Choices the 5 Rs

The options available to designers can be summarised as the 5 Rs Refuse, Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, Repair. Refusing represents the ultimate sanction - setting guidelines on what is and is not acceptable based on best possible information. It may involve declining unethical work or establishing and overseeing a policy. Examples include the T bingen Policy referred to in Chapter 2 or the exclusion of uPVC for the Sydney Olympic Stadium. Architects, engineers and others in the construction industry...

Timber College Lyss

Architects Itten and Brechbuhl, 1998 This forest training centre in Switzerland was visited in 2005 by a group of Scottish and Scandinavian building designers interested in new developments in wood construction. The building, occupied in 1998, is owned by a foundation from 11 cantons. It was originally intended to be a concrete construction but, with the timber industry in decline, the director insisted on a timber construction. The primary construction comprises 300 silver fir columns with...

Red Kite House Wallingford

Red Kite House is a new office for the UK Environment Agency. It aimed to demonstrate the EA's leadership in the design of improved workplaces and to help raise awareness for the potential for businesses, organisations and the public to make positive choices to protect and improve the environment. Before Red Kite House was built, the area's 250 staff occupied eight inflexible, inefficient buildings. As well as addressing these issues, a new single building was also perceived as aiding effective...

What do sustainable buildings cost

The industry is notoriously shy in revealing information on cost and what is and isn't included. Information on the cost of sustainable building is therefore only slowly beginning to emerge. At best it can be said to give an indication of current knowledge, but it is far from being robust or reliable. We know that many beneficial features have little or no additional capital cost, but deliver cost benefits in use - for example, site selection, attention to layout, form and window orientation,...

Redefining progress

Sustainable development is about ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for future generations. It is important that our economic, social and environmental policies all improve our quality of life, and we need suitable indicators of all three elements to measure progress toward a sustainable economy that meets people's real needs. We should be looking to set policy, indicators and targets that promote those aspects of our economic activity that improve our quality of life. The...

Prisma mixed development Nuremberg

Architects Joachim Eble Architects, 1997 Despite being in the centre of a German city and having to comply with stringent building control and fire regulations, this nine-storey mixed development manages to achieve a very high standard of specification in terms of environmentally sound materials - notably the finishes. Where possible, floors are of mass timber to form an equivalent to concrete beam and block flooring. Concrete is used only where absolutely necessary. Timber finishes are used...

Conservation

Water economy is beneficial even where there is not an obvious water shortage Conservation through specification of efficient water systems, such as WCs, can significantly reduce infrastructure requirements and costs, and deliver savings in metered water use. Contrary to most expectations, water and energy efficient solutions can have significant performance benefits that justify their inclusion regardless of water saving. Examples include odourless flood-proof urinals, WCs that flush first...

Hopwood Park Motorway Services M42

The site is almost impermeable, and so surface water has to be collected and treated prior to discharge direct to local watercourses. The HGV park comprises a self-contained drainage system with water flowing across a grass filter strip to a stone 'treatment trench' sized to intercept and clean the 'first-flush' run-off from the tarmac surface. There are no gullies, pipes or oil separators. Run-off then flows to a spillage basin designed to contain tanker spillages and finally to an attenuation...

Planning and lowimpact development

In considering low-impact buildings, it is useful to understand the context within which these buildings may be conceived and developed. Simon Fairlie's book Low Impact Development looks at the planning process in the UK, with a view to promoting the development of low-impact structures and ways of life. An organisation known as 'The Land is Ours' has developed 15 criteria which form a basis for understanding the conceptual and practical context for low-impact buildings. Fairlie notes that few...

Web Sites

Department of Trade & Industry - The DTI New and Renewables programme is a source of policy guidance. The website is the source of information on contemporary policy. Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) - extensive experience and a large range of publications are available at www.cat.org. including comprehensive guidance with good references to journals and suppliers. Energy Saving Trust. www.energysavingtrust.org.uk The European Renewable Energy Research Centres Agency. www.eurec.be...

