Will Tesla solar roof tiles be an industry game changer?

Elon Musk in a quest to make solar as attractive as electric vehicles may have leap-frogged many solar building innovations and prototypes in revealing a range of solar tiles (to be in mass production soon) at a show case event at Universal Studios yesterday.

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It is not often, or at all, that building products are launched with the degree of secrecy and flair that is the domain of new cars or smart phones. But that’s what Tesla did yesterday, revealing new solar tiles and power packs on a completed detached home, to invited guests. The event was reportedly powered by the energy from the display home, and then as the sun sank, powered by the battery Powerpack energy stored from the roof tiles.

Being able to generate more energy than required, and store that energy within the building for when it is not being generated, is key to sustainable buildings.  Such breakthroughs will enable both new build and refurbished buildings to move closer to the Living Building Challenge Energy petal imperative. Generating 105% of a building’s energy from the sun. And with roof tiles rather than panels, start to address the challenges Beauty petal, removing the all-too-often unsightly post construction solar panels

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The tiles price point is still be announced, yet whilst reported to be more expensive than standard tiles, they will be cheaper than the cost of tiles and equivalent cost of energy  over the life of the tiles or building. And far cheaper than the cost of post-roof or post-construction solar panels.  The tiles will also have a longer life time than more traditional US roof tiles. (US domestic buildings have a roof replacement cycle of 20 years or so)

References:

BBC: Tesla shows off solar roof tiles

Tesla: Sustainably Power your Home or Business

Mashable: Elon Musk tied together some of the disparate threads of his company’s various grand ambitions in a product launch event here at Universal Studios Friday night.

iSite Related: at last … low cost solar power that works in the (Welsh) rain…

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Sustainia publishes 100 innovative solutions to support SDG’s

Over the last five years the Sustainia100 publication from Sustainia has always been a welcomed and inspiring read. Over this period It has tracked more than 4,500 solutions to date from all over the world. This year’s edition features solutions deployed in 188 countries, and more than half come from small and mid-sized enterprises. Showcasing everything from health solutions that tackle climate change, to renewable energy products that alleviate gender inequality, this year’s publication presents 100 solutions that respond to interconnected global challenges and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

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  • Four key trends:
    • Cities as Health Promoters
    • Making Profit from Unlikely Materials
    • Disrupting the Electrical Grid
    • People Powered Data for Better Infrastructure
  • Many Building related innovations and solutions are included, of particular note are:
    • Making Carpet Tiles from Old Fishing Nets (Interface / Aquafil)
    • Legislated Green Roofs and Solar Panels (France)
    • Growing Bricks with Bacteria (bioMason)
    • Green Bonds for Low Impact Building projects (Vasakronan)
    • Cement Free Mortar (KALK)
    • Solar Powered Water Purification (Desolenator)
    • Cities and Health: Using Communities to Bolster Health
    • Solar Storage Community Platform (Sonnen)

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Read the Sustainia  100 online here. The publication was launched on 7th June with an accompanying tweetchat, a storify record of which can be found on line, for example:

Q1: What does sustainable action mean to you ?

Q3 How have the #SDGs changed sustainable innovation?

Q8: What do you think is the next big opportunity in sustainability?

 

Biophilic Design & Rewilding- the secret sauce of sustainability?

Biophilia is emerging as the secret sauce of sustainability. It is not just about being able to see trees and fields from our windows, or having green plants within rooms, but something deeper and more profound.

The Cuerdon Valley Park Visitor Centre in Lancashire, the first UK project to be registered for and working towards Living Building Challenge certification, recently staged a project team biophilic design workshop (1), led by Joe Clancy using the Terrapin Bright Green guide ’14 Patterns of Biophilic Design’ (Joe, as an intern with Terrapin Bright Green was part of the guide team and co-author)

The workshop reviewed the design, construction and operation of the building from a new perspective, through each of the 14 patterns, covering aspects from light through to the layout of chairs and food to be served in the cafe.

 

Biophilia translates as love of nature and in design terms the consideration of how our innate relationship with nature can be addressed within buildings. We have evolved as part of nature, and as such the human mind and body function with greater efficiency and performance when natural elements are present. Biophilic design is ensuring that these elements and patterns are present.

