Thursday, August 26, 2010

Seminar at the Environment Agency

25 Aug: DNC writes: I was invited to talk at a lunchtime seminar for staff at Nottingham's Environment Agency Office. These are for topics linked to Climate Change and Energy shortage. I had only about 25 mins, but covered four subjects.
  • First the West Bridgford Transition group and WB Ecohouses group, and the importance for activists of communicating the message widely, not just doing things privately.
  • The Rushcliffe Solar campaign, to encourage people to take up Photovoltaic panels, to increase the home generation of electricity in Rushcliffe, and for them to benefit from the feed in tariff.
  • The Charging the Earth project, building Sunboxes to augment the performance of the ground source heat pump - appropriate because at this very moment, my research poster on the sunboxes are on view at the SET conference in Shanghai.
  • The Sustainable Tall Buildings course at Nottingham University - where we are trying to teach our students bioclimatic principles for tall buildings - our next project is based in New York, trying to apply Passivhaus principles to the units in a 60 storey structure. 
I was sharing the floor with Penny Poyzer, the owner of the West Bridgford Ecohouse in Patrick Rd. Compared to my technology oriented topics, she was talking about the virtue of growing your own food, plus many observations on green lifestyle. A major learning point from her house is that you can apply extreme levels of insulation to a 120 year old house, and make it airtight enough for heat reclaim to work.
   As a nice human touch, we could see out of the window that the staff in the Environment Agency are indeed growing their own, there was a well managed cuban-style micro farm with members of staff having their own little 2 sqm patch, full of healthy looking vegetables.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our students in Singapore!

August 2010: We have a good relationship with Broadway Malyan, a global architectural practice with 13 offices around the world, including London and Singapore.
  Jason Pomeroy, the leader of the Singapore office has been a regular teacher on our tall buildings course since 2007, always making at least one visit per year to teach and deliver an outstanding lecture on civic spaces in dense cities and tall buildings.
   Three of our leading students from the recent Tall Buildings unit were offered free flights to join Broadway Malyan in Singapore for a summer of work experience, applying their knowledge in the real context. It is a hot climate, long hours of hard work, but is an experience never to be forgotten!
  We are confident that BM will be very pleased with the three. It demonstrates how very employable one can be with specialised tall building knowledge.
Pictured are Matthew Bryant, David Calder and Arham Daoudi.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

High rise in New York

August: We are thinking ahead to the first semester of 2010-2011, and our plan is to do the Isover competition - this is for a 60 storey residential re-interpretation of the Passivhaus idea, fit for city living in a high density location - a very different context from the one that Passivhaus was developed for.
  But wait - it's not as stupid an idea as it sounds! an apartment in a tall block has, theoretically, extremely good insulation above, below, to the sides and to the rear, because it is sharing with others. The only part facing the exterior is the facade, which needs to be very well designed. And shared services such as heat recovery and water recycling can more easily be done in an apartment block than in a single house.... So we'll do it! Decision made!
    It is an international competition, with schools in each country invited to take part. The leading school of Architecture in each country will get an intermediate prize, and then there is a final stage in Prague in 2011. The intermediate prize for UK competitors will include to have one's model exhibited at Ecobuild 2011, London, March 2011. Isover will publish a book next year showing the pick of the entries, so we could hope to get some of our students' work published.  We have been asked to build the site model for the UK version, even if other UK schools take part.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tall Building Party, between chapters

17 Aug: Some of the Tall Building students are hard at work on their dissertations. Somehow, between writing chapters, we found time to have a 'pot-luck' party on 17 August, with a mixture of Indian, Chinese and Persian foods on show - very tasty!
We had it at DNC's house, a veritable museum of models of tall buildings from previous year's projects.