Tag Archives: coal

isite radar and roundup monday 23rd june

Last week was a busy one so not too much posting here, but below are a few of the items that caught my eye

Bristol is to become the first cycle city with 11 others – York, Stoke, Blackpool, Cambridge, Chester, Colchester, Leighton Buzzard, Southend, Shrewsbury, Southport and Woking – named as demonstration areas for the scheme. They will be added to the current six demonstration areas – Aylesbury, Brighton, Darlington, Derby, Exeter and Lancaster.

Last Saturday I led a benchmarkwalks walk in the English Lake District for a group of Facilities Management people. Great discussions over usability, eco towns, fm sustainability, fm in Cape Town shanty towns and the future of fm.  An emerging topic from the conference earlier in the week, and continued on the walk – the need for Aggressive Facilities Management

On blogs, Mel’s excellent article over at Elemental on Global air conditioning while Phil at ZeroChampion has an interesting post on Should we carbonize interest rates? and Pam over at Public Works talks from the trenches on investing in infrastruture in the face of credit crunch.

The Guardians articles that ‘revealed‘ the UK Governments blue print plans for a tougher approach to climate change. Many of which involved housing or buildings. Now why was this not included within the UK Government Strategy for Sustainable Construction. Joined up thinking, just in time thinking?

On a similar line a German town forces homes to fix solar tiles

Eco towns seem to be never out of the news with google alerts working overtime – has the opposition changed, from ‘we cant build zero carbon’, to ‘nimbyism’ to what now seems to be the ‘tescopolising’ of eco-towns. Next weeks headline? Eco towns ate my cat.  But today the Guardian reports on the forthcoming report that criticizes eco town proposals:

The choice of sites put on a shortlist to be England’s first ecotowns has been strongly criticised for their lack of adequate public transport links and other shortcomings by a government advisory panel.

George Monbiot on coalWe must leave the fossil century behind to reach the golden age of renewable energy, Mr Brown – making the important comment that its not what we do but what we stop doing

And finally, for now, much blogging and twittering of the planned be2camp event in London in October. here here and here

… on coals future

A round up of recent coal articles and activities suggest that the writing on the wall may be becoming clearer:

Can coal live up to its clean promise? New Scientist. Seems the CCS, carbon capture schemes) may not be in favour with the world of science. Well worth a read to get an overview of the current state of CCS (A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called The Future of Coal, published last year, suggests that the first commercial CCS plants won’t be on stream until 2030 at the earliest.)

E.on climb down on Kingsnorth and ask for delay in planning decision?  Guardian. … Well at least until CCS is viable. Maybe they have read the NS and MIT reports. Greenpeace love it.

byoblue, the Architecture 2030 No Coal campaign grows in strength with supporters across the world,  Facebook and in Second Life (If anyone is in doubt as to the relationship between buildings, their energy demand (or waste) and coal, can I suggest a visit to the excellent material on the Architecture 2030 site.)

blue is the colour…

For those who have asked “why blue” for the Architecture 2030 No Coal campaign, here is the response from Peter over at BYOBlue:

Blue is for clear, clean skies without coal!

The genesis of this theme also comes from the Earth Day Network “Sky Petition” which Architecture 2030 collaborated on, demanding that (the US Congress):

1. Impose an immediate moratorium on the building of all new conventional coal-fired power plants, and require a phase out of 30 percent of existing coal plants by 2030.

2. Require that all utilities generate 30 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.

3. Require that all new buildings, renovations and developments immediately reduce fossil-fuel energy consumption by 50 percent, and that all new buildings become ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030.

