Biogas

The most straightforward exploitation of biogas involves the tapping of methane produced by decaying waste material in landfill sites. This has a considerable environmental benefit since it burns the methane which would otherwise add more intensively to the greenhouse problem. Gas is collected using a series of vertical collection wells connected to a blower which draws gas from the waste. Foreign matter is extracted and the gas then fed to a conventional engine which drives a generator. The...

What is being done

The core of the problem lies in the disparity between the industrial and developing countries in terms of carbon dioxide emission per head. Despite all the international conventions carbon dioxide emissions from developed countries are showing little sign of abating. The USA at twice the European average is still increasing its emissions which currently stand at 23 per cent of the world's total. The average citizen in the North American continent is responsible for around 6 tonnes of carbon per...

Causes of climate fluctuation

To be able to see the current changes in climate in context, it will be necessary to consider the causes of dramatic changes in the past. A major cause of climate fluctuation has been the variation in the Earth's axial tilt and the path of its orbit round the sun. The Earth is subject to the influence of neighbouring planets. Their orbits produce a fluctuating gravitational pull on the Earth, affecting the angle of its axis. As the Earth wobbles, vast ice sheets wax and wane over a cycle called...

Passive solar energy

Advocates of passive solar design have been around for many decades and the prize-winning schemes in a European competition for passive solar housing mounted in 1980 show that the technology has not advanced significantly since that time. However, the intensification of the global warming debate has led to increasing pressure to design buildings which make maximum use of free solar gains for heating, cooling and lighting. This will be considered in detail in later chapters. Because it displaces...

Chapter Lighting and human Fifteen failings

Artificial lighting is a major factor in deciding the quality of the internal environment of offices. It is also a serious contributor to carbon dioxide, (CO2) emissions accounting in the US, for example, for up to 30 per cent of total electricity use (ScientificAmerican, March 2001). For these reasons it is a subject that warrants special attention. Design studies suggest that considerable energy savings can be made by maximising natural light, particularly if it is linked to automatic...

Climate change

The carbon cycle and current imbalance. Evidence of past fluctuations and link between global temperature and CO2 in the atmosphere. Rise in sea level over the past 150 years rise in surface global temperature and temperature records in the last decade increasing intensity and frequency of storms and floods severe heat episodes migration to temperate zones of subtropical diseases melting of polar ice and glaciers. Present position compared with pre-industrial in...

Smart materials

Materials science is entering a whole new realm. As Philip Ball puts it 'Smart materials represent the epitome of the new paradigm of materials science whereby structural materials are being superseded by functional ones'. Smart materials carry out their tasks as a result of their intrinsic properties. In many situations they will replace mechanical operations. We will see 'smart devices in which the materials themselves do the job of levers, gears and even electronic circuitry'. There is even...

Next generation solar cells

Part Gratzel Cell

From the point of view of buildings, the most obvious renewable electricity source is the solar cell. High unit cost is the barrier which is preventing production achieving economies of scale. But here again things could be about to change. The solar cells of the future are likely to use thin film technology, for example titanium-oxide coated nanocrystals with ruthenium dye which mimic photosynthesis and which are now being developed in Switzerland. They absorb light strongly in the red and...

Emergent technologies and future prospects

No other century has begun with such an awareness of the potential for change and of the uncertainties that underlie that perception. The best we can do is identify the developing technologies and socio-economic trends that are clearly discernible and extrapolate from them. There are some predictions we can make with reasonable confidence and consider the implications for architects and related professions. There is little doubt that global warming will trigger changes that will fundamentally...

Glenwood Park Atlanta Georgia

Www Progetto

Due to be completed in 2006, Glenwood Park (Figure 20.3) aims to be 'a model of environmentally conscious urbanism' according to its developer Charles Brewer. The site is two miles east of downtown Atlanta and the developers have managed to 'civilise' a state highway, converting it to the development's main street with traffic calming Glenwood Park neighbourhood as proposed measures and lined with trees and shops. The object is to be pedestrian friendly 'to create a sociable, walkable community...

