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Utilization of biofuels

Unlike most renewable energy sources, the economics of SRC willow compare favourably with conventional fuels. With recent price increases for fossil fuels it is likely that this is now the cheapest fuel. In the domestic sector even in 2003 it was the cheapest fuel. The UK government is currently supporting a project to grow elephant grass - a giant tropical plant reaching up to 3.5 m - ultimately over 180,000 ha. A power station to burn this type of crop is nearing completion in Eccleshall, Staffordshire. Drax is also earmarked to use this crop and farmland around Drax will supply it. The question arises as to whether this constitutes a direct threat to SRC willow since there is possibly a limit to which a large coal-fired plant like Drax can accommodate biofuels.

Biofuel for transport

Biofuel for transport is a further opportunity sector for biomass. Revisions to the EU Common Agricultural Policy which came into effect in 2005 pose a challenge to farmers as world cereal prices fall. Energy crops are an obvious substitute. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is currently investigating barriers to energy crop production. Already the EU is the largest producer of biodiesel in the world at 500,000 tonnes with the potential for twice that capacity. Italy, France, Germany, Belgium and Austria are the main producers. For many decades Brazil has been the world leader in the use of bioethanol derived from sugar. Half its new cars are tuned to run on 100 ethanol. Sweden is setting the pace in Europe. Saab has introduced a model which runs on 85 ethanol and two thirds of advance orders are for this model. Volvo is following the Saab example. If this is deemed to be innovative technology it must be remembered that Henry Ford recommended ethanol in...


Biodiesel is diesel-equivalent, processed fuel derived from biological sources (such as vegetable oils, even waste cooking oil from restaurants such as fast-food establishments), that can be used unmodified in diesel engines. Biodiesel is biodegradable and non-toxic and produces significantly fewer emissions than petroleum-based diesel when burned. A recent article reported that chicken fat could be used, prompting major chicken producers such as Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms and Smithfield Foods to set up renewable energy divisions to sell the material mixed with soybean oil.7 It's possible that, sometime soon, the tag line for biodiesel may change from smells like French fries to smells like fried chicken. One benefit of using biodiesel is said to be lower engine wear. Most manufacturers release lists of the cars that will run on biodiesel. For example, Volkswagen determined that diesel fuel containing up to 5 biodiesel (B5 fuel) meets the technical specifications for its vehicles...

Fossil fuels

Table 12.3.1 Fossil fuels, reserves and projected availability (reach) Commonly used fossil fuels for space heating can be divided into fuels that can be stored on site (for example, coals, oil and propane) and fuels delivered by a network (such as natural gas). The characteristics of the different fossil fuels are given in Table 12.3.2. Table 12.3.2 Characteristics of common fossil fuels Table 12.3.2 Characteristics of common fossil fuels Each fossil fuel has inherent environmental disadvantages, both in transport and storage. Coal emits dust when transported and needs a voluminous dry space for storage. Oil emits fumes in case of temperature increase and must be stored in tanks that require periodic checkups for tightness. Propane needs to be stored in pressurized tanks, making it unsuitable for inside or underground storage because of explosion danger. Considering these aspects, natural gas and propane are the most favourable fossil fuels with respect to environmental aspects,...

Solar Zoning Legislation

An even more pertinent issue today as the world focuses on global warming, climate change, and the search for ways to lessen reliance on fossil fuels. These concerns, coupled with issues of health and well-being, make solar access an even more relevant and important area of public policy (Knowles, 1979).

Greenhouse Architecture Introduction

Natural Ventilation System Ken Yeang

Greater degrees, affect architectural expression, visibility being simply the last and most noticeable result of such a choice. Moreover, the second, differentiation, if viewed strictly environmentally, can be seen merely as another aspect of the first criterion, that is, as a more effective way of achieving symbiosis. This is why, when setting out these criteria, it was emphasized that the only necessary requirement for environmentally sustainable architecture is the achievement of some acceptable level of symbiosis, quantified in terms of fossil fuel consumption, with differentiation as a further step that encompasses construction as well as operation. Within this utilitarian context, visibility, or more generally, formal experiment, becomes an optional and undesirable extra. Even if one reverses priorities, and privileges the ideological role of environmental architecture over any small contribution it might make to the physical environment through its limited presence, then...

Cultivating Smartcities

Maquette Avion Design

At time of writing, more than half of mankind, some 3.3 billion people, are living in urban areas. By 2030, this is expected to swell to almost 5 billion.1 We are simultaneously experiencing a global food crisis resulting from low productivity, government policies diverting food crops to the creation of biofuels, climate change and growing food demand brought on by an exponentially expanding population. The world is heading for a drop in agricultural production of 20 to 40 per cent, depending on the severity and length of the current global droughts. Developed nations have abandoned all notion of self-sufficiency and are hugely dependent on imported food, while food-producing nations are imposing food export restrictions. Food prices will soar and, in poor countries with food deficits, millions will starve.2 In peri-urban areas, the intervention is more profound and far-reaching. New housing developments can be planned to integrate farming at the scale of landscape. Buildings can be...

Stress And Anxiety In Relation To Daylight

The high levels of daylight that people require are confined to the peripheral area that is barely a few feet deep, normally not exceeding one and half times the height of the window. Daylight levels drop precipitously as one moves away from the window. Other more innovative solutions are needed to bring high levels of daylight to the central areas of the building and to the areas where the majority of workers are located most of the day. Light levels can drop by 50 or more by simply moving a few feet away from the window. Of course, it is possible to supplement the high light levels needed to combat SAD by using electric light, but with concerns about the depletion of fossil fuels and global warming, that solution may prove too costly. It falls, therefore, on architects to design buildings where daylight is plentiful throughout the building interior, not just the periphery. These high light levels should fall on the occupant's eyes, the first receptor in the light...

Surespan Provides Biomass Solutions

Surespan custom manufacture access hatches to fit all biomass plants, which are becoming increasingly popular as people move to more sustainable environmentally friendly heating alternatives. Wood chip Biomass is a low carbon fuel which is sustainable and energy efficient.

Malmo city of the future

Malmo Bo01

There is a highly disciplined transport policy for the site. Streets are car free and parking is limited to one space per dwelling. However, the real innovation is the provision of a pool of electric vehicles charged by wind power to enable the residents to reach the city centre. A neighbourhood garage provides natural gas biogas for alternative fuel cars.

Hydrogen the agent of social reform

Several factors are already coalescing to make the fuel cell vehicle more attractive to the market than its fossil fuel powered counterpart with increasing world population and an expanding middle class in the developing world, it is predicted that demand for cars will grow exponentially adding to the need to develop alternatives to fossil fuels.

