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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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    Posted By: fostertom. That's the right sort of answer to yr Q, Mike George

    and above ground?
    Have a look at this Mike:-


    They seem to doing quite nicely without much concrete. I don't see why this can't be done over here. Someone has just got to convince the building regs people and be willing to take a risk that the public will buy the end product. There has got to be a case for some public money here to prime the pump hasn't there? Maybe a few social housing schemes? Instead of dragging materials up and down the country, build with the earth already on the site.
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2007
    The only place you need concrete is for airport runways. Now we could kill two birds one stone if...
    Posted By: Chris WardleHave a look at this Mike:-There has got to be a case for some public money here to prime the pump hasn't there? Maybe a few social housing schemes? Instead of dragging materials up and down the country, build with the earth already on the site.

    Yes, wonderful, but do you see this coming to pass in the age of the throw up semi detached shell? Do you see the likes of Wimpatt and Barry taking up the idea?

    Personally, I think abobe/strawbale/timber frame/ sips with natural insulations are far better than concrete, for other reasons as well as EE- However, it will require a very big investment for this to stand any chance or replacing concrete. Money which can be spent a thousand times over in other areas, investment in renewanbles for example.
    Posted By: biffvernonThe only place you need concrete is for airport runways.

    um - I don't think so
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2007
    Ah well, we'll just have to differ on that one. You see I don't think we need multistory car-parks, motorway fly-overs and nuclear missile silos. Everything else can be done with lime and mud :)

    By the way, if anyone wants to know about rates of oil production the figures, as up to date as it gets, are here: http://www.peakoil.nl/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/oilwatch_monthly_august_2007.pdf

    with an easy summary here: http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/2864#more
    While the big housebuilders have a stranglehold on most of the building land and we continue to have a system of building regulations that encourages the "just do enough to scrap by" attitude to building design, I agree with you Mike, nothing much will change. Then again, looking at the graphs Biff has just posted links to, the big housebuilders may not have much choice but to look for lower embodied energy materials soon enough. Peak Oil is going to hit them wear it hurts, i.e. on the bottom line.
    • CommentAuthorMike George
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2007 edited
    Yes Chris, that is possible, I hope you are right. The flipside is that there is no shortage of materials for concrete and oil does not directly affect the process, only the distribution.

    I think we have digressed a little from burning wood
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeAug 14th 2007 edited
    Cement may use more gas than oil but similar arguements apply. Gas shortages could become more critical more quickly. There are two major differences. Gas has a regional aspect in that it is not so easily traded globally - you need a pipeling from gas field to consumer (only a small proportion is liquified and shipped). And when a gas field passes its peak the decline rate is usually much steeper than for an oilfield.

    The price of gas and oil are closely linked as there is a good deal of potential for substitution in some industries, including cement making.

    The shortage of materials for concrete is evidenced by Tarmac's desire to destroy the archaeological heritage of the Thornborough Henge Complex. See: http://www.friendsofthornborough.org.uk/
    • CommentAuthorMike George
    • CommentTimeAug 14th 2007 edited
    Agree about the gas, but isnt there coal as well. All will be exploited before we see the end of mass cement production.

    I don't think much of the evidence for limestone running out so we'll have to agree to disagree on that one as well. Even if it were short, there are plenty of pozzolamic materials
    I guess all fuels and energy sources are substitutable for one and other to a certain degree. As production of oil peaks, users will switch to other fuels, so, if the markets operates efficiently, in the medium term, the price of all fuels will inflate at similar rates, even logs (good news for anyone with a few acres of woodland).

    How do you survive this financially? Cut your consumption of energy as much as possible and own your own energy supplies. Whether it's a solar panel or shares in an oil company, the effect is to generate rising income to offset your rising energy costs.
    • CommentTimeAug 14th 2007 edited
    Posted By: Chris WardleHow do you survive this financially?
    How do you profit nicely from this financially?

    Provide yourself with a house or business premises that has very low energy rating, and watch its capital value rise ever more strongly against the general market - and see the differential increase even more in case of a property value slump (i.e. its value may fall along with everything else, but less than the rest). As fuel prices really settle into their steady march upward, cost of heating most buildings will become crippling, and at housebuying time really low-energy ones will attain premium prices, ever more so as fuel prices increase.
    I agree Tom. Partly why we're in the process of unloading a double bay fronted, single glazed sash windowed, uninsulated walled energy guzzler of house. We're planning to weather the property down turn in rented accomodation (cheaper than paying a mortgage these days) then build or renovate a low energy place when property prices have eased a bit. That's the plan anyway.
    • CommentTimeAug 14th 2007
    There's a Plan for you! Hope it works out - We've been expecting the inevitable and imminent property downturn for 5 yrs now - still going strong!
    Anyway, nice to realise that the payoff for low-energy isn't merely fuel running cost saving (the basis of all payback-period calcs) but also capital appreciation.
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeAug 14th 2007 edited
    Posted By: Mike GeorgeI don't think much of the evidence for limestone running out so we'll have to agree to disagree on that one as well.
    I never said we'd run out of limestone. It's aggregartes that Tarmac want to quarry from around the Thornborough Henges.
    • CommentAuthorMike George
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2007 edited
    Ah , sorry Biff, I misinterpreted your post. But I don't see the evidence for aggregate shortage either-though it will no doubt get harder [and more energy intensive] to exploit. Like I said - lots of materials can be used in concrete either as cement or as aggregate replacement.
    Have been expecting property downturn myself for about that time... but, as they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day...
    Me too, the longer prices are artificially inflated, the bigger and harder the fall when it inevitably comes
    Chris & Mike,

    I don't think you have much longer to wait!

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