Category Archives: Features

Better by design (CSI Handbook 2013)

“Design for development is one of those trendy ideas that has captured the imagination of development professionals in recent years, particularly those looking for good news stories to share. Sometimes called ‘design for the other 90%’ or, more progressively, ‘design with the other 90%’, this movement fizzes with bright ideas, drawing clever people and their energy into the development space. Michelle Matthews looks at whether it’s appropriate for CSI.”

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Something Old, Something New: Retrofitting Heritage (Earthworks)

“There’s an ecological business case for extending the life of buildings: according to US-based National Trust for Historic Preservation, research shows that it takes 35 to 50 years for a new green building to save the amount of embodied energy lost in demolishing an existing building. But sustainability is about more than that – the preservation of culture, memory and human creativity also contributes to maintaining a sense of place, essential for rooting us to this earth.”

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Retrofitting: The Real Green Frontier (Earthworks)

“Fresh green builds get a lot of press, yet new buildings comprise only about 2% of the world’s total at any one time. What we do with existing stock is now moving higher up the agenda.

Buildings use 40% of materials and create 40% of the world’s carbon emissions annually, according to the US Green Building Council. In addition, 70% of electricity, 65% of municipal waste and 12% of piped water is channelled through buildings. “Existing buildings are not wasteful, it’s how we use them and work in them that is,” says Jutta Berns-Mumbi of green building consultancy Ecocentric. It is clear that to make the impact green building professionals are hoping for we should be focusing on existing buildings. Retrofitting may be the “janitor work” of ecodesign, but it is also probably the most important thing we can do to clean up our act.”

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Bonfire of the Vanities

Feature: Horizons, January 2008

It is utterly still here. The sky is hard blue like pottery glaze. The skeletons of spring’s daisies – little papery discs on dessicated stems – stand stiffly between small, sharp, black stones. An invisible insect flies past, making a metallic whirring noise like a miniaturised helicopter. The sound stretches until it melts back into the hot silence. Nothing thrives here. Except us. Continue reading Bonfire of the Vanities