The birth of the green

Such claims of an end to architecture-as-we-know-it have been made before, most recently by those who experimented with deconstruction. Those claims, however, were made on the basis of formal disruptions. Underneath, the buildings remained resolutely conventional in their pursuit of an ordered internal environment, in the consumption of fossil fuels to this end, and in the economic and political relationships that made the production of such a 'rebellion' possible, with such work almost always commissioned by institutional (i.e. establishment) clients. In fact, the work currently being produced by Foster, Rogers, Grimshaw, Future Systems, etc., dubbed 'Eco-Tech' by Catherine Slessor (1998), embodies a more profound shift away from 'imperial modernism' than either historicist or deconstructive post-modernism. Though no less embedded in the political and economic status quo, 'Eco-Tech' seeks a different relationship between building and physical environment from the conventional one,...

Exuberance And Digital Virtuosity

Unit Bartlett School Architecture

Right and bottom The biotech centre proposal includes a biofuel production facility to explore new ways of breeding strains of algae to produce a sustainable biofuel that can be employed in the depleting fossil-fuel market. Left Detail of nutrient intent soft system. Pliant adaptive parts are responsive and evolve - specific mechanisms help maintain the health of the living capillaries and their internal growth status. Right Detail of bio-robotic machine consisting of multifunctional and rotational amateurs. These artificially intelligent machines are programmed to maintain and increase lush synthetic growth within an architectural bioscaffold.

Defining Environmental Architecture

Coherent Subtraction

- in configuration, in choice of materials, in techniques and technologies employed. If it is secondary to other considerations, like an established architectural identity or a dialogue with architectural history, then it will not be allowed to dominate design decisions. One of the reasons the architectural expression of environmental sustainability has not been universally welcomed in environmental circles is that representing a new contract between nature and architecture does not in any way imply the architect has successfully signed up to it. In other words, the building may speak of a new regard for nature-as-model and still operate in an entirely conventional way, guzzling fossil fuels. Frank Gehry's non-linear, snakeskin-clad designs (Plate 5), or Peter Eisenman's explorations of topography and tectonic plates (Fig. 1.3) may represent such an engagement, but this interest is not extended to renegotiating the material relation between such architecture and nature. In other...

The Green City of Tomorrow Malmo Sweden

Green points are given to elements that benefit biodiversity - bird nesting boxes, bat boxes, natural areas. The contractors are allowed to choose from a range of items to achieve a minimum of 10 points. Traffic. The area is planned around high quality cycleways and footpaths to make these attractive for short journeys, with an integrated public bus service planned. A mobility office provides information on transport. Sweden's public transport runs on green fuels, car pools have electric- and gas-powered vehicles, and maintenance vehicles are planned to be electrically powered.

Climatic differentiation Ken Yeang

The tempering of the environmental imperative by architectural considerations is flagged by the use of the term 'energy-conserving'. Such an aim removes any quantified environmental performance levels from the equation. As long as fossil fuel consumption is lowered relative to a conventional high-rise, the amount by which it is lowered cannot be held to account. So that the use of aluminium cladding on the Menara Mesiniaga, for example, is of less importance for its high embodied energy content than for its architectural effect, an effect Alan Balfour queries in his introduction to Yeang's book ' the recent suite of towers seem like armoured figures preparing for an as-yet-undefined task, somewhat uneasy with their ecological responsibility' (Balfour, 1994 7). Yeang's architecture is evolving so quickly that this critique no longer has much relevance. The more recent work is planted, opened up and less metallic, responding to climate as particularly as possible.

Limited Energy Resources

The sun's energy arrives at the earth at a fixed rate, X and the supply of solar energy stored over millions of years in fossil fuels is limited. The population keeps growing, however, and each person is using more energy. We don't know exactly when we will run out of fossil fuels, but we do know that wasting the limited resources we have is a dangerous way to go. Through careful design, architects, interior designers, and building engineers can help make these finite resources last longer. For thousands of years in the past, we relied primarily upon the sun's energy for heat and light. Prior to the nineteenth century, wood was the most common fuel. As technology developed, we used wind for transportation and processing of grain, and early industries were located along rivers and streams in order to utilize waterpower. Mineral discoveries around 1800 introduced portable, convenient, and reliable fossil fuels coal, petroleum, and natural gas to power the industrial revolution. Our...

Primary Energy and CO2 Conversion Factors

The delivered and used energy in buildings for heating and DHW is conventionally fossil fuels (gas and oil), district heating, electricity or renewable resources that cause different CO2 emissions when converted to heat. To judge the different environmental impacts of buildings during operation, two indicators are used in this book

Airsourced air heat pumps

Rather than using electricity to power the compressor and fans, there is the prospect that natural gas or biofuel could be used to heat a Stirling engine to work the compressor and generate electricity for the fans. The excess heat could heat the building or provide domestic hot water. Rather than using electricity to power the compressor and fans, there is the prospect that natural gas or biofuel could be used to heat a Stirling engine to work the compressor and generate electricity for the fans. The excess heat could heat the building or provide domestic hot water. Where ground-coupled heat pumps are connected to the grid, given the present fuel mix across the EU, this results in a 40 reduction in CO2 emissions compared with modern fossil fuel alternatives. Add to this the fact that a ground loop lasts in excess of 50 years and the fact that heat pumps have high reliability and require no routine maintenance, the sustainability credentials of the technology are impressive. In terms...

Ozonelayer Protection

These damaging chemicals include commonly used refrigerants, such as Freon and chlorinated fluorocarbons (CFCs). With the signing of the Montreal Protocol, chemical companies began research in earnest to come up with substitutes that would be as efficient as conventional refrigerants in cooling buildings (and everything else) without having any environmentally harmful side effects. The issue is simple less-efficient refrigerants mean more electrical energy is needed to accomplish the same amount of cooling (engineers express it in terms of kilowatts of electricity per ton of cooling) therefore, more carbon dioxide emissions occur from fossil-fuel-fired power plants (the dominant US mode of producing electrical power), and more global warming occurs.

Active district solar heating

Renewable Energy Fraction Total

Be the scaling up of this technology to help meet heating requirements at district level. According to Dirk Mangold of the University of Stuttgart, 'Central solar heating plants offer one of the most economic ways of providing thermal solar energy to housing estates for domestic hot water and room heating. Over 50 of the fossil-fuel demand of an ordinary district heating plant can be replaced by solar energy when seasonal heat storage is included in the plant.'4

Volatile Organic Compounds

Others are detectable only by sensitive equipment. Almost any manufactured or natural product may give off VOCs in a confined space. VOCs commonly evaporate from building and furnishing products. Plywood, plastic, fibers, varnishes, coatings, and cleaning chemicals are common sources. Solvents used in paints, waxes, consumer products, and petroleum fuels all emit VOCs, many of which are toxic and can affect the central nervous system, the eyes, and the respiratory system.

