Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jerm IX

gone fishing
Originally uploaded by jerm IX
JermIX is a street artist active in Vancouver.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Peter Clegg and low energy design

Last night the Cascadia Region Green Building Council sponsored a talk by Peter Clegg of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios . Peter dicussed a number of low energy design projects his firm has worked on.

The first one he discussed in depth was the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The building design took into account natural light and air flows into its design. One of my favorite aspects was the use of natural light which allows the building to be lit at times without using artificial lights.

One of the other projects he discussed was the Headquarters of the National Trust in Swindon. The building is located in a highly industrialized area. It is designed to take advantage of light and wind ventilation as much as possible. The shape of the building attempts to reflect this history of the site while allowing for sustainable features. Read more about the design and construction of the building here.

The Headquarters of the Woodland Trust were also discussed. The project aim was to create a highly innovative and sustainable building within a market rate budget, and to achieve a BREEAM (the LEED-like standard in the UK) Excellent rating with the hope that the building will strengthen the Woodland Trust core cultural values.

One of the interesting facts that was brought out in the lecture is that 5-7% of CO2 emssions worldwide come from the concrete industry. By using wood in the construction, 9 years of operation emssion were saved in the construction of the building. This emphasizes why it is important to think about materials when designing sustainable structures.

Another great feature of this buildin is its spiral design to represent shapes that appear in nature. 

Peter then went on to talk about some of the residences he has worked on including Accordia, which won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2008 and One Brighton Housing. In Accordia, one of the amazing features was that the typical "English garden" was changed to fit on 3 stories of house thus allowing more public space in the development. What I loved about One Brighton was that for 140 units, the development included only 10 car spaces which are reserved for share cars - including 2 electric cars.

At the end of the lecture, Peter brought up the One Planet Principles of design which include 10 principles of sustainable living.  These principles have been developed by BioRegional - an entrepreneurial charity, which initiates practical sustainability solutions, and then delivers them by setting up new enterprises and partnerships around the world.

Monday, December 7, 2009

And they're off!

Well it has started. The climate talks in Copenhagen have officially begun. If you'd like to follow the talks online, a number of news sources have set up sites dedicated to the conference which is very promising in itself.

The New York Times

The New York Times have set up their own page on the Copenhagen Climate Talks (UNFCCC). This page features lots of useful information and interactive features like Global Emissions by country, energy consumption, GDP, etc., a timeline on the science and politics of climate change, and a video, Copenhagen 101, which gives a basic overview of what the climate talks are and why they are important.

The Guardian is another resource with up-to-date information on what is going on in Copenhagen. Their site offers information on the key players, a glossary of terms that will be used during the conference, video, audio and photo galleries of the conference, and a special feature on Copenhagen media coverage.


Reuters is also having extensive coverage of COP15 including a climate panel addressing the key questions for the conference, a live blog feed from journalists at the conference, and a series of fact boxes and related articles for greater understanding.

Other international sites that are extensively covering the conference include Spiegel Online (in English), Le Monde (in French), Al Jazeera (English), and Xinhua Net (English).

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's coming...

Unless you've been stuck in a hole, I'm sure you realize that next week is COP15 - the climate conference in Copenhagen.

The following are a list of resources to learn more about what COP15 is and why it is important:

  • The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) has released a four-page briefing called COP15 for journalists: a guide to the UN climate change summit. This gives a very nice basic guide on the background and the key points.
  • Visit Hopenhagen. Hopenhagen is a movement and a chance at a new beginning. The hope that during the United Nations Climate Change Conference a better future for our planet can be built. It is the hope that we can create a global community that will lead our leaders into making the right decisions. The promise that by solving our environmental crisis, we can solve our economic crisis at the same time.
  • Visit and learn why COP15 is being called the most complex and vital agreement the world has ever seen.
  • Visit the official COP15 website.
  • Read updates from who will be on site at the Copenhagen conference.
This next week will be a very interesting and critical time for the future of our planet. Even Google has helped launch a new tool to give people a vote on the outcome of the crucial meeting."Show Your Vote" allows people to register in a virtual ballot box that can be embedded into any website (see below).

If you have any stories from Copenhagen, please let me know. I'd be very interested to hear them.