Biophilic elements enhance wellbeing, foster the feel good factor, reduce building related illness and even improve health. For example light as in daylight, circadian lighting, differing light spectrums is being considered as a form of medicine, not only to reduce illness, but to improve and maintain health.

ReWilding
There is much talk of rewilding at present, and as rewilding nature and environments is not just about reintroducing wolf, lynx or other top of the chain predators but more about restoring or regenerating the natural environment ‘creating conditions that allow the emergence of natural responsiveness and development’(2)

We should learn from and apply rewilding thinking to our built environment,and in doing so rewild people, those who inhabit buildings, creating the conditions, through for eg biomimicry and biophilic applications, that allow (new and existing) buildings to breathe and to respond to natural and bioclimatic cycles. We are losing or removing our natural barometers from buildings, increasingly replacing them with SMART technologies, to satisfy a blinked focus on energy performance. In turn, this has weakened our intrinsic relationship with nature.(3)

It is recognised that a lack of connection with nature reduces our tolerance to respect the environment. However, enabling biophilic conditions that ‘rewild’ our built environment will improve user behaviour and increase respect for the sustainable function of buildings.

Biophilia could, therefore be a root cause solution to addressing our buildings sustainability performance, closing performance gaps, providing salutogenetic improvement on the health & well-being of those using the building, and providing business benefits relating to people costs and productivity

And, biophilic workshops are not just for green building design, but should be part of the start-up activities for any project, considering in addition to the building in use, the biophilic aspects of the construction process. Biophilic thinking applied to construction environment can address the stress, mental health and safety, productivity, enthusiasm and wellbeing of those working on our construction projects. Therefore, biophilic thinking could be a key to improving construction quality, environmental and safety compliance, productivity and hence costs.

On two, very recent, project sustainability review/audits, it has been encouraging to hear of construction organisations increasing awareness of biophilia through training related to health, sustainability and design.

(1) Report available soon.

(2) George Monbiot in Feral

(2) extract from FutuREstorative

Lynx Kitten Image:   www.conservationjobs.co.uk

Rewilding Building Image: Cuerdon Valley Park Visitor Centre

Rewilding People image – see – Last Child in the Woods Richard Louv

Images from Sense of Urgency presentation available on Slideshare.

Patagonia Worn Wear – UK Tour

“Let’s all become radical environmentalists” commented Patagonia chief executive Rose Marcario “As individual consumers, the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use longer. This simple act of extending the life of our (stuff) through proper care and repair reduces the need to buy more over time, thereby avoiding the CO2 emissions, waste output and water usage required to build it.”

This remains in my mind, one of the more useful of circular economy thinking approaches

Patagonia’s Worm Well bus will be setting up temporary workstations at venues across the UK to repair garments, free of charge.

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Worn Wear at Kendal Film Festival 2015

The UK leg is part of a wider five-country mission across Europe to extend the life of outdoor enthusiasts’ clothing. It starts on 15 April in the UK and Germany before moving on to other European countries.

Dates and details are on the Patagonia Worn Wear website.

It would be great to see this extended into other areas, more built environment related areas, for example, FM organisations holding free equipment repair workshops in buildings they operate, construction and consultancy organisations returning to their buildings and providing free sustainability advice and repair service … The opportunities based on circular economy business models are huge.

Put simply, if it’s broke, fix it! Dont replace it

Related previous post: (2012) Construction CSR Makeover: can construction learn from Patagonia?

The Price of Construction Carbons

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Distribution of Construction CO2

ConstructCO2 now allows the calculation of a ‘shadow’ carbon price for carbon emissions from the construction process. The default price is set at £29 / tonne, based on current available data as used by other organisations within their shadow carbon pricing exercises (1) However ConstructCO2 also allows for any user or project to set their own carbon price.

Carbon pricing is increasingly being used to drive carbon reductions, through internal costing arrangements, and as awareness or preparation for what many see as an inevitable carbon future regulations or taxation.

In the light of the Paris Agreement, the calls from businesses and activists to put a price on carbon are becoming louder. To keep global warming below the Paris target of 2 deg C, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the world will need to get to zero net emissions urgently.

Construction processes are part of the climate change problem but a vital part of the solution , and by introducing an operating cost by factoring emissions into bottom-line calculations through carbon pricing will be part of the construction industry contribution to carbon reduction.

See FT article: Companies accelerate use of carbon pricing and for example the advertising group WPP, who use an internal price of £29 a tonne of CO2 when buying or refitting buildings to understand “the impact of future energy and carbon regulations on our business”.