Status of Facilities and Energy

Oberlin College is nearly 100 percent reliant on fossil fuels for energy, and most of this energy is derived by burning coal. The College owns and operates a coal-fired heating plant (with supplemental use of natural gas at transitional times of the year) to generate the bulk of the campus's heating requirements. Natural gas provides space and water heating at local sites. A small amount of electricity is produced through cogenera-tion. However, the bulk of campus electricity is purchased from Oberlin Municipal Light and Power OMLP . OMLP obtains most of its electricity (83 percent) from coal-fired power plants.1 The college owns or rents a number of vehicles which are almost 100 percent reliant on fossil fuels.

Some Lessons and Observations

Play in addressing the serious global environment problems, including overreli-ance on fossil fuels and global climate change. Innovations in the urban environment offer tremendous potential for dramatically reducing our ecological impacts, while at the same time enhancing our quality of life (e.g., expanding personal mobility options with bicycles and transit). The experiences demonstrate clearly that it is possible to apply virtually every green or ecological strategy or technique from solar and wind energy to gray-water recycling in very urban, very compact settings. Green urbanism is not an oxymoron. Moreover, the lesson of these European cities is that municipal governments can do much to help bring these ideas about, from making parking spaces available for car-sharing companies to providing density bonuses for green rooftops to producing or purchasing green power.

Energy Production and Use General Policy Statement

Energy transformation and use results in a variety of environmental pollutants, having impacts locally, regionally, and globally. Fossil fuels, particularly coal, are the greatest source of energy-related pollution. The principal impacts associated with using fossil fuels are the release of CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere. The scientific consensus is that the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere has already led to undesirable changes in the global climate, including an increase in average land surface temperature and an increasing frequency of storms, floods, and extreme weather events. Without action, the magnitude of climate change is expected to increase. Stabilization of climate is contingent on achieving a state in which CO2 released through human activities is balanced by CO2 removed through biological processes. Alternative energy sources are receiving increased attention by academic institutions. Within the framework of fossil fuels, the burning of natural gas (CH4)...

Being good in buildings

'Through sample drillings in rock, Arctic ice and soil, it has been established that the carbon-dioxide content in the air never rose above 280 parts per million during the last twelve million years. By 1958 it had risen to 315 parts to 340 parts by 1988, and to 350 in 1993. This is the result of burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) and the diminishing of tropical rainforests which absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide as well as producing oxygen' (Papanek, 1995 22 italics original).

Compression Refrigeration

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) also pose some threat of global warming and have long atmospheric lifetimes, but have low toxicity and are nonflammable. Natural hydrocarbons (HCs) have a negligible effect on global warming and short atmospheric life. However, they are flammable and explosive. Lower-threat alternative refrigerants may use more energy, which may mean more fossil fuel use and more pollution. Production of refrigerants with photovoltaic energy is an alternative.

A mission for the new millennium

A carbon-neutral building produces no overall CO2 emissions to the atmosphere when energy flows are analysed over a typical year. Fossil fuel use is offset by renewable energy harvested by the building envelope -often using the national grid as a storage device enabling excess electrical

Project Construction

Reduce the impact on peak cooling loads in the summer. In addition, natural gas or oil is not used for heating on-site. The building is all-electric and the energy provider is currently investing in renewable wind energy in Iowa. While there are no current contracts in place for purchasing green power for the building to date, they will be accommodated in the future. The heat pump system is zoned to allow for a dynamic system that can accommodate fluctuating use of space throughout a day or week. Fourth, for supplemental heating in winter, the main gathering space can be heated with a corn-burning stove furnace. In the coldest of Iowa weeks, the furnace would use approximately one bushel of shelled corn per day. This corn is obviously a renewable resource and is demonstrating to the public that there are options to traditional fossil fuel heating and cooling systems.

Introduction to Alternative Roof Systems Without Bond Beams

Traditional earthen architecture was built without concrete, steel, or fossil fuel products. We feel that, in most cases, concrete and heavy wood bond beams are an unnecessary use of money and resources. (If you are considering building a roof system onto an earthbag structure without a continuous bond beam, please review Chapter 5). As a review, and to prepare for building a roof without a bond beam, these structural features should be taken into account.

A22 International Energy Agency

Collaborative programmes in the various energy technology areas are conducted under implementing agreements, which are signed by contracting parties (government agencies or entities designated by them). There are currently 42 implementing agreements covering fossil-fuel technologies, renewable energy technologies, efficient energy end-use technologies, nuclear fusion science and technology, and energy technology information centres.

Road Traffic And Pollution

Movement within the city cannot be solved by building more roads at great cost, their non-acceptability in social terms, and because such a procedure will not in the end solve the problem. The case for a change in attitude to the problem of the movement of people and goods within and between urban areas has been strengthened by studies of pollution caused by, amongst other things, the use of fossil fuels for transport. The result of this pollution increases the effects, as we have seen, of global climate change. Local pollution caused by heavily used roads also affects the local environment, resulting in health hazards. The report of the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987 and the Earth Summit in 1992 outlined some of the dangers from pollution, while in this country the eighteenth report of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (1994) states, 'The unrelenting growth of transport has become possibly the greatest environmental threat facing the UK, and one...

Indoor Air Contaminants

Prior to 1973, energy for buildings was relatively inexpensive, and large quantities of outdoor air were used to ventilate buildings. During the oil embargo of 1973, Americans became more aware of the limited supply of fossil fuels for energy. New energy-conserving designs were developed that often limited the amount of outdoor air entering the building, thereby saving the cost of heating or cooling this fresh air. Insulation was increased, air leakage through the building envelope was reduced, and mechanical ventilation rates were decreased. Heat exchangers were introduced to recover the heat of exhaust air.

Politics And Sustainable Development

Comfortably to economies which aim to grow or increase output. The over-exploited North Sea fishing grounds may be a better analogy for industrial growth without regard to stocks a time arrives when the industry itself is in danger, and draconian measures are necessary to conserve stocks and ensure regeneration of the resource. The decimation of the British and Irish fishing fleets are witness to the greedy exploitation of a valuable 'common'. Non-renewable resources such as oil or natural gas when used for human well-being must - if sustainable development is a goal - be capable of being replaced by other renewable resources. For example, the use of fossil fuels should be accompanied by the development of renewable energy sources such as wind, water and solar power. Interesting experiments in the development of renewable energy sources - though not always welcomed by the local population -have been or are being implemented throughout Europe.

Evolution as Model and Nature as Standard

The starting point for ecological design is the 3.8 billion years of evolutionary history. Nature, for ecological designers, is not something just to be mastered it is a tutor and mentor for human actions. For example, Janine Benyus (1998), author of Biomimicry, points out that spiders make biodegradable materials stronger than steel and tougher than Kevlar without fossil fuels or toxic chemicals. From nothing more than substances in seawater, mollusks make ceramic-like materials that are stronger and more durable than anything we presently know how to make. These and thousands of other instances are models for manufacturing, the design of technologies, farming, machines, and architecture that are orders of magnitude more efficient and elegant than our best industrial capabilities.