Microcombined heat and power CHP

It is interesting how two nineteenth century technologies, the Stirling engine and the fuel cell, are only now coming into their own. Invented by Robert Stirling in 1816, the engine that bears his name is described as an 'external combustion engine'. This is because heat is applied to the outside of the unit to heat up a gas within a sealed cylinder. The heat source is at one end of the cylinder whilst the cooling takes place at the opposite end. The internal piston is driven by the successive...

Energy for the future

If demand continues to rise at the present rate it is expected that most of the world's fossil fuel resources will run out around the middle of this century. There are still those who put their faith in the commercial application of nuclear fusion perhaps relying on the fact that an energy vacuum will radically alter the definition of 'commercial'. However, this goal still seems as elusive as ever. On a global scale there is no real optimism about the capacity of current renewable technology to...

Flywheel technology

The problem with flywheels is that the G-forces can cause a catastrophic explosion. Space technology is the driving force behind the development of superfast flywheels that can store a considerable quantity of kinetic energy to be converted into electricity. The future seems to point to materials like composites of carbon fibre and epoxy resin. However, early in the 1990s research in Japan was developing a 3 m flywheel made from stainless steel levitating between powerful magnetic fields...

Demonstration House for the Future South Wales

Cross Section Pic Pellette Stove

A competition winning 'House for the Future' has been designed by Jestico Wiles within the grounds of the Musuem of Welsh Life in South Wales. Its two key attributes are sustainability and flexibility. It is capable of occupying a variety of situations a rural location, a greenfield suburban site or high density urban sites in terrace form. The structure of the house consists of a post and beam timber frame prefabricated from locally grown oak. A superinsulated timber stud wall faced with oak...

Internal air flow and ventilation

Portcullis House

Air flow in the interior of buildings may be created by allowing natural ventilation or by the use of artificial mechanical ventilation or air conditioning. The production of buildings using more than one of these options is becoming more frequent. Such buildings are said to be 'mixed-mode'. The overriding principle should be to minimise the need for artificial climate systems and one way to achieve this is to make maximum use of natural ventilation in conjunction with climate sensitive design...

Beaufort court renewable energy centre zero emissions building Studio E Architects

Beaufort Court Wind Turbine

Where possible the reuse of existing buildings is the best way to meet the sustainability agenda. An excellent example of this strategy is the headquarters of an energy company near London. The description of the development by David Lloyd Jones of Studio E Architects is quoted at length as being the most appropriate explanation of the design strategy. Solar design aspects of the renewable energy centre and interim findings David Lloyd Jones, Studio E Architects The Renewable Energy Centre at...

Low energy Conference Centre Earth Centre Doncaster

Earth Centre Conference Centre Doncaster

This is a building built to the highest super-insulation standards which is no less than we would expect from its architect, Bill Dunster. It has natural wind-driven ventilation with heat recovery from exhaust air transferred to incoming air. Solar collectors on the roof direct warm water to a calorifier in an underground insulated 400 m3 tank. Heat is stored over the summer to be circulated throughout the winter, with a wood burning stove for backup heat. A wind generator mounted in the boiler...

Tools for environmental design

The three main categories of passive solar design, along with their subdivisions, are most usually applied within domestic-scale designs. However, similar principles have been analysed with reference to commercial developments. One assessment method that addresses this sector is the Lighting and Thermal Value of Glazing Method - the 'LT Method', developed in the UK. This method reduces a building to an orthogonal plan with core and perimeter zones. The perimeter zone is that which is subject to...

Small wind turbines

Wind Catchers

In this context 'small' means wind machines that are scaled from a few watts to 20 kW. Machines between 1 and 5 kW may be used to provide either direct current DC or alternating current AC . They are mainly confined to the domestic level and are often used to charge batteries. The larger machines are suitable for commercial industrial buildings and groups of houses. Small-scale electricity production on site has economic disadvantages in the UK given the present buy-in rates for small...

Fuel cells

Looking towards the next decade, the source of heat and power for many homes could well be the fuel cell. This is an electrochemical device which feeds on hydrogen to produce electricity, heat and water see Chapter 13 'Energy options' . In January 2004 the first UK domestic-scale fuel cell began operation at West Beacon Farm in Leicestershire. The most common fuel cell at the moment is the proton exchange membrane type PEMFC which feeds on pure hydrogen. It has an operating temperature of 80 C...