Massing and energy efficiency

Using compact building forms with relatively small exposed surface area for a given floor area can reduce the influence of weather and keep services distribution systems to a minimum. Terraced housing and apartments are intrinsically more thermally efficient than detached dwellings, as they share walls. Theoretical studies and measured feedback have established the value of grouping buildings together for energy conservation, and this is common practice in most of Europe. In the UK, we build...

Contents

(Previous page) Wind Turbines, Shotts 11.1 Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth 281 11.2 Ely Power Station 283 11.3 Kinlochleven Community and Sports Centre, Argyll 284 11.4 The Eco House, Nottingham 286 11.5 Sainsbury's petrol station, Greenwich 287 11.6 University of Northumbria 288 11.7 Lerwick district heating scheme, Shetland 293

Oversimplification

Too often the scope of concerns and complexity of issues regarding sustainability are over-simplified. Many so-called sustainability arguments equate it with climate change in particular, to the detriment of other considerations. Vitally important as carbon management is, we need action on many fronts. No amount of energy efficiency, nor any other single-issue campaign, will deliver sustainable development, although it will help. Oversimplification encourages one-dimensional solutions, short...

Electromagnetic fields EMFs

Electric fields are present in all equipment connected to a power supply, such as power lines, cables, appliances, mobile phones, base stations, and TV and radio transmitters. When an electrical appliance is switched on, a current flows and generates an electro-magnetic field. EMFs are associated with high blood pressure, disturbed sleep, headaches, allergy sensitivity and nausea. Concern about the possible role of EMFs in ill-health has its origin in a study carried out in 1979 in the USA. A...

Edinvar Housing Association Edinburgh

Refurbishment of a tenement block into low allergy, affordable flats. All toxic materials and potential asthma and allergy triggers were removed and replaced with natural materials. Gaia first carried out a feasibility study for Edinvar Housing Association looking into the possibility of achieving a 'state-of-the-art' green refurbishment exploring the twin areas of refurbishment and ecological design, in particular with regard to listed buildings where planning constraints are onerous. The...

Costed factory specification

Architects Gaia Architects, 2001 In 2000, Ballindarg Buildings Ltd approached Scottish Enterprise Tayside for advice and assistance in a proposed development of light industrial units as a model example of sustainable development. Gaia Architects were subsequently appointed to undertake a feasibility study. A visit to the Centre for Alternative Technology provided a balance between practical and educational content, and gave considerable food for thought with regard to the...

McLaren Leisure Centre Callander

The McLaren Centre achieved a saving on its electrical wiring due to a change in specification from the norm of PVC to non-PVC LSF (low smoke and fumes) wiring. The Centre has dynamic insulation in all of its main spaces sports hall, swimming pool, squash courts and bowling hall. Because of the requirement for an airtight roof void, it is through the control membrane to a minimum. This meant that the wiring to the lighting, fire alarms, etc. was placed below the ceiling membrane but above the...

Environmental design

The services and space planning are the most significant aspects of the whole-life costs of most buildings. Mechanical services are an escalating aspect of building costs and typically account for more than 25 of capital costs - 50 has been known. Since the mechanical services have to be replaced frequently within the life of a building, have significant maintenance implications and are responsible for much of the resource consumption, there is keen interest in ensuring that their whole-life...

Feedback

Feedback has recently come to prominence. There are three general types 1 Review of project performance (perhaps a SWOT analysis by the design team) to learn lessons and identify future opportunities. This is likely to cover issues such as the brief, design, project management, programming and coordination, cost control, build quality, etc. 2 Feedback during the year or so after completion, taking the form of an ongoing relationship with client users to ensure best operational practice and have...

Better Quality of Life A strategy for sustainable development in the UK

After extensive consultation, through 'Sustainable Development Opportunities for Change', the UK government published the policy paper A Better Quality of Life - A strategy for sustainable development in the UK. This emphasised that 'one of the fundamental principles of sustainable development is that it is a process with economic, social and ethical, as well as environmental dimensions'. The publication was reviewed and a progress report published in 2002. Four tenets of sustainable...

Equipment boilers

European legislation (1997) forced manufacturers to increase efficiency of heating appliances. There are roughly three categories of boiler * Basic (traditional) non-condensing 77-80 efficient. * High-efficiency non-condensing 80-82 efficient - generally low water content and or low thermal mass with improved heat exchangers and insulation. * Condensing 85-92 efficient (depends on system design) - generally gas fired and with an extra heat exchanger to extract heat from the products of...