Electricity generation

The most widely quoted definition of sustainable development is from the Brundtland Commission of 1987 'development which meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'. Sustainable design recognizes the interdependence of the built and natural environments seeks to harness natural energy from biological processes and eliminate reliance on fossil fuels and toxic materials and seeks to improve resource efficiency.

Toward Solar Architecture

The energy potential, which the sun places at our disposal cn a daily basis, seems inexhaustible. The incident radiation on the a dmasses of the earth alone is 3000 times greater thar the worldwide demands. Yet we continue to meet these demands almost exclusively with non-renewable energies generated pnmanty from fossil fuels. The resultant environmental problems - air pollution, acid rain, greenhouse effect and climate change - are only too well known. As if this weren't bad enough, annual consumption is climbing drama -icaiiy. For affluence is on the rise and some of the most populous countries of the world, such as China and India, are atxxit to adopt the extravagant lifestyle of the West. This will lead to nearly immeasurable ecological and political consequences in the near future s*Ke the conventional energy resources are finite and wil soon be exhausted. The fight for access to and control over these energy resources, first and foremost oil. will intensify even more. Seen from...

System design efficient and controllable equipment

After first and foremost reducing the heat demand, and then appraising the options with respect to fuel supply, it is necessary to consider the most appropriate and efficient technology with which to deliver the residual heating requirement. With efficient heat distribution systems and controls it becomes more cost-effective to choose low-carbon options, typically more expensive than traditional carbon fuels. A full option appraisal should consider all the possibilities, and focus on the most efficient, economic and practical combination. Where buildings are designed with very low heating requirements using high insulation levels and good airtightness standards, then active renewables can become the major provider of heating. Waste incineration, biofuels, wind, wave bio-gas and hydroelectric schemes can all be considered at the design stage. Other possibilities include district heating schemes based on a renewable fuel such as waste or woodchip. A number of demonstration schemes have...

Figure 91 Site features for fire prevention and fighting

Once all available fuel sources have been used, the fire will burn out. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the end of the fire. Barns and agricultural buildings often contain large quantities of fuel sources that can be impervious to water (e.g., hay, petroleum fuels, and fertilizers). It is common for some of these fuel sources to remain unburned during the initial fire, then continue to smolder. These smoldering pockets often reignite or rekindle another fire, requiring another visit from the fire department.

Hanson Welcomes New Guide From Energy Saving Trust

Hanson Building Products has welcomed the publication of the Energy Saving Trust's latest guide, entitled 'Energy Efficiency and the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 The EST encourages energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, and promotes better insulation and heating efficiency, and cleaner fuels for transport. The cover features Hanson's EcoHouse which demonstrates the company's latest developments in sustainable modern masonry construction and 'smart' living, as well as the benefits of offsite fabrication, high thermal mass and natural

General Policy Statement

To meet the goal stated above, the College should adopt policies that result in limiting on-campus transportation as much as possible to pedestrians bicycles and transportation for emergency vehicles, visitors, persons with disabilities, and deliveries and maintenance. There are several types of transportation relevant to reducing the use of automobiles, including on-campus activity, transportation between the campus and the city of Oberlin, transportation between the campus and surrounding areas in Northeast Ohio (e.g., the airport, Cleveland), and travel from campus to more remote locations (e.g., students traveling home for holidays). In addition, there are several classes of transportation users to consider, including students living on campus, students living off campus, faculty and staff traveling to and from the workplace, College employees using College vehicles on the job, and students using College vehicles for field trips, athletic events, and performances. Successful...

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC

Figure 1.4 Global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning (in billions of tonnes of carbon) up to 1990 and as projected to 2100 under World Energy Council scenarios, As and Bs with various 'business as usual assumptions' and C for 'ecologically driven scenario' that would lead to stabilization of carbon dioxide concentration at about 500 ppm Figure 1.4 Global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning (in billions of tonnes of carbon) up to 1990 and as projected to 2100 under World Energy Council scenarios, As and Bs with various 'business as usual assumptions' and C for 'ecologically driven scenario' that would lead to stabilization of carbon dioxide concentration at about 500 ppm Global emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning are currently approaching 7 billion tonnes of carbon per annum and rising rapidly (Fig. 1.4). Unless strong measures are taken, they will reach two or three times their present levels during the twenty-first...

Processing and production

Focussed by the increasing cost and by taxation of fossil fuel energy. Highly energy intensive aluminium production is located to exploit hydropower and several British brick manufacturers use a proportion of bio-gas in firing their bricks. The issues are rarely straightforward. Finally, whilst many of the worst practices have been outlawed in developed countries, this is not the case in some developing countries where labour costs are also cheaper, and can be a contributory reason for avoiding imported materials.

Why Are Fabricators Turning to Aluminium

At Industry level The Council for Aluminium in Building (CAB) works together with other material bodies for the overall good of the sector. Indeed many of CAB's actual members supply aluminium products alongside PVC and aluminium timber composites All manufacturers should be pulling together to tackle the biggest issue we have at the moment - that of global warming and the need to improve insulation and add renewable energy sources to the current building stock in order to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels.

Increasing Efficiency and Decreasing Environmental Costs of Production and Distribution

Minimizing pollution associated with energy production should be accomplished with a twofold approach that focuses on increasing efficiency of energy production and generation, and on shifting to less polluting forms of energy production. Coal is the most polluting of fossil fuels, generating toxic particulates locally,2 acid deposition regionally, and contributing disproportionately to global climate change relative to other fossil fuels. Recognizing this fact, Oberlin College seeks to reduce its dependence on coal for both heating and electricity.

Reducing Energy Consumption

Since Facilities Resource Management assumed operation of the campus in July of 1998, fossil fuel use has decreased by 15 . There is, however, room for substantial further improvements. A twofold approach to reducing energy consumption consists of 1) improving the thermal efficiency of buildings and operating efficiency of equipment, and 2) instituting creative policies and educational initiatives that encourage students, faculty, and staff to conserve energy. Buildings and activities within buildings currently account for greater than 90 of campus energy consumption. Effort should therefore focus on building renovation and on selecting appliances that minimize the use of energy (see EPAC statement on facilities in Section III). Innovative incentives should be created to encourage students, faculty, and staff to purchase and manage personal electronic equipment to minimize energy use.

Pollution and climate change

Urban areas are often regarded as some of the most polluted environments on the planet. Historically, the main forms of pollution affecting urban areas have been caused by the burning of fossil fuels like coal, resulting in high levels of sulphur dioxide being released into the atmosphere. Where cleaner forms of fuel are now being used for generating power, most of the pollution comes from traffic emissions. While the resulting pollutants are less visible, the forms of pollution have negative health effects on individuals, particularly with the increasing numbers of people suffering from asthma, heart or lung diseases. Climate change, on the other hand, is having a less direct impact on individuals but, instead, is affecting the equilibrium of the biosphere. This is a result of our over-dependence on fossil fuels like coal and oil, and this has produced what have become known as greenhouse gases. As fossil fuels are major, traditional energy sources for building, heating, cooking and...