4. Protect the poor and middle class from unfairly bearing the cost of solving the climate crisis.

(thanks Peter)

Meanwhile here in the UK, in Sundays Observer Climate Change special edited by Thom Yorke of Radiohead

  • Drax coal power station emits more CO2 than the 100 least industrialised countries – combined – (22.8 million tonnes annually)
  • Burning fossil fuels for electricity contributed one quarter of the worlds CO2 emissions
  • It was the closure of coal mines that enabled Britain to meet Kyoto reduction pledges
  • There is enough CO2 in coal to take us far beyond the danger level of creating a different planet ( James Hansen, Nasa)

Consider all this in the context of the built environment – the demand it places on energy from coal powered stations and the energy it wastes through poor design, construction, maintenance and the slow speed in which we seem to be moving to low carbon thinking …

…on coal, blue and earth day 2008

Wear BLUE for Earth Day 2008 to VOTE for No Coal

This blog has commented through many posts on coal, on its significant contribution to carbon footprints, on the relationship with the built environment (coal – safe cigarettes for the built environment) and on the recently approved new coal power station in the UK.

But did you know that the UK Eon power station, the first for 20 years, will add 5% to the UK’s carbon footprint, and that the proposed magic cure of carbon capture, when viable, will take some 40% of the energy proposed just to drive the capture application. (source – Guardian Environmental weekly podcast 12/03/08).

isite has long supported Architecture 2030, a movement in the US that makes the link between design / buildings in use and energy production from coal.

isite is proud to have been asked to promote Architecture 2030’s rallying call to everyone to participate in the BYOBlue campaign by calling on everyone to wear BLUE during Earth Day 2008 to signify a vote for NO COAL. (April 20th)

More details can be found at www.byoblue.org and in Ed Mazria’s article posted at Grist (here).

Details on any UK BYOBlue activities will be posted here.

Face it – solve global warming – stop coal

Face it – the on line web cast from Architecture 2030 is now available to watch on-line

Sub titled Turn it Around, Watch and start to understand the impact the built environment has on global warming, the impact the built environment has on demanding power from coal fired power station – and the proposed solution – stop and replace the demand on coal!

Also available for educational use is the 2007 Global Emergency Teach-in

more on coal – old king …

Good to see Philip Sellwood, Chief Exec at Engery Saving Trust blogging on the Medway coal power station at Old King Coal

Philps blog is one to blogroll, bookmark or RSS or just read !

Interestingly Philip makes the connection with a certain lady who closed down the coal industry some 20 years ago – this fact  has apparently been the main contribution to the UK’s reduction in CO2 over the last decade !

New coal fired power station gets go ahead

The news that Medway Council have given the green light to a coal fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent seems at complete odds with the current informed thinking on energy, on coal and on the current ‘mood’ or zeitgeist towards sustainability. It also appears as a developing country decision – not one taken by a nation attempting to be a leader in sustainability and carbon targets.  Building Guardian

The decision can be seen in many ways as a damning comment on the built industry in not moving fast enough to address the energy issue within buildings and facilities.

76 % of the energy from this new power plant will be consumed by buildings. By reducing building energy use of new and renovated buildings by a minimum of 50%, we negate the need for new coal plants. (source)

How can the government and local authorities push forward with zero carbon homes to Code 6, zero carbon schools, zero carbon non-domestic buildings, insist on reductions through Merton Rule approaches, and demand organisations reduce their carbon emissions … when in one action we turn the carbon emissions clock back 30 years ( This will be the first plant to be built in 30 years)

And many of these targets come in to place before the new plant comes on stream.

Perhaps the Kent council and others should read the work from the excellent and influential Architecture 2030, who, in the USA are directly and indirectly influencing cities and states to cancel or shelve coal fire plants in favour of a green build approach .

Emissions from the new plant will blow the UK’s targets and commitments for carbon reductions out of the water.  The notion of cleaned coal is an oxymoron, with environmentalists and scientists diasgreeing over the viability of any capture / claeaning / sequestration technology. It will take years and seems a high gamble to rely on a technology in the future.

In a time when we need positive actions and messages to prevent green fatigue – this will send a dangerous message – that it is ok to invest in traditional planet threatening energy sources whilst playing lip service to renewables and alternatives investment.

A very ominous start to 2008.