Rio to Johannesburg 2002

Following UNCED, a number of international meetings were convened and agreements were reached on a variety of environmental issues of international relevance. The next major world convention, the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg in 2002, is generally considered as a failure, with few commitments made. Whilst it is true in many respects that Rio had limited success and Johannesburg even less, a factual account of what was actually agreed in 2002 makes interesting...

Recent progress

Many gloomy predictions are contradicted by experience. In resource terms we appear to have more than ever, and in developed countries warnings have begun to be heeded. Widespread concern is being translated into policy. Regulations and taxation are slowly taming polluters. The air and rivers are getting cleaner, and many people remain optimistically wedded to the idea that humankind will find solutions to any problems that arise. 'Nineteenth and twentieth century models of development are...

Schafbrhl Nr Tbingen

Architects Joachim Eble Architects, 1985 This development on the outskirts of Tubingen in south Germany was one of the very first major residential ecological design projects in the world and possibly stands as the first modern example of urban ecology. The project of 220 houses was completed in 1985. It resulted from the desire of a group of families, interested in Rudolph Steiner's philosophy, to develop their own housing. The development, which takes its aesthetics from a nearby traditional...

Grunberg House Ullapool

The building has a timber-frame structure, and all windows, doors and finishes are in timber. A combination of wind and hydropower was supposed to give the building self-sufficiency in energy, whilst the design makes optimum use of passive solar warmth through a curving sun-trap form. A composting toilet was pioneered and the building employs local and natural materials such as Scottish timber and slate, and has vapour transfusive construction and healthy internal finishes.

Fossil fuels

Where heating demand cannot be met passively, or through renewable generation, then the environmental best practice is to use gas for heating where it is available in preference to grid electricity. This is now fully incorporated into the Building Regulations, which look to primary energy consumption. More options are also emerging to purchase electricity with a higher renewable context from the grid. In Norway the milk cartons are made purely of paper. At this school milk cartons are...

Withy Cottage Herefordshire

Nick Grant's self-build home and office, 2002 Another rural self-build in Herefordshire which provided the opportunity to try a range of largely simple measures. As with Hollow Ash, a septic tank gives way to a compost toilet chamber, over which the super-insulated house was built. The compost toilet was an aesthetic as well as environmental consideration, and provides a very elegant solution for a rural self-build. Lessons learnt from Hollow Ash have resulted in an odour- and fly-free system....

Autonomous Environmental Information Centre

Centre for Alternative Technology, Wales. Architect Pat Borer, 2001 Increasing visitor numbers put a strain on the site's reed-bed sewage system and sewage from a new building needed to be treated separately. The site was ideally suited to the use of a Swedish separating system that collects and composts solids. The liquid effluent is treated biologically by using the slate tip, on which the building sits, as a biological filter. Unlikely to be widely replicated, it illustrates the principle of...

RoHS Restrictions of the use of certain Hazardous Substances

The RoHS Directive bans the placing on the EU market of new electrical and electronic equipment containing more than agreed levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants. There are a number of exempted applications for these substances. The RoHS takes its scope broadly from the WEEE Directive. Manufacturers have to ensure that their products - and their components - comply. This directive introduces...

Growth

Towns most commonly have developed at crossroads - transport nodes - where a significant building such as a church would be sited. The ancient Egyptian hieroglyph of a city is a crossed circle. Typically, the quadrants created between meeting routes develop their own identities and a circular route completes the sense of a distinct town. In most contemporary cities there is a core that then extends and sprawls until an outer ring road becomes necessary. Expansion has generally occurred along...

Heat pumps

Heat pumps transform low-grade heat from water, the ground or waste into higher grade heat. They do this through the input of energy, usually electrical energy, at an efficiency referred to as the coefficient of performance (COP). They can produce high COPs when operating at low temperature differentials. They have found wide use in applications where low-grade heat is available - for example, where low-grade process heating is being dumped, or for ventilation extract heat recovery such as in...