Pollution the global context

In most UK buildings, space heating and hot water account for the largest annual consumption of delivered energy and hence CO2 emissions. The energy is most commonly generated from burning non-renewable carbon-based fuels - either directly or after conversion to electricity. The potential impact of the waste products of combustion - CO2, SOx and NOx - has been known for decades. Carbon dioxide is a principal contributor to global warming and oxides of sulphur and nitrogen contribute to acid rain. The issue is far from new. The predictions for global warming made in the early 1970s are not dissimilar to figures now accepted and used as the basis of policy setting. With rapid industrialisation and exploitation of fossil fuels in developing countries, it seems unlikely that a problem that could have been dealt with by the last generation can realistically be dealt with by the next. Ironically, at a time when many experts agree that climate change is inevitable, international governments...

Reference buildings based on national building codes 2001

In standard buildings today the energy use for heating and domestic hot water is mostly provided by fossil fuels (gas and oil), district heating and electricity. An important goal is to reduce the use of nonrenewable energy. Therefore, it is also important to show results in terms of primary energy demand.

Energy Efficient Residential Forms

There are now many architectural solutions which help provide more energy efficient homes, thus relying less on fossil fuels. Homes and landscapes can be designed for construction using a combination of recycled materials and materials which contain low levels of 'embodied' energy used in their manufacture and delivery (Figure 4.35) (see Edwards, 2000 Newton and Westaway, 1999 Harris and Borer, 2005). South facing surfaces can be fitted with photovoltaic cells (Figure 4.36) or solar water heating systems, or they might benefit from geothermal energy, the use of biofuels, wind or water power. In addition, there are now approaches to building that allow homes to be more highly insulated against extremes of temperature, as well as more naturally ventilated (see, for example, Roaf et al. 2001). Arguments are also made for developments to make more use of combined heat and power systems (see, for example, Barton et al. 2003 Rudlin and Falk, 1999).

Capital and Current Energy Requirements

The staggering increase in oil prices during the 1970s concentrated world attention on the energy crisis. It seems probable that the world will exhaust its fossil fuels by the middle of the 21st century, or soon after, by which time we can only hope that man's ingenuity will have learnt how to extract energy from other renewable sources such as waves, the sun and wind.

Heating Installations

Many of the complaints made about heating installations have been of their cost in operation and the difficulties of using alternative fuels, through inflexibility in building design. Many housing estates, for example, are either wired for electricity or piped for gas but do not enjoy both, and many modern dwellings do not have chimneys and are not able to use solid fuel without alteration. These issues are essentially social and economic, and lie outside the scope of this book. In passing, however, it is worth restating that many occupiers have, as a consequence, chosen to use portable fuels, such as paraffin and liquefied petroleum gas, which generate large quantities of moisture during combustion and so increase the risk of condensation and the problems which stem from it.

Background Climate change

The hypothesis of adverse change in the global climate is now generally accepted (UNEP, 2001). It is mainly the precise causes, scale and significance of this phenomenon that are in some dispute. The UK government in late 2000, however, unveiled a clear strategy aimed at reducing the country's contribution to climate change by cutting emissions of carbon dioxide by 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2010. Carbon dioxide is emitted during the combustion of fossil fuels. It accounts for over 80 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions and is generally thought to be the main human cause of global warming these days (Graves and Phillipson, 2000).

Towards a hydrogen economy

Over the millennia there have been three ages of energy. First there was the epoch of wood burning, lasting up to the eighteenth century when it was gradually supplanted by coal. The early twentieth century saw a gradual shift from coal to oil. The fourth energy age is dawning and will focus on hydrogen. Its drivers will be concern about security of supply of fossil fuels, anxieties about the environment especially global warming and, finally, advances in technology.

Carsten Petersdorff 1231 Concept

In high-performance houses, while the heat demand is reduced to a very low level and occurs during only a few months of the year, it does not decrease to zero. Certainly, a significant part of the space heating and major part of the hot water demand can be covered by solar energy. However, to cover 100 per cent of the demand would be economic nonsense. Such a system would be grossly over-dimensioned most of the year, having to dispose of heat. A backup heating system to cover the peaks is essential. Burning a fossil fuel is a proven means of providing this backup. Due to the small absolute quantities of fuel consumed, the environmental impact is negligible. Especially in high-performance houses, the following should be considered The term fossil fuel applies to energy carriers that were formed from plant and animal organisms some millions of years ago. During their lifetime, these life forms absorbed carbon dioxide (CO2) from their environment and now store carbon in underground...

Selling the power to the grid

Although the UK has a non-fossil fuel obligation requiring electricity generating companies to become involved in selling electricity generated without fossil fuels, there was no specific requirement for them in 1998 to buy PV-generated electricity from grid-connected buildings. The project team found only one of the six regional generators ready to do so Northern Electric.

Can we afford sustainable buildings

The overriding assumption is that sustainable building inevitably costs more or is less profitable. It appears self-evident. If it were cheaper or more profitable, then in market-driven economies surely everyone would be doing it. It is also reasonable to assume that the innovation required has a cost implication of time, planning, risk and enhanced information requirements, so inevitably innovators will be penalised and their profit margins reduced when put in direct competition with unsustainable practices. For the same reason fossil fuel energy is unrealistically cheap because we ultimately pay the price of global warming and the potentially extraordinary cost of remediation. Current funding means that, at best, some additional resources might assist to level the playing field in some areas, but we are far from

The spectre of energy

The second critical threshold advancing inexorably relates to energy. In sharp contrast to the warnings from the climatologists is the optimism of the energy industry based on predictions of unimpeded world economic growth. However, a forecast contained in the International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2004 report suggests that developed countries will increasingly be at the mercy of OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries). This cartel is set to provide half of the world's supplies of crude oil. The report warns that 'As international trade in oil expands, risks will grow of a supply disruption at the critical chokepoints through which oil must flow'. Reliance on fossil fuels will increase over the next two decades with the IEA forecasting that 85 of the increased energy consumption will be met by burning oil, gas or coal. The IEA also estimates that the cost of the new infrastructure to meet the growing demand for oil would be in the region of 16 trillion....

Fuel the least polluting sources of affordable energy

Gas and oil produce lower emissions to the atmosphere for each unit of delivered energy than electricity, making electricity, in general, the least preferred option for heating. A zero-CO2 emission option is to use active solar energy for hot water, wind energy and or biofuels such as woodchip, waste, straw or paper. Renewable energy technologies are dealt with in Chapter 11.

Process and the Work of Christopher Alexander

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the challenges faced by those who are responsible for making the built environment - architects and engineers included, among many others - are considerable. Buildings and cities are responsible, one way or the other, for the bulk of fossil-fuel consumption, as production levels off and begins to decline. Cities in developing countries continue to experience enormous population growth through births and in-migrations, most of it in slums and informal settlements there are hundreds of millions of people in the world without an adequate place to live. And many would argue that the quality of the built environment - its ability to support human life and elevate people's spirit - has not only declined but does not seem to be the goal of those who are making it.

