Posted on October 1st, 2014
I was planning a whole load of puns to go with this blog especially as my take on this is going to be rather heavy on facts and figures. But actually no, I think it is best that we all suffer the numbers. To my mind to issues surrounding fracking are, in many ways, a lot like those surrounding nuclear power. The public at large want lower bills and energy security at the prices that cheap fossil fuels have always delivered. Unfortunately, the fact that the era of cheap energy bills is now in the past is an inconvenient...
Posted in Features, General News, Have your say, Recommended, Sustainable Development
Posted on September 1st, 2014
Cath Hassell | ech2o
G3 (1) of the Building Regulations (England and Wales) states that hot water must be provided ‘to any washbasin in, or adjacent to, a room containing a sanitary convenience.’(1) Under the guidance it states that: ‘in the Secretary of State’s view the requirement will be met if: the installation conveys hot water to the sanitary appliances … without waste, misuse, or undue consumption of water.’ (2) G4 states that: ‘adequate hand washing facilities must be provided in rooms containing...
Posted in Carbon emissions, General News, Legislation, Low and Zero Carbon Technologies, Sustainable Development, Water
Posted on July 1st, 2014
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...
Posted in Building envelope, Carbon emissions, Sustainable Development
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...
Posted in Building envelope, Carbon emissions, Features, Legislation, Retrofit, Sustainable Development
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
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
Posted on March 1st, 2014
Cath Hassell | ech2o consultants
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. 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
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