Outstanding North West Young Construction Professionals

CDA-logo-e1458568790817I am delighted to be providing social media advice and support in promoting this years Construction Development Alliance (CDA) Outstanding Young People in Construction awards. (Follow @cdaliance and #CDAAwards16 for news, promotions and updates)

The awards recognise outstanding individuals age 16-25 years old in work, sixth form, college or university. With 5 categories, this is an opportunity to acknowledge and recognise those who really are the future of our great Construction Industry in the North West.

The 2016 awards, sponsored by SIKA, the CDA  and others as noted below will be presented by TV jouranlist Dominic Littlewood on the 6.30pm on the 26th May 2016 at Burnley Mechanics, Burnley

The Awards nominated Charity is the YMCA young Persons Housing Project

Award nominations for outstanding young people in construction

The Construction Development Alliance 2016 CDA Awards will recognise up to five outstanding young people between the ages of 16 and 25 who exemplify the best attributes of the North West’s young construction folk. Nominations are invited for each of the five categories listed below. There will be a trophy and prizes, plus the opportunity to be considered as the overall winner and a substantial prize.

The categories are:-

1. Overcoming adversity in construction

Sponsor: DTPC

Someone who has achieved success in college or at work, either through their position, determination, exam success, career progression, leadership, deals negotiated or financial results despite overcoming some form of adversity.

2. Young designer of the year

Sponsor: Booth King Partnership

Someone who has achieved success in design either at college or at work, in any form of design associated with the construction industry for example architectural, interior design, mechanical, electrical, structural, landscape etc.

3. Young apprentice in construction

Sponsor: Vinci Construction

An apprentice working in a construction related profession who has achieved success and or been recognised by others as being an outstanding candidate in what they have achieved in their role as an apprentice.

4. Young construction professional

Sponsor: Parker Wilson Consulting

Someone who has demonstrated exceptional performance of their duties either at college or working in their specific field. The candidate must promote leadership skills, inspire and encourage others. A positive “can do” attitude and a willingness and desire to continue to learn, develop and become better in their chosen field. Candidates are invited from individuals in all sectors. We will be looking for success in college and or at work, with evidence of career progression, leadership skills, creating a project and making it happen, inspiring and motivating others to make it happen, good negotiation skills or even financial results. The successful person will be a role model, who has clear values and has made a sustained difference this year.

5. Young construction environmentalist

Sponsor: Clement Acoustics

Someone who has achieved success in a construction related profession or college course that has an environmental element to a project and has made a significant contribution towards protecting and improving the environment. This may include (but is not limited to) organising an environmentally friendly project, undertaking and developing energy saving initiatives, or generating awareness about climate change or other environmental issues. The candidate should be someone who has organised a program, project or activity for the benefit of a community and engaged, inspired and motivated people or public bodies to get involved in the particular charitable or social cause. We will be looking for someone who has made an environmental difference this year.

Overall Winner

Sponsor:  D&M Creative

To be announced on the night

Other sponsors of the awards evening include Eric Wright Construction 

How to Nominate your Construction Outstanding Young Person of the Year

For entry forms:

Visit CDA Website at http://www.cdalliance.co.uk/ 

Or access the pdf entry form from here 

 

FutuREstorative: Working Towards a New Sustainability

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Publishing July 2016

Publication of FutuREstorative (set for Jul 2016) edges closer with the books product page going live on the RIBA Bookshop.

FutuREstorative: Working Towards a New Sustainability

Description

This book aims to further the debate on new sustainability thinking in the built environment, by bringing together a selection of short contributions from thought leaders in the UK and the rest of the world with an overarching narrative from Martin Brown.

Although progress in sustainable solutions has been made over the past decade, the trend is still one of a woefully wasteful construction industry. This book aims to show that being ‘less bad’ is no longer good enough.

The book also spotlights digital sharing and collaboration through social media and BIM as new tools in the ‘sustainability toolbox’ which provide unique and powerful opportunities to rapidly advance sustainability thinking, development and action.

  • Author: Martin Brown
  • Format: Book
  • Pages: 128
  • Publisher: RIBA Publishing
  • Date Published: Jul 2016
  • Stock Code: 85971
  • ISBN: 9781859466308
  • Binding: Paperback