Urban Considerations

Performative Architecture

In the first half of the 1960s, it became clear that the segregation of urban functions into housing, production and leisure zones led to a loss of quality in modern cities. At that time the interest was concentrated on the recovery of complexity. Concentration, Interconnections, Urbanity was the title of a seminar held in 1964 at the Department for Urban Planning of the TUM. Younger architects pinned their hopes to large-scale variable structures of the kind that Yona Friedmann had developed for Paris, Eckhard Schulze-Fielitz for the Ruhr area, Kisho Kurokawa for Tokyo, and Kenzo Tange for the Tokyo Bay project. In these schemes, proposals were made for handling massive increases in traffic, especially automobile traffic. The volume of traffic itself was not in question. Today we know that transport accounts for roughly a quarter of all fossil energy consumption, in addition to being responsible for a number of negative side-effects. It is necessary, therefore, not only to replace...

Photovoltaic systems

As discussed above, the primary energy equivalent of the annual PV yield can offset some to all of the primary energy (fossil fuels and electricity) needed by a house. In the case of an all-electric house (for example, space heating and DHW supplied by a compression heat pump), the PV yield can be directly compared to the electricity consumption by these technical systems. A sophisticated energy-saving concept is a precondition for such a PV application. Figure 14.1.1 shows the relevance of the PV output for different high-performance housing concepts. The light grey arrows indicate primary energy delivered the dark grey arrows point to the primary energy equivalent of the annual PV yield. The width of each arrow indicates the amount of energy. Except for the stand-alone case, all PV systems are grid connected.


Tasmanian Wooden Trophies

The owner of Belgrove, in Tasmania's Southern Midlands, near Kempton, makes a habit of visiting fried food establishments in the area to collect their used cooking oil, which he converts to biodiesel to power his tractor, ute and even his home's central heating. The original Aga stove in the kitchen is next in line for biodiesel conversion, which is just one of Peter's many ingenious little modifications to this grand old sandstone home.

Light And Mood

Natural Light Techniques Architecture

The majority of research exploring the relationship between light and mood has largely focused on electric lighting. The initial interest in daylighting occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, primarily in an attempt to reduce energy consumption in buildings and the reliance on fossil fuels. Initial behavioral studies pertaining to daylighting focused on whether daylight was preferred to electric light and the degree of that preference, if any. Pioneers in the field of the psychology of lighting such as Gibson (1971), Flynn (1977), and others focused primarily on electric lighting, although

Learning Objectives

The absence of viable low-temperature air-source heat-pump (LTHP) technology has left the geothermal heat pump as the only practical alternative for people who wish to use heat pumps in cold climates. The first-costs for these systems is higher than it is for fossil-fueled heaters because they are complex, and the systems that draw heat from natural sources can be difficult to install. Payback periods for them can be reasonable, but many urban and suburban sites are unsuitable because they lack either the real estate needed for ground loops or sources of water. From a thermodynamics standpoint, the LTHP has always been possible, and Shaw says that most of the knowledge and components necessary to make LTHPs have been around since I got in the business in 1958, but they were never developed. Low prices for fossil fuels, and low first-costs for equipment have assured that furnaces and boilers continue to dominate the U.S. space-heating market. This didn't deter him, and he tackled the...


The type of boiler used depends on the size of the heating load, the heating fuels available, the efficiency needed, and whether the boilers are single or modular. Fuels for boilers include wood, coal, solid waste, fuel oil, gas, or electricity, and some boilers use more than one fuel. Fossil-fuel burning boilers need flues to exhaust gases, fresh air for combustion, and pollution-control equipment. A horizontal pipe carries exhaust gas from the boiler, and is connected to a vertical flue section called the stack. Boilers also need ventilation air, with an inlet and outlet on opposite sides of the room.

Photovoltaic Cells

Peat Design For Tunnel Vent For Pigs

Photovoltaic cells were developed in 1954 as an energy source for the space program. Until the 1970s, the manufacture and installation of solar energy panels was not regulated, and poor quality systems and unreliable dealers combined with lower fossil fuel prices to limit solar construction. Photovoltaic energy is a clean, reliable alternative for providing electrical power. It minimizes dependence on fossil fuels and reduces vulnerability to fuel price spikes. Solar energy can decrease utility bills and increase the resale value of real estate.


Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution around 1750, one of these greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide - has increased by more than 30 and is now at a higher concentration in the atmosphere than it has been for many thousands of years (Fig. 1.1). Chemical analysis demonstrates that this increase is largely due to the burning of the fossil fuels coal, oil and gas. If no action is taken to curb these emissions, the carbon dioxide concentration will rise during the twenty-first century to two or three times its preindustrial level.

Materials And Energy

B1.1 Materials and energy pictogram. There are only a few main categories of building materials, deriving from (1) plants, (2) animals and (3) minerals, while energy can be seen as coming from (1) living beings, (2) fossil fuel, and, most important, (3) the sun - directly or indirectly.

Tidal currents

Alderney Tidal Currents

As fuel cells and electrolysers (which are reverse fuel cells) become more efficient and less expensive this strategy would be particularly appropriate for high-energy-density systems like the tidal energy bridge. It must also be remembered that fossil fuel prices are on a steady and probably irreversible upward trend as the 'peak oil' point is passed at 2010.

Energy Crisis

The oil embargo and the energy crisis of 1973 led to increased interest in energy conservation and the use of renewable energy sources such as solar power. Solar architecture was a direct response to the oil crisis, and its popularity grew in the late 1970s, particularly in the American southwest where there is abundant sunlight. Passive solar design principles were soon adapted to climates beyond that of the American southwest, as new technologies emerged and know-how improved. As concern grew over the use of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal) to produce electricity, interest in the use of sunlight as an alternative source to meet some of the energy demands of buildings increased, albeit grudgingly. The number of buildings that rely on the sun and other eco-friendly design principles to meet their energy demands remains minuscule compared with their conventional counterparts. As Figure 1.32 illustrates, the projected worldwide use of all energy sources increases through 2030....


This is now recognized by most governments, though there is still a reluctance to take sufficient measures to overcome the problems involved. The 'fossil fuels' which provide the bulk of the energy we use at present, are still thought of as cheap alternatives to action, ignoring the fact that coal, gas, and oil are a finite resource with limited life for the future, leading to a potential energy crisis. Nuclear power in the UK has not proved to be the answer, unlike early projections from journalists that energy would become almost free. The generation of energy by means of nuclear power stations, has become too expensive, added to the unsolved problems of the disposal of nuclear waste, to a point where it is unlikely using present technology for nuclear to provide the alternative to fossil fuels the development of nuclear energy is more an issue for the environmentalist. There are countries, such as France, where a large part of their energy is derived from nuclear plants, but in the...

