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June 2006


CAT Gets New Green Education Building
Work is about to start on The Wales Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE), a new complex intended to showcase the very latest thinking in environmentally-conscious building design at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), near Machynlleth in Wales. Consulting Engineer Buro Happold has been appointed structural... more
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Work Starts On Testway's Green Development
Hampshire based Testway Housing have celebrated the start of construction on a new development environmentally friendly homes with an event themed around low energy and the environment. Environmental science students from the local FE College in Andover made a cup of tea for MP, Sir George Young and other guests using water heated by... more   back to top

Peterborough Scheme Gets 'Good' Rating
A new "green" £1.5 million affordable housing development in Peterborough has been unveiled. The environmentally-friendly project, in Dogsthorpe Road, Peterborough, used the latest timber frame method – hailed as the most economical and efficient method of building new homes. The timber frames also improve energy efficiency... more  back to top


More rain harvesting please

The recent water management debate in the House of Lords was another reminder that the water-supply situation is in danger of undermining strategic development planning for the south-east of England. Yet ironically, no single commentator has homed-in on the most straightforward and cost-effective way of tackling this problem – namely a return to the once common practice of rainwater harvesting, say the UK Rainwater Harvesting Association (UK-RHA).

Modern rainwater harvesting systems collect water that falls onto the roof of a property for subsequent use in non-potable applications, such as toilet flushing, clothes washing machines, car washing and garden watering. A domestic rainwater harvesting system can reduce mains-water consumption by around 50%.

UK-RHA say systems are already in use on major housing developments around the UK, but do not seem to be featuring in debates surrounding the areas worst affected by water shortages. Where used, rainwater harvesting systems have been widely welcomed by Planning and Building Control Officers.

The systems are at their most cost-effective when used on commercial and public buildings where there is a combination of large roof area and a high consumption of non-drinking water. Washing of fleet vehicles for example, is a costly process that wastes the mains water which has been purified to a high standard. Using harvested rainwater instead makes excellent commercial and environmental sense.

Rainwater harvesting systems intercept water at the point of subsequent use; they do so without significant impact on the water which remains available to water-courses and aquifers. During heavy downpours, rainwater harvesting systems have an added benefit in helping to alleviate flood-risks by easing flows into the storm-water management grid.

For more information visit, or ring Terry Nash: 01636-894900 UK-RHA spokesperson & rainwater harvesting specialist.


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Portugal Will Have Largest Solar Power Station
Construction of the world's largest solar energy plant has started in Portugal's southern Alentejo region, developer General Electric said. General Electric will invest $75 million to build the photovoltaic power plant, which will cover 60 hectares (150 acres) of gently rolling hills with solar panels... more  back to top

House Of Lords Critical On Water Management
Environmental campaigners have welcomed a tough new report published by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee which criticizes the Government for failing to consider the water management implications of their house-building plans at an early enough stage, saying "their belated estimates of the growth in demand... more   back to top

Big Business Calls For Emissions Cuts
Calls by business for tougher Government targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions have been welcomed by environmentalists. The companies are meeting Tony Blair amid concerns that other European companies are cornering the market in green technologies because their governments are giving more incentives to the sector to grow... more   back to top

Shropshire Green Housing Estate Gets Off The Ground
Shropshire residents are doing their bit for the planet with an unusual development which took more than a decade to get off the ground. Planners were uneasy about the prospect of a new village built on farmland in the middle of the Shropshire countryside, until they were persuaded this settlement would be a whole new way of... more  back to top 

Green Childrens' Centre For Bristol
Planning has been granted for an innovative green primary school and children's centre, with associated community facilities at Barton Hill in Bristol. Designed by sustainability architects Architype, the building on the site of the existing Barton Hill Primary School will replace the primary school as well as nearby Cashmore Nursery and... more  back to top

This Years Ashden Awards Finalists
UK energy innovators in line for green energy awards - eight pioneering initiatives have reached the finals of this year’s Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy. All demonstrate new and radical ways to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at the local level,using biomass, energy efficiency and solar energy to help limit climate... more  back to top



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Forthcoming Events

Encouraging the Take-Up of Water Saving Devices
6 July 2006

In the UK there has been a long term trend since the 1860's for wetter winters and drier summers, with an accentuation of this trend since the 1970's. The cycle is strongest in the south and east of the country and it is a trend that is likely to generate increasing droughts... more     back to top

7 & 8 July 2006

...will be held at the recently completed Genesis Centre in Taunton, Somerset and is open to members and non-members alike. As well as a diverse range of workshops (breathing structures, airtightness; micro generation; lime; Part L; insulation; developing a market for sustainable housing), new, for this year, will be ... more  back to top

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