Posts Tagged ‘green’

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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Building lime knowledge

Lime, in the form of mortars, renders, plasters and paints, is a key component of old buildings and essential to their repair – or at least it should be. Today lime-based materials are also emerging into the mainstream and being used within low carbon construction systems, employed in everything from homes to superstores. All this…

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Linoleum naturally

Lino is a bit like Marmite, people either seem to love it or hate it. For some it conjures thoughts of cold and institutional floors and it’s often (wrongly) used to describe vinyl. Unlike vinyl, which is petroleum based, linoleum has outstanding eco credentials and antimicrobial and hypo-allergenic properties. A hard-wearing and almost totally natural product, linoleum…

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Responsible retrofit

Retrofit requires an understanding of the building coupled with an holistic approach. This may sound simple but it isn’t, buildings – especially old buildings – are many layered entities and it’s not only the structure that has to be considered, it’s the behaviour of the building’s occupants. When planning retrofit strategies, heritage, technical and energy…

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Energy saving LEDs

The quality of light has fascinated me since my days at drama school. I trained in technical theatre and saw how changes to the colour and intensity of light can be used to dramatic effect on stage. Lighting has come a long way since then and, in the home, we’ve moved on from the basic…

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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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Think before buying

Yesterday a double glazing salesman arrive at my door at the very moment the phone rang with a call from a solar panel saleswoman. Such annoyances are rarely quite so simultaneous but they are regular. This is one of the reasons I’m pleased to hear that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has written to…

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Happiness architecture beauty

Kevin McCloud is an author, broadcaster and designer. He’s also the joint founder of Hab a housebuilder or, as he says, a ‘placemaker’. With The Triangle, the company’s first development, completed and with more schemes in the pipeline, I recently caught up with the founders of Hab and wrote a piece for Show House magazine.…

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Seeing stars: light pollution

After last week’s exploration of the night sky with the BBC’s Stargazing Live team, it’s worth giving a thought to all those whose view of the solar system was spoilt by light pollution. Since the explosion of street lighting after the Second World War it’s been increasingly difficult to see stars against a dark sky…

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The Prince’s House

I didn’t expect to like the Prince’s House at the BRE Innovation Park, Watford. Developed by The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, construction originally began in 2009 and I’d watched it slowly grow. The front elevation had struck me as trying to be both modern and traditional without being either; the large, single pane…

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Review: Eco reading

Type the words ‘eco’ or ‘sustainable’ into Amazon and you’ll be greeted by a mind blowing number of books so I though I’d share just four from the shelves of my office which might prove useful or even thought provoking. Simply Sustainable Homes is, as the strapline says, a no-nonsense guide to green building. It’s…

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