Photovoltaic applications

Mont Cenis Academy Complex Germany

Commercial buildings have perhaps the greatest potential for PV cells to be integrated into their glazing as well as being roof mounted. Even at the present state of the technology, Ove Arup and Partners estimate that one third of the electricity needed to run an office complex could come from PVs with only a 2 per cent addition to the building cost. The main advantage of commercial application is that offices use most of their energy during daylight hours. The case study of the Zicer building...

The prospects for wood

Bre Garston

The House of the Future raises the question of the structural use of timber in buildings. Timber scores well on the sustainability scale, provided it is obtained from an accredited source such as the Forestry Stewardship Council. The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum 7 miles north of Chichester is a national centre for the conservation and study of traditional timber-framed buildings. The Conservation Centre explores new techniques in greenwood timber construction. Edward Cullinan Architects...

Active solar thermal systems

Seasonal Thermal Heat Storage

A distinction must be drawn between passive means of utilising the thermal heat of the sun, discussed earlier, and those of a more 'active' nature. Active systems take solar gain a step further than passive solar. They convert direct solar radiation into another form of energy. Solar collectors preheat water using a closed circuit calorifier. The emergence of Legionella has highlighted the need to store hot water at a temperature above 60oC which means that for most of the year in temperate...

The National Assembly for Wales Richard Rogers Partnership

Light And Ventilation

Following devolution, the Principality of Wales was granted greater autonomy resulting in the need for an assembly building for which the Richard Rogers Partnership was appointed architects with environmental engineer BDSP. It is a classic example of architect and engineer working in concert from the earliest stage of the project. The design brief was for a building which reflected the democratic nature of government whilst also being a landmark example of low energy design. It also has to last...

Towards the less unsustainable city

Woking Town Centre Chp

The ultimate challenge will be to transform existing towns and cities so that they become less of an 'ecological black hole'. The city is an epicentre of consumption, but also capable of being the highest visible manifestation of civilisation - 'civis' the city. Cities have powerful symbolic resonance which means that there are considerable constraints on change. Over the next 50 years, barring catastrophes like sea level rise, the basic form and infrastructure of European cities will not...

Beddington Zero Energy Development BedZED

Zero Energy Town Houses

BedZED is not just another low energy housing scheme, it is a prescription for a social revolution a prototype of how we should live in the twenty-first century if we are to enjoy a sustainable future Figure 18.7 . The design was led by Bill Dunster Architects who are one of the UK's top evangelists for ecologically sustainable architecture with the services and energy strategy developed by Arup Associates. The Innovative Peabody Trust commissioned this development as an ultra-low energy mixed...

High and superinsulation

Jaywick Green

In recent years attention has been focused towards the use of very thick layers of insulation within the building fabric in order to minimise heat flow. This technique has become known as superinsulation. The use of superinsulation has so far been best demonstrated at the domestic scale. This may be partly due to the problems of overheating experienced in many larger, deeper plan commercial buildings, problems which override the benefits of reduced winter heating requirements. In the future,...

Unassisted natural ventilation

Coventry University Library Lightwell

Pioneers of natural ventilation are Alan Short and Brian Ford in association with Max Fordham. Their first groundbreaking building in the UK was the Queen's Engineering Building at Leicester de Montfort University Short Ford and Partners . This building has been well documented and a particularly useful reference is Thomas, R. ed. 1996 Environmental Design, E amp FN Spon. Maintaining the principle of pure natural ventilation without mechanical assistance is the Coventry University Library, the...

Indirect gain

Solar House Freiburg Thermally

In this form of design a heat absorbing element is inserted between the incident solar radiation and the space to be heated thus the heat is transferred in an indirect way. This often consists of a wall placed behind glazing facing towards the sun, and this thermal storage wall controls the flow of heat into the building. The main elements contributing to the functioning of the design are High thermal mass element positioned between sun and internal spaces, the heat absorbed slowly conducts...