Types of systems

Ventilation systems with an efficient exhaust air heat recovery only need a small booster heater to provide sufficient heating power. Several solutions are available heat pumps that extract heat from the exhaust air after the heat exchanger or solar thermal systems backed up by electric or fossil-fuelled furnaces. Natural and propane gas-fired condensing heaters can supply this backup today. Small and highly efficient oil boilers with low emissions are still under development. Several systems developed for fossil fuels have been adapted to burn renewable fuels, such as oil from sunflower seed. Systems for high-performance housing have to be carefully sized, with care given to avoiding over-dimensioned systems. The very low amounts of heat required constrain how much can be justified in capital costs to buy and maintain the system. Fossil fuel combustion requires periodic emission checkups of the burner and flue. Meter reading and billing charges take on a disproportionate magnitude in...


It was not until the energy crisis, and the realization that our reliance on fossil fuels had limitations, that people started to question this high energy approach, and began to look at ways to reduce the electricity load in buildings, and one of the more obvious ways was to return to an understanding of the natural resource of daylight. The outside influences were to some extent political, the sharp increase in oil prices and the fuel crisis, the gradual realization that the fossil fuels upon which the world relied, the coal and oil, had a finite life and once used were not replaceable. No doubt this would have been ignored apart from the further factor of a greater understanding of the greenhouse effect due to the release of carbon dioxide by the burning of those same fossil fuels. Finally there was the destruction of the ozone layer and the increasing danger of global warming.

Shifting Boundaries

Many design disciplines, other than systems engineering, must now recognize that design always has such social consequences, whether we choose to acknowledge them or not, and that these social consequences affect the success or failure of projects. The call to achieve environmental sustainability provides an illustrative example. Environmental degradation, most analysts now recognize, is as much a social problem as it is a technological one. The heating and cooling of urban buildings, which is linked to the urban heat island effect, and rates of fossil fuel consumption,

Being good

There are two main obstacles to an acceptance of such an environmental ethics. The first is the debate over the reliability of the science that frames environmental degradation in terms of impending catastrophe. The second is the resistance of nation states to thinking universally. National self-interest was much in evidence at the 1998 Kyoto summit, at which developed nations like the United States sought to exempt themselves from any reduction in their own fossil fuel consumption by trading it off against the lower consumption of developing nations, much to the fury of those developing nations. (Nor does the export of cleaner technologies to developing nations let developed countries off the hook. The latter still need to contribute to a reduction of greenhouse gases as well. The buck cannot be passed to other (weaker) nations.) This refusal to think globally is a refusal to be bound by the universality of environmental ethics, to take responsibility for one's material production...

Solar Design

In the 1980s, a disagreement about the use of large areas of south-facing glazing existed. Solar gains were not taken into account when calculating the energy balance of a building an improved U-value through adequate thermal insulation was seen as the best way to reduce fossil fuel consumption. This came to be recognized as a monocausal view, as it largely ignored the fact that buildings are highly complex organisms, functionally, technically and aesthetically.

Renewable Energy

There's so much to say about renewable energy. You can conceive it this way imagine civilized life on Earth before the advent of the fossil-fuel era. Think of ancient Rome, the Italian Renaissance and the settlement of America, all of which took place using only sun, wind and water, along with draft animals, for power. Imagine that we could live healthy, happy and productive lives without electricity. This was reality for our great-grandparents (that is, if you're my age if you're under 30, add another great ). Think of Abe Lincoln in the White House, a once-habitable place to live and work without air conditioning (well, maybe not in July and August), gas furnaces and electric lighting. As we start to bump up against the limits of planetary ecosystems to absorb all the waste and effluents made possible by fossil and nuclear fuels, we once again are reminded of the need to start living not off our inherited wealth, fossil fuels, but off our continuing income from the sun, wind,...

Energy And The City

Much of the atmospheric pollution is caused by the burning of fossil fuels in the creation of energy to support city life. This energy is used in the building of city structures (energy capital) during the lifetime of the structure and in the transportation of people and goods between and within cities (energy revenue). Therefore, the design of cities and the ways in which they are used have a great impact on the natural environment. Few serious environmental scientists believe that we are running out of energy to sustain our civilization. 'The energy problem' - and there is an energy problem - 'is not primarily a matter of depletion of resources in any global sense but rather of environmental impacts and socio-political risks - and, potentially, of rising monetary costs for energy when its environmental and socio-political hazards are adequately internalised and insured against' (Holdren, 2002). Oil is the most versatile and most valuable of the conventional fuels that has long...

Current Situation

Owners and developers of residential, commercial and institutional properties across North America are discovering that it is often possible to build green buildings on conventional budgets. Many developers, building owners and facility managers are advancing the state of the art in commercial and large residential buildings through new modeling tools, design techniques and creative use of financial and regulatory incentives. For the past ten years, in ever-increasing numbers, we have begun to see development of commercial structures using green building techniques and technologies. With more than 1,200 corporations issuing sustainability reports of some form in 2006, it is clear that this market will not be a short-lived fad. Companies want to locate in a space that reflects their values, and a highperformance building goes a long way toward satisfying that requirement.3 Most long-time participants in the real estate, architectural design and building construction industries realize...

Solar Heating

It is estimated that if the sunlight that reaches the earth's surface in one day were converted into useful energy forms, it would satisfy the energy needs of the world for over 50 years. The amount of sunlight falling on a building typically carries enough energy to keep the building comfortable throughout the year. The limited supply of fossil fuels encourages their conservation for uses in industry rather than as sources of building heat. Electric energy is an inefficient source of heat, and may be generated by fossil fuels or by nuclear power plants. Solar energy offers an alternative with fewer air polluting emissions and no danger of harmful radioactivity. Solar energy also offers insurance against the possibility that conventional energy technologies could suddenly become too expensive, unavailable, or undesirable for social, political, or physical reasons. The ability to produce energy on site leads to decentralization and social stability. Solar energy comes in four useful...


Using energy-efficient household appliances also has a positive effect on the electrical grid because it can be dimensioned for a lower peak load. The peaks appear mostly during winter, in the morning hours and in the late afternoons when people are at home using their electrical appliances. The less installed power a household has, the less it influences the total load on the electrical grid. Today there are no limits on how many watts a household is allowed to have installed. A regulation might help to avoid extreme peak situations where fossil fuels have to be used as additional sources of energy. A vision into the future might show solutions where electricity providers are given the possibility of deciding by remote control when water is heated or laundry is dried in order to even out the power load. This way, the electricity provider will be able to optimize their production system. This could result in a new kind of contract between electricity providers and consumers, where the...


High-performance housing and its corresponding components, such as windows, described in this section, are a challenge for the building industry during the next few years. The possibility of achieving buildings that are almost independent from the delivery of fossil fuels is fascinating. The extra costs that have to be spent are an investment in a local market and a local industry such as handicraft and trade, which feeds many people. Furthermore, this is an investment in a future of low and decentralized power distribution, which will be less sensitive and less dependent on the delivery of fossil fuels.

