January 2006

Southwark Builds Eco - Bungalows
A London borough has is building bungalows for the first time in more than 30 years. But rather than temporary prefabs, the new homes being built by Southwark Council incorporate state-of-the-art technology designed to make them as eco-friendly as possible. The new project replaces 1940s prefabs which have come to the end of their lifespan... more
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Where Britain Gets It's Gas From
Until recently, supplies of gas from beneath the North Sea were sufficient for all of Britain's domestic needs. Not all Britain's gas originates in the UK these days. Indeed, Britain exported gas to continental Europe through an undersea pipeline from Bacton in Norfolk to Belgium. Now all that has changed. Dwindling supplies from the North Sea mean that Britain is now importing around 10% of its... more   back to top

Green Housing Scheme Rejected
A plan for radical environmentally-friendly homes has been turned down despite praise for the scheme. The 60 homes in Halesworth, Norfolk, would have banned car ownership, used energy from the sun and wind, encouraged cycling and helped first-time buyers get on the housing ladder. It would have been one of the most radical green housing... more    back to top


Government fails to lead by example!

The government is failing to meet its own targets on carbon emissions,according to independent advisory body the Sustainable Development Commission. In the same year that the government claimed to take a global lead on climate change, total CO2 emissions from government departments have actually increased. Covering an area of over a quarter of a million hectares, the government is emitting about as much CO2 as the city of Liverpool.

Commenting on the recent report from the Commission, Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary, Norman Baker MP said: "People in glass houses should not throw stones. Nobody will listen to the Government's advice over energy efficiency while it completely fails to tackle its own energy waste. "Government departments are a major user of our finite resources, and should be setting the standard for others to follow. Sadly, they are still not doing this.

"A simple walk down Whitehall will reveal that thousands of lights are left blazing through the night, regardless of whether buildings are occupied or not. Whilst it may seem seasonally apt to have departments lit up like Christmas trees, it is certainly not environmentally responsible, nor does it help the government get back on track towards meeting its own carbon emissions reductions targets."

The watchdog called on government to get its house in order and ramp up efforts to achieve sustainable development across government departments following evidence of poor performance and patchy data on a series of key targets.

The report will prove embarrassing to government, which set up the commission to put sustainable development at the centre of government and corporate policy. Despite its mantra to business - "measure it to manage it" - most government departments failed to provide proper data on the amount of waste they produced, making it impossible to evaluate whether they met recycling and composting targets.

The commission said this also made it impossible to work out the total amount of fuel they consumed.Most departments failed to meet the water-saving target for their offices, resulting in serious water wastage and unnecessary costs. The worst performer, the Cabinet Office, was way off the water-saving target - using the equivalent of 72 kettles of water per person, per day, in offices alone.

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Mainstream Slowing, But Green Building On The Up
The last 12 months have been difficult for the mainstream construction industry with output estimated to have fallen by over 1%, ending 11 years of uninterrupted growth, say the Construction Products Association. However, optimistic as ever, CPA forecasts a gradual recovery in construction activity during 2006 driven by a... more   back to top

New Project Aims To Cut Construction Waste
A new DTI-funded project called BE AWARE – Built Environment Action on Waste Awareness and Resource Efficiency – aims to help construction product manufacturers to make more efficient use of materials and processes by investigating their products’ design, manufacture, installation, use and eventual disposal... more   back to top

Reducing Energy Consumption Is The Key
The Government must prioritise reducing electricity consumption and making homes and offices more energy efficient in response to concerns about the security of our future gas supply, say the campaign group, Friends of the Earth. Housing could be made at least 60 per cent more efficient, reducing domestic energy bills and crucially cutting greenhouse gas emissions, a major cause of climate... more   back to top

Honda To Enter Solar Market
Honda Motor Co. has announced plans to start mass-producing solar cells in 2007, eyeing growing demand for environmentally friendly energy sources. Japan's third-biggest automaker said in a statement it would build a new factory for solar cells on the site of a car plant in Kumamoto prefecture, on the southwestern Japanese island of Kyushu... more    back to top 

'Green' Housing Plan For Rundown Area
The unveiling of an upmarket “green” housing scheme provides the first glimpse of a planned multi-million pound transformation of one of Norfolk's most rundown communities. Yarmouth Borough Council has agreed outline plans for a £6m development at Saul's Wharf, Cobholm, which will include 25 energy-efficient flats, shops, a creche and... more    back to top

A Green House Made Of Straw
An exciting project to construct a building out of straw bales is well under way at Norton Priory Museum and Gardens, Cheshire. The initiative began in September, and a team of staff and volunteers have been working hard to complete the foundations and most of the north and west walls. Once the project is completed in spring... more   back to top



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Home For Good:
17 Feb 2006

A three-day event showcasing exhibitions, presentations and demonstrations of natural and recycled building materials and home furnishings that won’t cost the earth... more   
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Community Renewable Energy:
12 May 2006

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) is proud to announce its first ever course on Community Renewable Energy Schemes. Community ownership of renewable energy is new to the UK, but growing in popularity... more

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Experience of foil insulation in loft conversions

I am doing some research into foil insulation as I am considering using it in my loft. I have read many of the arguments for and against, which seem to revolve around the way in which the thermal properties of foil are calculated. Does anybody have first hand experience of living in a house with foil insulation in the loft?... Go to this thread

Aaaaargh! Where to start

I'm getting completely bogged down in conflicting details/information.
We are on the verge of a barn conversion. It's stone wall/pan tile roof construction. We are building steel portal frames inside, so have ample room to insulate.
We are currently digging floors out in a bit of a hurry as the steel arrives at the end of the month.
What depth to allow for insulation? What type of insulation is best, and at what thickness? What type of u/floor heating is best and what floor system is best to go with it?...Go to this thread

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