Facilitates heat recovery

Solar Shading Light Shelf

An example of a climate facade building is the office development at 88 Wood Street in the City of London by the Richard Rogers Partnership RRP . The requirement was for floor to ceiling glazing which can create a problem of solar gain which is exacerbated by the heat from computers and, in this case, a high services loading. The facade developed by RRP and Ove Arup and Partners consists of a double glazed external skin made up of some of the world's largest double glazed units measuring 3 m X...

The ecological tower

Double Glazed Facade Arid Cold Climate

Surely an oxymoron The orthodox 'green' would rule out anything above about 12 storeys since this is the height at which natural ventilation in the western European climate zone is said to become impracticable. Tower blocks usually require a heavy engineering services system. Also the construction energy costs rise significantly every five floors or so. However, the ecological tower block has its advocates, most notably Ken Yeang from Kuala Lumpur. He pioneered the idea of gardens in the sky...

Photochromic thermochromic and electrochromic glass

Each of these terms describes a variety of glazing in which the transmission properties are variable. Extensive opportunities exist for the development of some of these technologies to allow dynamic control of light and heat gain to match building and occupant requirements. Photochromic devices change transmission in response to prevailing radiation levels. Small examples have been in everyday use for some years in the form of sunglasses and spectacles. These react automatically to light...

Types of smallscale wind turbine

Darrieus Rotor Wind Turbine

Most small systems have a direct drive permanent magnet generator which limits mechanical transmission losses. Systems under 2 kW usually have a 24-48 volt capacity aimed at battery charging or a DC circuit rather than having grid compatibility. Up to the present, horizontal axis machines are much more in evidence that the vertical axis type even at this scale. These machines have efficient braking systems for when wind speed is excessive. Some even tip backwards in high winds adopting the...

Mechanically assisted ventilation

Portcullis House Ventilation System

Rotating cowls was the system adopted by Michael Hopkins and Partners with Ove Arup and Partners in the Nottingham University Jubilee Campus Figure 12.9 . This ventilation system is the successor to Hopkins' and Arup's innovations at the Inland Revenue HQ also in Nottingham, and Portcullis House, Westminster. These led to a low pressure mechanical system linked to heat recovery via a thermal wheel which recovers 84 per cent of the exhaust heat. The mechanical system requires 51 000 kWh per year...

Ecological City of Tomorrow Malmo Sweden

Bo01 City Tomorrow Malmo

A European Commission demonstration project is almost completed in Malmo, comprising a whole new district consisting of housing, shops, offices and other services. It aims to be a zero net energy scheme, with its 11 GWh year energy demand making no net contribution to carbon dioxide CO2 emissions. It is being built on a reclaimed industrial site by the Ribersborg beach and close to the historic centre of Malmo. The project is the first phase of a 10 year programme to make the city of Malmo a...

Tidal energy

Working Principle Tidal Fences

Tidal energy is predictable to the minute for at least the rest of the century. Tide levels can be affected by storm surges as experienced dramatically in the UK in 1953. The British Isles benefit from some of the greatest tidal ranges in Europe. In summary, there are at least four technologies that can exploit the action of the tides, offering reliable electricity in the multi-gigawatt range. They are Trapping water at high tide and releasing it when there is an adequate head is an ancient...

Building integrated systems

Altechnica Turbine

The Vivo building illustrates one version of a building integrated wind generating system. There is increasing interest in the way that the design of buildings can incorporate renewable technologies including wind turbines. Up to now such machines have been regarded as adjunct to buildings but a concept patented by Altechnica of Milton Keynes demonstrates how multiple turbines can become a feature of the design. The system is designed to be mounted on the ridge of a roof or at the apex of a...

The David Wilson Millennium Eco House

Natural Ventilation During Winter

A demonstration Eco-House has been built in the grounds of the School of the Built Environment, University of Nottingham Figure 8.3 . It is designed as a research facility and a flexible platform for the range of systems appropriate to housing. Its features are PV tiles integrated into conventional slates providing 1250 kWh year solar collectors of the vacuum tube type on the south elevation to meet the demand for domestic hot water light pipe illuminating an internal bathroom and providing...