The Green Register Blog

For and by sustainable construction professionals

 

Recycling V Reuse – Not as simple as you think

Posted on July 1st, 2014

Brian Murphy | National Green Specification www.greenspecdownload.co.uk

Q: Ceramic tile sample recycling?
 
Do you know of any depots who collect unused ceramic tile samples?  
As an architectural practice, we get lots of samples and companies are often very reluctant to pick up samples once the job is complete or if the sample is redundant.
This seems a huge waste (especially for any re-use enthusiasts!) and I am keen not to throw the tiles to landfill.
I'd appreciate any advice you...

Posted in Building envelope, Carbon emissions, Sustainable Development

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Sustainable energy finance – A direction to a green economy?

Posted on June 1st, 2014

Chris Hocknell & Rita Margarido | eight associates  

What needs to be done?

Commercial sector buildings are responsible for 10% of the UK’s carbon emissions, and it is estimated that £1.6 billion in cost savings could be achieved through investment in commercial energy efficiency. However, the Bank of England states that banks and investment institutions are actually reducing their lending although they have significant financial reserves. Clearly there is an opportunity for directing these funds to productive means; it is called sustainable energy finance.

How can it be done? ...

Posted in Building envelope, Carbon emissions, Features, Legislation, Retrofit, Sustainable Development

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The complexity of flood management

Posted on May 1st, 2014

Jim Allen | E&M West

Working with water is a challenge wherever you are.  Balancing human need for supply on the one hand, and safety and security on the other are common concerns, although the severity of the challenge and the particular focus will vary.

In the UK recent experiences with extreme weather events in all corners of the country have focussed attention on flood risk.  Existing provision for drainage and flood defence was tested and found wanting, having suffered years of limited investment and frankly neglect. 

Flood management is complex, with responsibilties split between local and national...

Posted in Features, General News, Recommended, Sustainable Development, Water

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Daylight can help us to live more healthily

Posted on April 1st, 2014

Cora Kwiatkowski | Stride Treglown

Architects are continuously on the look-out for the better insulation, the paint with no solvents, the more sustainable timber systems, and the new state of the art material. But natural light? We don't give it the special attention it deserves, although it is a very special building material, is readily available, not owned by individuals or countries - and it is free.

In 1903 Professor Niels Finsen discovered that direct sunlight can heal tuberculosis. A few years later, the social housing revolution in Berlin, Vienna and Stuttgart (building with more ‘Licht und Luft’ – light...

Posted in Features, General News, Recommended, Sustainable Development

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Wastewater heat recovery – a better option than greywater recycling?

Posted on March 1st, 2014

Cath Hassell | ech2o consultants 

Greywater recycling

I often say that, at its core, harvesting rainwater is beautifully simple. I would say that the exact opposite applies to recycling greywater for use back in a building.[1] Waste water from baths, showers and wash basins has a high organic load which starts to deteriorate after 24 hours. There are different methods of treating greywater – biological, chemical, mechanical, or a mixture. All work, but the withdrawal of two of the main system suppliers from the UK market in 2012, (the Ecoplay and the smaller Pontos Aquacycle units) shows the difficulty...

Posted in Carbon emissions, Case Studies, Low and Zero Carbon Technologies, Recommended, Retrofit, Sustainable Development, Water

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Welcomed Turnout for Builders on SBS Course

Posted on February 23rd, 2014

The Green Register ran our regular two day Sustainable Building and Services introductory course in Exeter last week. Usually more than half of the attendees on these courses are architects but this time nearly half were builders. We were really delighted with this - each time we run these courses we get a different mix of people, all contributing their own experiences, frustrations and ideas for the future. This time the builders brought a fresh perspective to the two days, their contributions rooted in the practicalities of achieving well insulated, airtight, low impact buildings.

It's an unfortunate side effect of the downturn that builders have more time to attend training...

Posted in General News

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Missing The Fracking Point

Posted on January 2nd, 2014

Lucy Pedler | The Green Register 

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was developed in the 1940s to recover gas from conventional wells and has more recently ‘revolutionised’ the American energy industry, allowing the USA to become temporarily more energy independent by extracting gas (and oil) from small fractures in the earth’s crust (see the BBC’s short video illustrating the process:...

Posted in Carbon emissions, General News, Low and Zero Carbon Technologies, Recommended, Sustainable Development, Water

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Permitted Development

Posted on January 1st, 2014

Jillian Mitchell | Project Logistics Architecture

In May 2013, changes to the limits and process for building without the need for planning approval came into force, amidst much criticism amongst professionals and politicians alike.  Media headlines heralded rear extensions at double the sizes in previous PD, but left out much of the complex matrix of Parts and Classes which determine if planning approval is required, and made very little mention of the neighbour consultation process required, if an approval is to not be triggered.  See here for a technical explanation of the changes: ...

Posted in Building envelope, Carbon emissions, Features, Legislation, Recommended, Retrofit, Sustainable Development

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Part L 2013 has finally arrived

Posted on December 1st, 2013

Thomas Vazakas | RPS Health, Safety and Environment  

The much anticipated Part L 2013 which was due to come into force in October 2013, following consultation that began in January 2013, was finally officially launched at the beginning of October  During the launch it was promised that the Approved Documents and beta versions of the SAP and SBEM software would be issued within weeks. However it took until the 25th November before Approved Documents L1A and L2A were released and there is still no confirmed release date for the Approved Documents for existing buildings. Meanwhile the test version of SBEM software is due to be...

Posted in Building envelope, Carbon emissions, Legislation, Recommended, Sustainable Development

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Environmental Design to the rescue of Passivhaus

Posted on November 1st, 2013
Rob Rickey | LHC Architecture 

There is no doubt that the PassivHaus standard delivers very low energy buildings. It delivers on comfort and air quality as well, and post-occupancy surveys back this up time after time. What it does not guarantee is aesthetic quality or innovation in materials – that is up to the architect. Among my colleagues, PH buildings are criticised for their stripped-down, boxy appearance. Form factor (surface areas/floor area) suggests a cube as the starting point for a building design – spheres being out of fashion) and some designs do not progress beyond strict utility.

I saw the expression “...

Posted in Building envelope, Carbon emissions, Low and Zero Carbon Technologies, Recommended, Sustainable Development

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