Lifespans

A building can be viewed as a series of layers with different lifespans. The overall structure might be expected to last 100 years or more, the external skin 50 years, the internal partitioning 20 years, and elements of the services 10 years. Fit-out, decoration and equipment cycles are often less than 5 years. Ideally a building could be conceived and detailed in a series of technically discreet 'layers' to reflect these lifespans. This would optimise the potential for maintainability and...

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment WEEE Directive

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive was agreed on 13 February 2003, along with the related Directive on Restrictions of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS). The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive aims to minimise the impacts of electrical and electronic equipment on the environment during their lifetimes and when they become waste. It applies to a huge spectrum of products. It encourages and sets...

CE Protecting the aspiration

At this stage every aspect of the design team job has to be viewed through a sustainability filter money, materials, lighting, controls, landscape, fabric, form, orientation, energy, fire protection, heating, waste, IT, ventilation, cooling, transport, water provision, coordination, changing legislation, policy, building management. This is the point at which to achieve a truly sustainable project. All of the design team will be required to negotiate and agree to resolve cross-cutting issues....

Rainwater

The local treatment and reuse of wastewater (including rainwater) for toilet flushing and other non-potable uses such as irrigation is increasingly popular. Generally, it is more effective to implement water efficiency measures such as low-volume WCs before considering reuse, although there are situations where reuse has compound benefits, such as the attenuation of storm water flows. An obvious case for recycling or reuse, for example, would be one in which a large roof area suitable for...

Embodied pollution what has been done to it and by whom

Huge damage is done to the local and global environment and to the health of workers and others through the extraction, production and distribution that make up the construction industry supply chain. Some manufacturers are involved in ethically questionable practices, whilst others have explicit and forward thinking policies on environmental and social issues and may be willing to provide good information on their impacts, and strategies. It is up to the specifier to determine the relevance...

The role of construction

The construction industry plays an enormous role in our lives. It provides for one of our most basic needs and is also an immense factor in the economy. The built environment also has a financial impact through its influence on the physical and economic health and well-being of individuals, communities and organisations. Poorly designed buildings and built environments contribute directly to ill-health, crime and disaffection, undermine community and create excessive financial liability in the...

Springhill Stroud Cohousing

Stroud Co-housing is the first new-build collaborative housing in the UK. It aims to create a real sense of community. There are 35 private houses and flats with a shared Common House where people can cook and eat together. Cars and parking are kept to the edge of the site, leaving the majority of the area pedestrian only and safe for children and the elderly. This Common House is the hub, meeting and event space, and also has a workshop, table tennis area and laundry facilities. Timber...

Reduced waste

Construction activity gives rise to the largest quantity of solid waste of any sector in the UK. Reductions are possible with major savings in construction and demolition costs. But efficient use of land, energy and water conservation, native landscaping and solid waste management all have financial benefits. This provides a useful policy fit with the Limits to Growth model described in Chapter 1 and provides the basis for many of the case studies in Factor Four. Designing buildings for long...

Procurement

In the wake of the Latham and the Egan Reports, significant effort is presently directed to innovative procurement. Many contractors remain cautious and conservative. In respect of sustainability issues, there is no evidence to indicate that delivering the green baton intact need be hindered by any form of procurement - PFI, design and build, traditional design teamled procurement or hybrids of these - although continuity is likely to be a key to success under any system. Goodwill, good...

Demolition of an office block

This demolition project was undertaken in the early 1990s. The building at IBM's former offices at Hursley was an eight-storey, concrete framed office block that because of the building programme was enclosed between new occupied buildings. Due to the constraints of the tight demolition site a decision was made to seek to minimise the disruption of the process by dismantling. Safety and lack of disruption were principal concerns, and once it was determined that the building would need to be...

Pollution

In the UK, lead, nitrates, aluminium and pesticides are among those pollutants found above safe limits in water. Few of the chemical compounds found in water are monitored regularly and EC directives cover only a fraction of them. Many remain unidentified. Whilst much originates in industrial discharge and agricultural practice, there is also a great deal over which the building designer and user can have a positive influence, including reducing pollution from rainwater runoff, leachate from...

