The Montgomery Primary School in Exeter is the first passive house building built in the UK by a big contractor.

If this school were sitting a zero-carbon design exam it would get a very good mark. Take a look at its answer paper. Use of proven low energy design methodologies: tick. Use of robust construction techniques: tick. Use of renewable technologies with very generous government grants: tick. Potential to form a standardised design for use in other schools: tick. Future-proofed against climate change: tick.

Passivhaus school design | iPHM international Passive House Magazine - 100% hand picked news

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Sean Fitz of Kenn for Green has an article about cool roofs featuring the Menlo Park Green Ribbon Committee's Alex Cannara's crusade to get us all to install or retrofit cool roofs in Menlo Park and around the world:

Painting your roof white your cause this process to be greatly reduced, which in turn reduces the heat and infrared energy produced. This in turns keeps structures and areas cooler causing less energy to be expended in cooling.

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But Its Delicious!

But It's Delicious!

Remember when you were a kid and your Mom told you to do something "just because I said so." Didn't that make you not want to do it? But when she said "if you do it, I'll get you some ice cream!" you were much more motivated, weren't you?

Don't tell me what to do; instead, make it worth my while to do the right thing - and then I'll probably do it.

There was an interesting post a few days ago on the Consilience blog about local incentives and mandates for green buildings around the country:

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We're leaving money on the table by not improving energy efficiency (image by pfala, CC 2.5 licensed)

Would you spend $520 to save $1,200? That's the choice McKinsey & Co is offering to the U.S. about energy efficiency. In their new report on energy efficiency, released last week, McKinsey shows how the U.S. can reduce its non-transportation energy use by 23%, eliminate the emissions of 1.1 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually, and save $1,200 billion, for a cost of about $520 billion.

They do recognize that achieving these results requires some new thinking on our parts:

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playing with fire

Playing With Fire (image by charles chan, CC 2.0 license)

An article in Sunday's Science Daily reports on research showing that more than half of the Earth's warming since the dawn of the industrial age is due to the heat released from our energy use, not atmospheric warming due to the greenhouse effect.

While the greenhouse effect is still a significant contributor - and will become more so as GHG levels in the atmosphere rise - simply the heat released when burning fuels is also being stored in the atmosphere, as well as in the earth, sea, and arctic ice.

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According this this analysis, from New Energy World Network, within 15 years the cost of concentrating solar power will be less than the cost of "clean" coal, at least in Australia. The analysis is based on the rates of change in cost between the two energy sources. With the cost of coal increasing, relatively, and CSP decreasing, the cost lines eventually cross, leaving CSP cheaper.

In addition, the article mentions offhandedly that connecting the Queensland and South Australian electricity grids would "likely pay for itself quickly just in increased efficiencies brought to the existing grid."

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Smokestacks (image by shoothead, CC 2.0 licensed)

Some good news from China this week, and a blueprint for addressing the huge amount of energy used, and GHG's generated, by the built environment:

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Roundup Time! (image by williac, CC 2.0 licensed)

Some more roundup links. These pages have been hanging around in my browser for weeks, waiting for me to blog about them. As with the links I posted earlier this week, I consider these "go to" articles and sites - continuously interesting and relevant.

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2009 AIA Convention Registration, Moscone Center, SF (image by F.J., CC 2.0 licensed)

2009 AIA Convention Registration, Moscone Center, SF (image by F.J., CC 2.0 licensed)

I got my first issue of GreenSource magazine a few days ago (a gift subscription from my daughter - well done Julia!) and it's filled with good stuff.

One of the many fun features is a page on "GreenSource Top AIA Convention Picks" - referring to the American Institute of Architects convention which was held last week in San Francisco. They list twelve sessions, from the dozens on the program, that they think would be of the most interest to their readers. Well, even though I live in the Bay Area, I missed the convention, but on the AIA convention site I found they have handouts from many of the sessions, including a number that GreenSource recommended.

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Top of Mt. Hood, Oregon

Mount Hood, Oregon (image by Tony the Misfit, CC 2.0 licensed)

The New York Times on Sunday reported about Solar World's new solar panel plant in Oregon. The Germany company is making a big ($300 million) bet that the United States is the place to be if you are a solar panel manufacturer.

The message for solar companies, Mr. Pichel says, is “get your butt over to the U.S. if you want to participate and get some of that stimulus package money.”

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