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...

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...

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...