Gibson Mill Autonomous Visitor Centre Hebden Bridge

Owned by the National Trust, Gibson Mill is a nineteenth-century cotton mill that sits at the heart of Hardcastle Crags near Hebden Bridge. It has been brought back into use as a facility for visitors and for the local community. The brief required the renovated mill to be a model of sustainable development, being run with minimum adverse impact on its environment. The lack of any mains services inspired a totally autonomous design. A private water supply and wastewater treatment was the only...

Introduction

All designers attain at least a basic knowledge of underlying principles of thermal comfort, heat transfer and energy flows. However, this is not always readily translated into design practice. As issues of energy security and the unknown, but potentially devastating, impacts of climate change have been acknowledged, legislators have begun to make conservation of fuel and power a priority. In order to best deliver this, we need to pursue an integrated approach to heating design. It is no longer...

From little acorns

The origin and principal drivers of sustainable construction lie in the efforts of individuals and small groups who have sought to identify and resolve problems of resource throughputs, work and social interaction. Hence the predominance of the 'eco-village' rather than the 'eco-town' or 'eco-city'. Many a civil servant has wandered the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Wales to learn about sustainability. Exploration and experimentation with lifestyles and technology led to the...

Linacre College Oxford

The main ambition for this project was to use The building was framed in a context of low CO2 materials that required little processing. Low emissions and had a number of passive design embodied energy was an integral part of a general features, including the use of passive controls. low-energy strategy. The specification also Heat recovery and grey water usage were includes recycled materials (roof tiles, copper included. This project achieved Green Building of piping and hardcore), natural...

Historic and general

Dickson, D. (1974) Alternative Technology and the Politics of Technical Change. Fontana. Boyle, G. (1975) Living on the Sun - Harnessing Renewable Energy for an Equitable Society. Calder & Boyars. Chapman, P. (1975) Fuel's Paradise - Energy Options for Britain. Penguin. Lucas, T. (1975) How to Build a Solar Heater. Mentor. Vale B. and R. (1975) The Autonomous House Thames and Hudson Boyle, G. (1996) Renewable Energy - Power for a Sustainable Future. Open University. BSRIA (1996) Sustainable...

Elizabeth Fry Building University of East Anglia

Architects John Miller + Partners, 1995 The Elizabeth Fry Building at the University of East Anglia (occupied 1995) was only the second UK building to use the Swedish Termodeck ventilated floor slab system to provide year-round tempering of fresh air and enhanced levels of useful thermal capacity. The building consists of 3130m2 of treated floor area over four floors with cellular offices, lecture and seminar rooms, and two dining rooms. The ceilings on all floors are constructed using the...

Variablespeed drives VSDs

One of the reasons why the energy consumption associated with fans and pumps is high in many buildings is the traditional approach to pipe and ductwork systems. Generally, they are oversized and then - at commissioning - valves and dampers are added to control the flow by increasing the system resistance. An alternative approach is to control the flow rate by using VSDs. These ensure that even if fans and pumps are oversized, energy consumption will not be greatly increased. But VSDs cost...

Benchmark Wessex Water ENVEST

Architects Bennetts Associates, 2000 Wessex Water are a waste and water company based in the south-west of England. When they set about building a new office building for their 500 staff, they were keen that it reflected their commitment to sustainability and energy conservation. The resulting 10 000m2 building comprises office space, a caf and meeting training rooms. It is naturally ventilated with energy-efficient lighting, solar hot water heating and rainwater harvesting for...

Form and fabric how to minimise heat requirements

Good fabric design minimises the need for services, and hence running cost and adverse environmental impact. There is a need to consider thermal insulation, thermal mass, choice and location of openings, and quality of construction details. Emslie Morgan's Wallasey School was the first notable UK building to seek a passive heating standard (albeit with an overemphasis on lighting inefficiency) and no-heating solutions have since been achieved in a significant number of commercial buildings,...

Plants

In recent years there has been much investigation into the role of plants in microclimate, VOCs and acoustic control of the indoor environment. Field identified that indoor environments with plants - both with and without full-spectrum lighting -reduce discomfort. Humidification by transpiration of evergreen plants could be useful in winter when RH can be low, and could potentially replace humidification provided by expensive and energy-intensive mechanical processes. In order to raise...

