (Sustainable Education in Built Environment Education) based at UCLAN , a joint academic and industry forum has just formed to address the sustainability content within all regional education. (more details here).

New Liverpool school seeks ‘Very Good’ BREEAM

Details of the state of the art sustainable design (and construction) for Liverpool Lower Lee Special school were posted on Building website earlier this week. (Story, pictures and strategy)

The school is only targetting a Very Good BREEAM level accreditation – beacuase, according to Mouchels architect “An BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating would only be achievable with a considerably larger outlay on renewables,”

How does this square with Ed Balls announcement recently that wants all new school buildings to be zero-carbon by 2016 and has put a few million in the pot to help achieve this? see Zero Carbon Schools

And indeed how does it square with the (albeit draft) Construction Strategy for Sustainability that calls for  public buildings to have BREEAM Excellent Assessments by 2008.   Construction on Lower Lee finishes in 2009.

Where is the watchdog for all this?

Whilst Lower Lee has some fantastic sustainable design aspects and it is to applauded for that, this does raise the question – are we building schools for the future?

site waste management plans event 12 Feb

Irrespective of whether you are a client, contractor, developer, product supplier, facilities manager or consultant, the impact of the sustainability, carbon, energy and other performance targets being set for the industry will change the way you do business in a big way.

Lancashire Best Practice Construction club will be holding an early evening event on the 12 Feb looking at the targets and requirements being set for the built environment sector on its route 2 zero or low carbon.

The event will focus on Site Waste Management Plans which become compulsory in April 2008, with take away templates and guidance.

More details on the events page very soon. For advance information click here

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sustainability turns red … code red?

I received alarming emails from Carbonequity and FoE today describing how a good many tipping points have been reached and that we are on the brink of a point of no return. On January 28th ClimateCodeRed will be published in Australia …

“Climate code red: the case for a sustainability emergency”. … will include responses from a wide range of climate activists and organisations as part of a conversation about how we can campaign for a very fast transition to a post-carbon, climate safe future.

(another nice carbon definer here – post-carbon )

Why is this relevant to a blog on built environment issues? Well…it can be argued that the failure global built environment sector (design, construction and buildings in use) to address and improve on energy performance, energy use, and energy loss is a highly significant contributor to the current situation. As building use energy inefficiently we put an increasing demand on energy production, largely a fossil fuel sourced energy that in itself adds to the problem.

A move from seeing sustainability as green to seeing it as red may start to focus our approach in a different way and just may force us to rethink – a colour paradigm switch !

Similar to Dave Hampton’s excellent think purple carbon – if carbon emissions were purple rather than invisible we would be living in a purple smog, with purple skies – and would have tackled sustainability a long time ago, in a much much more effective manner.

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and if you are still reading … Continue reading

recycling rubbish CD’s as road surface material

Noted that troubled EMI over estimated the number of Robbie Williams Rudebox CD’s by a mere million. These are now reputedly to be shipped to China to be crushed for road surface material.

Typical of buyers over ordering, with the excess material being used as site access roads … but on a different scale.

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