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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]

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UK to get New Garden City – But It Needs One Every Week

December 2, 2014 by David Thorpe

The UK is advising China on garden cities while barely being able to build its own.

Britain is to get its first new garden city in decades, and it is to be Bicester near Oxford, providing 13,000 homes at a cost of £100 million. Already it has come under criticism from NIMBYs and from others for saying that it does not go nearly far enough to meet the demand for sustainable, affordable homes.[read more]

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Wanted from Lima: Moral Courage and a Price on Carbon

December 1, 2014 by David Thorpe

Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC's Executive Secretary, in New York in September.

Delegates are arriving in Lima, Peru for two weeks of negotiations aimed at preparing extensive groundwork for a conclusive, binding and global legal agreement next year on tackling climate change. At the top of their agenda will be securing tactics to ensure the right amount of financing and investment for a sustainable future.[read more]

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Planning for One Planet: A Dialogue for Thought

December 1, 2014 by Luis Rodriguez
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Planning and Dialogue

The reality is that access to opportunity varies depending on where you live. Different regional labor markets offer different types of jobs, and not all pay wages that offer a path out of poverty. Those jobs that do aren’t spread evenly across places, and may not be accessible to low-income workers.[read more]

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Envisioning Future Cities: Pocket Drones, Bioinspired Designs, and Smart Citizens

November 29, 2014 by Sophie Curtis

Future City Technology and Planning

The Future Cities Summit, organised by RE.WORK, brings together the most influential leaders and officials to collaborate and reshape our future cities. Attendees of the summit will gain insight into breakthrough innovations that will have an impact on creating sustainable, intelligent and efficient future cities.[read more]

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We Need A Definition of Nearly Zero Energy Buildings

November 28, 2014 by David Thorpe

Low energy house types in Europe

A European study on the cost effectiveness of deep renovation of existing buildings contains recommendations for individual member states and says a definition of nearly Zero Energy Buildings is needed so designers and architects know what to aim for.[read more]

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Royal Society Warns Cities To Prepare for Climate Change

November 27, 2014 by David Thorpe

Cities will bear the brunt of climate change. Some already do.

Governments are being called on to develop resilience strategies for cities to combat the double effects of a rising and ageing population and climate change, in a new report from the Royal Society. The report examines the effect of extremes of weather and climate, in particular floods, droughts and heat waves on people living in cities and outlines how improvements could be made to protect them by comparing the options available.[read more]

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An Area the Size of the European Union is Used for Urban Agriculture

November 26, 2014 by David Thorpe

... but more is needed to feed the world.

A new study has found that an area greater than the size of the European Union is being used already around and within cities worldwide to grow food. Nevertheless with one third of the area of cities needing to be set aside for growing food more needs to be done to protect and encourage this.[read more]

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Re-Working Our Future Cities: Is Biodesign the Answer?

November 26, 2014 by Sophie Curtis

Green Design and Future Cities

Alberto T. Estévez is director of the Genetic Barcelona Project. At RE.WORK Future Cities Summit, Alberto will explore cities that learn and take ideas from the advantages of nature. Science, biology and genetics lend to creating new technologies that give us the possibility to re-think and re-work our cities.[read more]