Sigmoid

A growing population takes resources from and emits pollution to a finite space, and puts pressure on that environment. Negative feedback such as scarcity, pollution and ill-health slows down growth if the feedback and the response are rapid and accurate. Growth levels off and the population gradually and stably approaches the carrying capacity. Architects Street Farmers - Graham Caine, Bruce Haggart, 1974 An experimental temporary structure constructed in 1974 by Graham Caine and Bruce...

Climate

Most buildings and cities up to the beginning of the twentieth century evolved in a manner responsive to climate and were geometrically efficient. Traditional cold climate settlements avoid windy hilltops or cold valleys, where there is an energy and comfort penalty, and vice versa in warm climates. Traditionally buildings were responsive to climate - protecting from sun or wind where necessary and opening up to sun where this was a benefit. Solar gain or shade, courtyards and openings, trees...

Ecominimalism

There is growing concern that the potential benefits from some renewable technologies are being oversold. Expensive technologies with short life, suspect manufacturing processes (often themselves energy and chemically intensive) and hence high embodied pollution are not evidently more sustainable than quality, conventional design based on a good understanding of buildability and scientific principles. Even basic calculations highlight that real priority areas for attention are design...

Adding value through design

The design fees and construction costs of a typical office building are a tiny proportion of the total costs of a building. Operations, maintenance, finance and employees often account for as much as 99 . Arguments for increased investment at the design stage are persuasive. It makes excellent business sense to seek a design and construction process that minimises capital cost, maximises those attributes that contribute to better business operation and minimises those elements that will be a...

Ecocabins CAT

Architects Cindy Harris and Pat Borer, 1991 Since the completion of the Eco-cabins in 1991, over 5000 people (mainly schoolchildren), have occupied them for a week-long learning experience. During their stay, they learn about managing renewable energy sources, conservation of energy and water, dealing with sewage effluent, composting techniques and environmentally benign ways of growing food. The Eco-cabins themselves are two self-contained residential units where the electricity supply, the...

Methods of ventilation

The unaided volume of airflow through a building depends on the number, position and orientation of openings, the difference in temperature between inside and outside, and the wind velocity. The wind creates pressure differences that drive air into a building on the windward side and out on the leeward side. Indoor activities create thermal gradients as warm air is 'lighter' than cold air and will tend to rise and leave at high level to be replaced by air entering at low level - the so-called...

Impact

The UK construction industry provides a tenth of the UK's gross domestic product and employs 1.4 million people. It is responsible for over 25 of all industry-related pollution incidents. Construction and demolition waste represent 19 of UK waste. The energy used in constructing, occupying and operating buildings is responsible for about 50 of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions. Our buildings are less healthy, less efficient, generate more waste, and are more polluting and more costly to run...

Combined heat and power CHP

If heat demands are significant, then it is worth considering the potential for CHP to contribute to a solution. Typically, heat exchangers reclaim waste heat from exhaust gases and other sources during the electrical generation process, and this can then be used to provide hot water throughout the year and heating during the winter. It is possible to achieve efficiencies of 80 if a system is optimised. Economic viability is dependent on intensive use and the demand for heat. It is most...

Solar thermal

Solar energy can be used for heating air or water. The solar energy available in the UK is around 900-1300 kWh m2 year. Climate data suggests that this is increasing in the south and decreasing in the north. Flat-plate collectors (FPC) consist of water-carrying pipes in contact with an absorber surface. Back and side insulation prevents heat losses, and a transparent cover has the effect of retaining the solar radiation, creating a greenhouse effect. Efficiency is influenced by the amount of...

Great big oaks do grow

Recent European projects, including a number comprising tens of thousands of new homes, have sought to establish new benchmarks in design by setting standards on a wide range of issues, which include mandatory considerations such as energy efficiency (but with much higher expectations) and also new parameters such as mixed-use planning, healthy indoor environments, techniques to encourage biodiversity and dedicated areas and landscaping for food production. Many are also tackling transportation...

