Posts Tagged ‘CO2’

Environmental Pocketbook

If you’re going to invest in just one book on sustainable, low carbon building I’d strongly suggest that you make it The Environmental Design Pocketbook. Now in its second edition, this useful volume by Sofie Pelsmakers should be essential reading for architects, designers, developers, planners, students, clients and anyone else involved in the construction and operation of buildings.…

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Battersea Power Station

This weekend there will be over 800 buildings, neighbourhood walks and architects’ talks to enjoy as Open House London once again reveals great architecture for free. Sadly Battersea Power Station, one of the buildings I visited last year, will not be open as the 42 acre site is undergoing redevelopment. Nonetheless its history and its future can…

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Using wood wisely

I didn’t see a monster on my visit to Loch Ness but I did end up learning something about forestry and how the use of timber can be maximised. I’d travelled to a forestry site called Glen Brien, close to the southern end of the Loch, where 73 hectares (180 acres) of Lodgepole pine (Pinus…

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Straw bale homes

The use of straw bales for building apparently originated in Nebraska, USA, following the introduction of horse and steam powered bailing machines a century or so ago. Farmers soon saw the value of using bales to built temporary shelters but, having realized their potential to stand up to the weather, they began using them to…

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Old House Eco Handbook

Each time I write a book I say to myself “never again”. This is all very well but when a good idea comes along it’s hard to resist. Towards the end of 2010 I watched as the ink dried on my signature at the bottom of a contract for “a book provisionally entitled ‘The Old…

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The Ashden Awards

Over the years I’ve sat through a good many awards ceremonies but few, if any, have been as inspiring as last week’s Ashden Awards for sustainable energy. There was none of the hype or greenwash often associated with sustainable solutions; just ordinary people, or rather I should say extraordinary people, with good ideas and the…

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Researching retrofit

Britain has the oldest housing stock in the developed world with 8.5 million properties over 60 years old. This poses huge problems when it comes to the refurbishment and retrofitting of homes to make them more energy efficient, especially as nearly half of them are ‘hard to treat’ with solid walls and/or no loft space.…

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Testing zero carbon

Greenwatt Way, in Slough, Berkshire, is more than a zero carbon Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6 development. It’s a live testbed for, amongst other things, five different types of energy generation. This means it has an energy centre on a scale very different from what I had expected of a ten home scheme made up…

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Low carbon ventilation

I seem to have been writing about the need for old buildings to ‘breathe’ forever but the fact is that all buildings need to have air movement within them, whatever their construction. With the emphasis now on airtight, energy efficient homes the issue is becoming ever more important, both in new build and retrofit projects,…

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Retrofit challenge

PRP architects’ Future of Retrofit event in Manchester last week brought into sharp focus the immensity of the task ahead for owners of existing homes when it comes to reducing CO2 emissions. For private homeowners and social housing providers alike, retrofitting poses more than tricky technical questions. It has the potential, quite literally, to change…

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