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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeSep 20th 2017
    Anyone hear discussion on that on the Today programme this morning? It was really punch-the-wall stuff.

    First in the round up of papers they just repeated (which is fair enough, they do say they are repeating what the papers say) the DM slant on things, and James Delingpole's column which was pretty outrageous in its disregard for the actual conclusion from this new study.

    Then, worse, they had an academic... AN ACADEMIC!... from Southampton University involved in finding some ancient boat or something who actually repeated what was said about climate science during the DM round up as if it were fact, presumably because he only heard halfway through. It goes to show _why_ the likes of the DM do this - it really works because of the cognitive dissonance it engenders, and not just for preaching to their own converted.
    • CommentTimeSep 21st 2017
    I did hear a bit of it, but somehow managed to stop listening, but not going to 'listen again' :devil:
    I'd very much like to hear and learn more about the experience of others, so that I'll be able to make better choices in the process.
    Can you kindly recommend some books to read on the topic of planning and designing green houses?
    Also it will be really appreciated and excellent if you could recommend other books that refer specifically to ventilation, energy storage, renewable energy, and modern building techniques.
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2017
    Planning usually has a specialized meaning in this country, which is to do with the legal system of planning permission that we have, so that's probably not so useful to you. As regards design, the Green Building Bible is as good a place to start as any. It's a very broad field and there are lots of books on different aspects, but equally there is a lot of information on the web that can lead you in particular directions.
    • CommentTimeOct 23rd 2017
    Can't help with the planning, we seem to have a planning system that is designed to stop developments!
    For every rule we have that says you must do something, we have another one that says you cannot do that thing.
    Unless you are talking about design (planning is to do with the location in the UK).
    If you are, then that is different.

    Design can come in many forms. Modern or traditional. Low energy or 'Eco'. 'Sustainable' or 'Non Sustainable'. And many shade of confusion in between.
    Most of us on here have different ideas about how to design a house and what they should look like, but I think that the main thing in common is that minimising energy usage is the main point.
    Make a big problem smaller is easier than eliminating a big problem.

    I would start at looking at the weather data for your geographic area. Min and max temperatures, clear sky and rain days, wind speed and directions, humidity levels, then you know what you have to cope with.
    The above should be true for any building.

    Then, and this is the hard part, decide what you actually want to achieve. A house can be dressed up in soft language that gives the impression that it is 'Eco' but have an energy performance that it truly dreadful. If my house had a wood burner as the primary energy source and a few solar panels, it would score very highly on the certificate, but as it is all electric, it scores badly.
    This comes down to the perception that burning fossil fuels is a bad thing (it is) but burning biomass is a good thing (it isn't). It is just a quirk of political accounting that would make the difference.
    If you burn something you create pollution, end of. So any burning that takes place needs to be of the lowest kWh output for emissions, generally gas.

    So if the design that you want is to be low carbon emissions, and the easy way to get that is to reduce energy, you need to balance the embodied energy to build the house and infrastructure with the energy it uses.
    This is difficult as you have to assume a life time for a structure. If my 90 year old Mother wanted a low embodied energy house it would be hard to gauge it against her life, but the house may last 1000 years.
    You can get data from the University of Bath about embodied energy and carbon (dioxide), this can help guide you to less energy intensive manufacturing materials that have similar performances. It will take a bit of working out as you can measure materials by mass or volume, and sometimes thickness.
    Depending on how you look at it, concrete can be dreadful (circa 5% world CO2 commissions) or good, it can last 500 years or more. Timber can be bad, as once it is cut down it is not absorbing any atmospheric CO2, or good as it locks up atmospheric carbon dioxide for a few hundred years.
    See the problem, it all depends on how you want to use the figures. There is a lot of debate about it, with very little hard data.

    An area to look into is if you want to go to a passive design or an active design. All that means is low tech or high tech. Do you want to allow ventilation via opening windows or use a fan, do you want to store energy in a block of concrete or a battery. Some here think that you can easily stabilise the internal temperature with lots of heavy materials inside the insulated walls but never actually give a figure for how much mass is needed, other think that the normal mass of a timber frame house is perfectly adequate, but this issue goes back to the local weather data really, and if you have earthquakes or hurricanes. Or flooding for that matter.

    I could ramble on for hours about this, but as I am away at the moment and the sun is just rising, I am going to stop. Almost.

    The main thing is to create a design (a house is just a well insulated, airtight box with holes in it) and then play about with changing materials and see what the numbers say. It is what spreadsheets were made for.
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