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Posts Tagged ‘zero emissions’

ReFit West: Retrofitting Existing Homes Update

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on April 21st, 2011

Source: Forum for the Future

Image from the Refit West Update

Forum for the Future has published a new guide on retrofitting owner-occupied homes, intended to inform the development of a nationally viable scheme. Refit West: Update from the front line – real homeowner retrofit journeys and barriers the Green Deal must overcome gives policy makers, key energy sector players, and domestic carbon reduction professionals, valuable results from a live pilot retrofitting scheme.

The report provides a number of key insights into the homeowner experience and outlines the information required at each stage of the retrofitting journey. Based on the lessons learnt from a Bristol-based pilot project, we have been working with actual homeowners as they carried out energy efficiency works to their homes. It presents a number of recommendations that will need to be in place to ensure successful take up of the Green Deal.

We believe that the key to developing a nationally viable retrofitting scheme lies in empowering and supporting individuals as they make decisions and commission works to their homes. A flexible and people-centred approach, delivering a positive experience for early adopters and recognising and valuing the work carried out, is essential for any larger retrofitting programme to succeed.

Scaling up any retrofitting scheme will need to take account of three key elements: providing appropriate financial incentives to refit houses; creating demand from homeowners; and ensuring there is a workforce with the skills to carry it out.

Download the report ‘Update from the front line: real homeowner retrofit journeys and barrier to Green Deal must overcome’ or visit the Refit West Project site.

Low2No: Suburban ReDesign

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on July 2nd, 2010

Via Worldchanging

Low2No: A Sustainable Development Design Competition:

The built environment is now the largest negative factor in the stability of ecosystems and the climate. As populations become increasingly urbanized, the evolution of cities will largely shape the outcome of our long dependence on natural resources. Two pathways of evolution are evident: an urban society that is in balance with the environment, or one that has depleted available natural capital. The decisions that will direct this evolution are being made now. It is clear that no single organization, profession or nation can achieve the goals of sustainable global development. It will require an architecture of solutions including low/no carbon buildings; sustainable economic systems; enhanced mobility; sustainable planning and energy policies; resilient social systems (access, equity and capacity), among countless others.

Recognizing the need and opportunity to improve sustainable building practices, Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, in collaboration with the City of Helsinki, launched a sustainable development design competition. The goal was to attract and identify the best team to design a large building complex on a reclaimed harbour (Jätkäsaari) at the western edge of Helsinki’s central business district. The competition sought approaches for four central objectives applied at the scale of a city block:

1. low- and one day no- carbon emissions
2. energy efficiency
3. high architectural, spatial and social value
4. sustainable materials and methods

With the selection of a team comprised of Arup, Sauerbruch Hutton, Experientia and Galley Eco Capital, the competition is moving from ideas to implementation. This next phase includes not only design development of the architectural and strategic solution, but also many activities targeted at raising the level of awareness and sophistication of Finland’s national sustainability discussion. Work on the development has begun, with completion scheduled for the end of 2012.

Read more about Low2No.

Italy aims for carbon-neutral farm

Posted in Models by Devin Maeztri on November 14th, 2008

Italy aims for carbon-neutral farm
By Duncan Kennedy BBC News, Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio, Italy An attempt to create a pioneering carbon-neutral farm is starting in Italy. The farm’s management say want to “go further than anyone else” A range of new technologies is being installed at the farm in the central region of Umbria as part of an experiment to cut its CO2 emissions to zero over the course of the next year. They include everything from electric farm vehicles to sun-reflecting paint on storage buildings. It is all taking place at the Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio olive oil farm, north of Rome. With its vineyards and olive trees, this beautiful corner of Italy might look like it has escaped the intrusions of climate change, but the farm’s owners say they, too, have to play their part in making the world greener. “We want to go further than anyone else,” says Lorenzo Fasola Bologna, Monte Vibiano’s chief executive. Storing solar energy One of the key investments is in a unique solar powered battery re-charging centre. Built by the Austrian company Cellstrom, the centre is a shed-sized box with 24 solar panels on it that houses a revolutionary liquid-based battery. The battery can, for the first time, store solar energy. Until now, electricity generated by the sun has generally had to be used immediately. It is one reason why opponents say solar power is limited. No longer. “We think that we will start getting our investment back after five years or so. From then on, our fossil fuel bills will disappear” Lorenzo Fasola Bologna Vibiano Vecchio boss Depending on the amount of usage, the battery centre can store solar-sourced electricity for up to three days. They are working to extend that to 10 days and more, enabling the farm to continue operating through foggy days when the sun does not shine. It means that golf carts and electric bikes will become the key means of transport for farm workers and that they can all charge up at the battery centre. ‘360º solution’ Cellstrom estimates the farm can save 4,500 litres of petrol every year and reduce CO2 emissions by 10 tons. “Yes, it is an expensive initial investment,” says Lorenzo, without revealing the actual cost. “But we think that we will start getting our investment back after five years or so. From then on, our fossil fuel bills will disappear.” Solar power is just one of the ground-breaking technologies being applied to this farm. They call it a multiple layered 360º solution to global pollution. They have bought a fleet of special miniature tractors that use a new generation of bio fuels. The farm says the new fuels will not be coming from food chain products like corn and therefore will not diminish world food supplies. Then there are the farm’s boilers which are used to create heat in the olive oil production process. They will use wood chips instead of methane gas, as in the past. The wood is a renewable source of energy found from supplies already on the farm. Even storage tanks on the farm are being painted white to reflect sunlight away from earth, in an effort to cut the effects of global warming. And, just to make sure they have not left anything else out, they have also planted 10,000 trees to soak up and offset any unforeseen CO2 emissions. ‘No choice’ By the end of next year they hope to be the first farm, anywhere, to reduce their inherent net carbon footprint to zero – ie without using off-site offsetting projects. “It will be great,” says Lorenzo, “to pass on this great, green enterprise to my children and their children.” And when asked if it makes economic sense for a business to attempt all this, he replies: “Absolutely. We are not a charity.” This whole region is responding to new climate pressures. At the nearby Lungarotti winery in Torgiano, recycled grape vines now power the process, not oil. Mini-weather stations provide data for planting and watering and organic fertilisers enrich the soil. Chiara Lungarotti, whose family owns the company, is just as committed as her neighbour Lorenzo. “We have no choice but to get agriculture to adapt to climate change,” she says. “It is our interest for the sake of our crops to be friendly to the planet.” So, agriculture is now doing its bit on climate change. Whether small olive oil producers or wine makers have lessons for bigger operations will be known when these experiments are over. But they will be toasting Umbria if they have. Story from BBC NEWS: Published: 2008/10/18 00:11:54 GMT © BBC MMVIII