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Living the One Planet Life at the UK's 15 year old Sustainable Community

December 19, 2014 by David Thorpe

Dream home?

Hockerton housing cooperative is one of the UK's best-known example of one planet living. Five households have been forging a new way of living there for 15 years that is more sustainable than most, and self-sufficient in energy, water, sewage treatment and much food. They also run courses, both online and offline, and accept site visits.[read more]

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Don't Shop Online, You're Slowly Killing Your Local Community

December 18, 2014 by David Thorpe
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Shopping online is not sustainable.

There is a very direct relationship between the health of your local community and how much shopping you do online. When stores close down and get boarded up, it's not a coincidence. If you value the integrity of your local high street, don't buy online. If you want boarded up, empty shops near you, do buy online.[read more]

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Revealed: the Best and Worst Solar PV Panels You Can Buy

December 17, 2014 by David Thorpe

How clean are your panels?

Your solar electricity may not be as clean as you think. The Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition has recently produced a new scorecard ranking manufacturers on safety, pollution and human rights. You can use it to help choose the best manufacturer.[read more]

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How to Save Millions on Air Conditioning by Designing Passively Cooled Buildings

December 16, 2014 by David Thorpe

A wind tower on a building used for night cooling.

Air conditioning is by far the greatest consumer of electricity in buildings in hot countries, but architects can use passive solar techniques to keep them cool, and in many cases successfully eliminate the need for expensive air conditioning.[read more]

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UK Government is "Undermining Progress Towards the UN's New Sustainable Development Goals"

December 15, 2014 by David Thorpe

The aims of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

How is the UK doing an increasing its resilience and sustainability? Not good, according to a new report from the Environmental Audit Committee, a cross-party group of British MPs, which accuses the government of undermining progress towards the UN's new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).[read more]

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More Cities Must Take Unilateral Action on Climate Change

December 12, 2014 by David Thorpe

Japan has the largest density of cities pledging climate action.

319 cities have pledged action on climate change at the Lima conference, COP20. Feelings amongst delegates are optimistic for a legally-binding global deal next year in Paris. But total actions so far will not limit global warming to within 2°C. Many more cities therefore need to step up, sidetrack their national governments, and take action on their own.[read more]

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We Must Maximize the Use of Daylight in Buildings to Reduce Energy Use

December 11, 2014 by David Thorpe

See the light!

Daylight should become the primary light source in building for health, productivity and sustainability. Architects should design buildings to maximise the use of daylighting and in many countries are rewarded for doing so by gaining points, e.g. under LEED. Here is how to begin to go about designing buildings to maximise the use of daylight.[read more]

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4 Ways to Plan Neighborhoods and Buildings to Minimize Energy Use

December 10, 2014 by David Thorpe

Ideal building layout style for hot countries.

Conventional buildings consume much energy for heating and cooling to protect them from the temperature effects of climate and seasons. But some basic thought and planning, in combination with passive solar building design techniques, can help to radically reduce these energy costs.[read more]

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4 Steps to Winning the Business Case for Energy Saving Projects

December 9, 2014 by David Thorpe

How to win the green argument

Here is one surefire way to persuade those who hold the purse strings in your organisation of the value of an energy-saving project – such as a low energy building, an eco-retrofit, or a piece of equipment – that you know will save money over its lifetime but which has a relatively high capital cost.[read more]

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10 Stages to a Passive Solar Building from Design to Build

December 8, 2014 by David Thorpe

Passivhaus apartments in Frankfurt.

Passive solar architectural principles have come of age. They have given rise to thousands of buildings of all sizes and purposes around the world, in all climate types, to demonstrate how buildings don't need to consume fossil fuel energy to support their occupants. Here is a ten-step guide to how to go about designing and building one.[read more]

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Smart City Tech is Not Yet Living Up To Its Promise to Solve Environmental Problems

December 4, 2014 by David Thorpe

The EIC study looked at 10 British cities as well as others around the world.

A new report into whether ‘smart’ approaches can offer cities more efficient ways to tackle entrenched environmental challenges finds a disappointing lack of evidence that they are making a difference.[read more]

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City Resilience and Renaturing are Creeping Up the Agenda

December 3, 2014 by David Thorpe

Some of the 35 new Resilient Cities in the Rockefeller Foundation's network.

The ideas of renaturing cities and making them more resilient is gradually creeping up the international agenda. This week it was announced that 35 cities have joined the Rockefeller Foundation's Resilient Cities project, while a successful EU conference in Milan has just finished, which heard many examples of cities throughout Europe that are hosting regeneration projects.[read more]