Desiccant and solar cooling

Desiccant cooling can be used to condition the internal environment of buildings and operates without the use of traditional refrigerants. It is an open heat-driven cycle which utilises a desiccant wheel and thermal wheel in tandem to achieve cooling and dehumidification. Because it is a heat-driven cycle, there is the potential to use any low-temperature source gas, hot water, waste heat, including solar thermal energy. A research project involved analysing the energy performance and control...

The Machynlleth House CAT

Self-build under the guidance of Jon Broome, Architype, 1993 The development of post and beam timber-frame building owes a great deal to the architect Walter Segal. He refined the building process to make it accessible to all and today his Segal Method is popular with selfbuilders. The Machynlleth House at the Centre for Alternative Technology demonstrates that a low-cost simple Segal construction can incorporate energy-saving features. The Centre arranged a self-build course for eight...

Passive solar heating

Passive solar heating can contribute significantly to heating requirements, particularly when a building is designed with this in mind, although the economics require careful assessment. Passive solar heating contributes to space heating requirements in a relatively small number of buildings in the UK. As a general principle, passive solar energy should be exploited wherever possible. It should be available to every house and make a contribution to heating needs in schools and other buildings...

Fuel the least polluting sources of affordable energy

After attention has been directed to using form, fabric, good detailing, efficient construction and the local environment to full effect to minimise heat demand, then it is important to investigate the most appropriate fuel source for the residual space heating and domestic hot water demand. 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...

Transport

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...

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...

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...

Biomass

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. Biomass heating at Lyss, Timber College, Austria Use of organic waste for energy can be integrated into waste management strategies....

Development

In rural environments people hold very different views about renewable energy versus the alternatives. The only sensible solution is to make radical reductions in energy consumption so that the optimal use is made of whatever is generated (Photo the author) 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...

Processing and production

Pollution also results from the process or processes of producing a material or product. These can adversely affect the immediate and the wider environment. Pollution may be airborne - via chimneys, for example, or waterborne - via watercourses, due to seepage from buried waste for example. Highly processed components are generally to be avoided where a lesser processed product can fulfil the same function. Many industries have poor credentials when viewed in terms of worker health and safety....

Wates House Centre for Alternative Technology

Architect Peter Bond Associates, 1976 The Centre for Alternative Technology has been a leading proponent of sustainable building, beginning in the 1970s with experiments specifically aimed at reducing energy demand. Completed in 1976, by Peter Bond Associates, Richmond, Surrey, this two-storey 100 m2 house was designed with a conventional appearance and emphasis on very-low-energy passive design combined with alternative energy sources. The 700 mm thick walls consist of a rendered 100 mm outer...

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...

Local weather and microclimate

A building design should as far as possible respond to the local climate - for example, use local wind conditions to drive natural ventilation. Creation of a microclimate through the use of planted shelter belts and appropriate physical layouts can contribute savings of up to 15 on energy use and also improve amenity value by enhancing biodiversity, reducing the winds and the wind chill factor around buildings. It is difficult to assess in detail how wind will move through a site - but it can...

Glencoe Visitor Centre Argyll

Architects committed to sustainable design have argued that quantitative assessment methods often and indicators are irreconcilable with the qualitative nature of the design process. Quantitative indicators can lead to reductionism, sometimes to a single digit and reward the measurable at the expense of the important. Few respond to context, so urban, suburban and rural projects are subject to similar rules. Instead, indicators and guidance must encourage and excite design professionals to...

Photovoltaic PV

PV cells convert solar radiation into DC electricity. It is adequate for 12 24-volt DC supply, but must be converted using an inverter to AC for most purposes, including export to the grid in the case of excess generation. Storage is required for use outside daylight hours. Systems are built up in arrays from modules to the required size. Principal applications until relatively recently were in remote locations, marine navigation, transmitters, water pumping or battery charging, where the...

Recycled materials or waste

Construction and other waste generation is a major issue in the UK and we lag far behind many countries in recycling and reuse. The creative reuse of materials is still a largely untapped resource despite the efforts of a few motivated individuals and organisations. Lowest impact options are non-polluting materials that can be simply reused. Recycling and reuse of polluting materials that would be destined for landfill is creditable, but ultimately the final destination must be a consideration...

