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.
Honestly, the most interesting article I’ve read on the economic crisis, because it suggests the problem is structural and provides a prescription for addressing it. (From the New York Times a few weeks ago.)
Sustainable Energy: Without The Hot Air, by David JC McKay, is a detailed investigation, with numbers but without hard math, of how Britain can replace all its energy use with renewables. Very thorough, well-researched, and easy to read. The whole book is available on the web as PDF and HTML – you can also buy it from the site.
I surf across hundreds of articles a week as I learn more and more about green building, energy efficiency, and climate change. Most are interesting, but a few become touchstones that I end up talking about with others, and returning to again and again. Some candidates for that status that I found in the last week are below:
In a New York Times Op-Ed, Bjorn Lomborg (of The Skeptical Environmentalist fame) argues that emissions reduction goals like the Kyoto Protocol are never going to work. Instead, we have to replace our dirty energy sources altogether with non-polluting sources. (Of course, increasing energy efficiency is a cheap way to replace half our energy usage.)
Lomborg set of a firestorm of controversy when he argued in 2001 that although global warming was important, we would be much better off as a planet investing in other areas of human suffering, such as finding a cure for AIDS and wiping out malaria. He now has a more recent book about climate change specifically: Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming (Vintage)
Green Building Advisor’s Peter Yost describes the goals of the Thousand Home Challenge put up by Linda Wigington of Affordable Comfort.
In “Forgotten Pioneers of Energy Efficiency” on Green Building Advisor’s “Musings of an Energy Nerd” blog, Martin Holladay describes the Saskatchewan Conservation House, built in 1977, the shining – and forgotten – example that would later influence Dr. Feist in Darmstadt to develop the PassivHaus.
Treehugger reports on Professor Eberhard Jochem, recently awarded the first Bayer Climate Prize. Eberhard, of the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), has shown through his experiments and theories that improving energy efficiency 80 percent in the industrialized nations is not only possible, but profitable.
Thermal bridging occurs wherever assembly components with low R-values relative to surrounding materials span from the inside to the outside of a building assembly.
What’s the UK doing about energy efficient building, you ask? They have a zero net energy homes initiative, where all new homes in the UK are supposed to be zero net energy by 2016. Probably not going to happen on schedule, according to an article from NewStart magazine, described on the Barefoot & Gilles site. (H/T to Sue Butcher for the link, via Twitter.)
Flaws in the government’s zero-carbon vision have forced ministers back to the drawing board. Is there a realistic way forward?
One wall design that is sure to become more popular utilizes 2×4 studs, 2″ foam board as a thermal break, 7/16 OSB or other structural sheeting using 3.5″ screws for fasteners. Then the 2×4 stud cavities are sprayed with 2″ of closed cell foam. The total wall thickness ends up to be 6-9/16″, standard for window and door jambs. The R-Value of this quiet and comfortable energy wall is 24!
There are still questions about the GHG impact of making and spraying the foam, although The Foam Man also points out that all insulation techniques involve tradeoffs, and some spray foams have a high quantity of soy-based content, which lessens their footprint vs. petrochemical-based foams.