Passive Solar Design

Passive solar design refers to a number of intelligent building design techniques that reduce or eliminate the use of fossil fuels and electricity for heating, cooling and lighting buildings (during the day). The modern version of this traditional approach to building design was developed beginning in the 1970s and applied to a wide variety of building types throughout the US, with a focus on the West and Southwest.115 The term passive solar design was chosen to contrast with the more prevalent and far more expensive active solar systems that used expensive copper or aluminum rooftop collectors and lots of fans, pumps and controls to heat and cool spaces. The idea behind passive solar design was to incorporate sunlight and natural ventilation into the basic design of the building, minimizing the need for mechanical systems. In many of the hot, arid climate zones of the US, this is an excellent design strategy. In hot, humid zones, more focus needs to be given to ventilation and less...


Quadri Paesaggi

Robert Congel claims that Destiny will free humanity from its dependence on fossil fuels, setting an example by powering itself through photovoltaics, windmills, and hydrogen fuel cells. Mike Lorenz, C.E.O. of the subsidiary developing Destiny, claims it will revolutionize the construction industry, with design and construction occurring in real time using modeling software linked to factories. Building modules will then be erected on-site by the same employees who will become the sales associates in Destiny's stores.


Sustainable development requires that we cultivate energy from natural processes in such a way as not to deplete them and not to result in social harm, environmental pollution, waste or short life. Environmental pollution, specifically climate change, is currently the principal motivation for interest in energy conservation and in renewable energy technologies as alternatives to fossil fuels. Highly intermittent attention to renewable energy means that it has been difficult to maintain any consistency in approach. It has taken a combined cognisance of environmental hazards, commercial opportunities of technology development and concerns about security of energy supply for serious attention to renewables to become an international issue. The present commercial climate, however, still gives largely unbridled support to the ongoing availability of cheap fossil fuels. Renewable technologies can rarely compete economically, especially as expectations of financial payback are generally very...


Energy is contained in plant matter and animal waste, and can be burnt to provide electricity, heat or steam. If the original product is free of chemical treatments, then the waste products can be returned to the land, as fertiliser. Plant matter can also be converted to a liquid or gaseous supply to produce alcohol fuel, biogas and plant-oil-derived diesel. Use of organic waste for energy can be integrated into waste management strategies. Emissions from the combustion of biomass are cleaner than emissions from fossil fuels. Biomass is used extensively in developing countries, and in the developed countries large- and small-scale applications are becoming popular. The main sources in the UK are residues from pulp and paper operation, forests, agriculture, urban woodlands and animal waste. Some crops are grown specifically for energy. However, biomass energy is truly renewable (carbon neutral) only when the rate of planting equals or exceeds the rate of use. Landfill gas is a special...


Learning organizations, in short, relate what they do with the way the world works as a physical system by applying the art and science of ecological design. In the post-fossil-fuel world, we will have to reshape how we provision ourselves with food, energy, materials, water, livelihood, health care, shelter, transportation, and community. This is what Thomas Berry (1999) calls the Great Work of our time. Events beginning with those of September 11, 2001, give added urgency to rethinking how to achieve resilience and security by design for everyone. And colleges and universities can lead in this process by becoming visible and dynamic models of ecological design, transitioning from organizations that advance learning to ones capable themselves of learning.

Low Energy

Few would contest the value of minimising or even eliminating the use of energy, especially if generated from non-renewable fossil fuels of coal, oil or gas or produced by nuclear power stations. Growth in availability of energy from renewable sources, such as wind, water and solar power, will reduce the pressure which was so apparent in the early 1970s when OPEC reduced supply and raised prices significantly. 'Zero-energy' buildings are already possible and there are several examples of 'autonomous buildings' which claim to be independent in terms of nett zero import export. In the UK of late, some of the 'heat' has gone out of this area with reduction in energy prices due to competitive tariff negotiation following privatisation of formerly publicly managed operations. Consumers have been able to reduce their energy bills while actually increasing their consumption.


There is some misunderstanding about basic concepts in energy. In everyday language, the word 'energy' is used very loosely. Work, power, fuel, heat and energy are often used interchangeably and incorrectly. Energy can take a variety of forms electrical energy, mechanical work and heat. It can be converted between these various forms. For example, a fossil fuel can be burnt to produce heat energy in a power station. The heat energy produced is then converted to mechanical energy by a turbine, which in turn produces electrical energy through a generator. Finally, the electricity is distributed to homes, offices and factories, where it can be converted to mechanical work using electric motors, heat via resistance elements and light using electric lamps. The losses in conversion and transmission are immense.

Airconditioning unit

Air pollution pollution caused by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, emissions from various industrial processes, dust and grit from quarries and cement works, and the fumes from chemical works, oil refineries and motor vehicles. airport see air terminal. air-raid shelter see civil defence shelter. 6i air receiver see air vessel.

Prologue Sustainable

Maison Hante

Sustainability may be defined as meeting the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. When we burn fossil fuels, we consume a portion of a finite, nonrenewable resource so that it will not be available a generation or two in the future. We also generate greenhouse gases that promote global warming. This will confront a near-future generation with the problem of a world in which glaciers and ice caps are shrinking, seas are rising to perilous levels, and weather is violent and unpredictable. When we build sprawling residential subdivisions on fertile land once used for growing food crops, we reduce the


But could our timidity in terms of the built environment also be a product of a wider lack of human self-belief Have we lost our faith in 'the manmade', and now believe that we can only move forward if it is in some way imitative or harnessed to nature Is it possible that by not asserting our potential, at this very crucial point in time, to find real solutions to large-scale problems such as the demise of fossil fuel and global warming at the level of the megastructure, we could be merely dabbling too late Helen Castle

Exemplary buildings

The row houses in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, provided an ideal field laboratory to examine how effective different constructions and design are in achieving high performance. Of interest here was not just the energy consumed over the operational life of the buildings, but also energy consumption over the whole life cycle, from construction through 50 anticipated years of service to demolition at the end. It was also interesting to see what proportion the infrastructure (streets and utilities) make of the total energy picture of a community. The project also served as a demonstration project, promising the transition from a coal and heavy industry economy and fossil fuel dependency to a new era based on solar energy. This was one of the first of an ambitious state programme to build 50 solar communities.


The two major issues relating to the car and the city are pollution and congestion. A strict programme of fixes - both technical (efficiency, fuel economy, alternative fuels) and non-technical (a shift of freight and people to alternatives, reductions in speed, engine size and journey length) - could readily produce between 20 and 50 CO2 reductions over a 10-year period, and improvements in health and efficiency. However, currently we still have a projected rapid growth in car ownership, with only marginal technical and non-technical improvements.

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Guide to Alternative Fuels

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