Design airtightness Bre Seda

CARL (undated) Energy and Environment in Non-Domestic Buildings.Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd (www.carltd.com pubs.asp). Coverage of passive design issues. GPG 79 (1994) Energy Efficiency in Housing. BRECSU. Halliday, S. P. (1994) Environmental Code of Practice for Buildings and their Services. BSRIA. Services-based process guidance on all aspects of building design from inception to demolition or refurbishment. CIBSE Guide (1998) Energy Efficiency in Buildings. CIBSE.

The Green City of Tomorrow Malmo Sweden

Vastra Hamnen is a harbour industrial area consisting of open ground with sparse vegetation. It is being redeveloped as a city district with dwellings, shops and offices in a process that involves major reclamation. The aim is for the district to be an international flagship of environmentally sound dense urban development. The first phase, Bo01, was completed in late 2001. It includes 100 renewable energy supply, quality targets on building performance, a site-wide waste management strategy...

Boatemah Walk Lambeth London

Architects Anne Thorne Architects Partnership, 2003 Boatemah Walk is a three-storey block of 18 flats and is part of Lambeth Council's regeneration of Angell Town estate. The original design brief was for a greywater recycling system to a green roof and standard WC and taps specification. ech2o consultants were asked to design a rainwater harvesting system for the flats after the decision was made to abandon the greywater recycling scheme. As the most important part of any sustainable water...

Toll House Gardens Perth

Domestic environments are known to be a source of breathing-related problems, which can be exacerbated by poor construction and ventilation. One in seven children in Scotland suffers from asthma, and an affordable specification is a major step forward in barrier-free design and improved quality of life for a large number of sufferers and their families. A commission for 14 houses and a small research grant provided an opportunity to create low-allergen asthma-friendly buildings that extended...

The sustainability baton

Detail Prod'n Tender Site Handover Detail Prod'n Tender Site Handover 'The Green Baton may be dropped at key points in the process Once dropped it is difficult to pick up again and regain lost ground.' Howard Liddell The construction period is described here in set periods - with dominant levels of responsibility transferring as the project progresses. Howard Liddell's concept of the 'green baton' illustrates that at each stage in the procurement process the sustainability agenda is vulnerable....

Okohaus Frankfurt

The Okohaus cultural and business centre opened in May 1992. It is described by the architects Sambeth and Eble as 'an alternative example to Frankfurt's usual business premises, respecting ecological principles in its entirety and in its details, at costs not excessively above the usual'. It is a modern design and uses traditional construction materials and methods. It is situated near the centre of Frankfurt adjacent to a railway line. It is a 10 900 m2 mixed use building built for a largely...

Design guides

BRE Digest 399 1994 Natural Ventilation in Non-domestic Buildings. BRE. CIBSE AM10 1997 Natural Ventilation in Non-Domestic Buildings, March. Members. CIBSE. Roalkvam, D. 1997 Naturlig Ventilasjon. NABU NFR in Norwegian . Allard, F. 1998 Natural Ventilation in Buildings A Design Handbook. James amp James. CIBSE AM13 2000 Mixed Mode Ventilation. CIBSE. In which we investigate current attempts to harness the ever-present renewable energy resources in the wind, water, earth, sun and biomass, and...

Sources and sinks

Simply put, it is not the number of babies, cars or refrigerators that puts stress on an environment, but the efficiency with which we use resources and minimise pollution and net waste At the same time, the treatment and storage of waste was identified as becoming more difficult, contentious and expensive as the existing sites or sinks became overburdened such as the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and new sites such as for landfill become harder to find. Much current policy...

Culemborg Netherlands

Masterplan Joachim Eble Architects, 2004-now This high-density, low-rise development in eastern Netherlands was the brainchild of one individual, Marlene Kaptein. She has driven the project forward against some opposition and many funding difficulties. It is now two-thirds complete, and an exemplar of urban ecology. Set in a city edge of mature trees and marginal agriculture, the development sits within a permaculture masterplan by Joachim Eble. It consists of a varied housing mix, a school, a...