Guide to designing a Low Carbon House | Introduction

Waste house | Brighton

Intention of the design guide 

The aim of the design guide is to review and recommend low energy specifications for a building called ‘Waste house’ at Grand Parade campus in the University of Brighton. It focuses on addressing the benefits of sustainable buildings by designing it to achieve energy efficiency, economic viability which includes looking at reduced operating costs, reducing waste, reducing liability, enhancing productivity and learning; social costs and environment.
It is important to educate people young and old regarding the contemporary, challenging and the new real world problems. My intention is to demonstrate that achieving low carbon design is a possibility and as Architects and Sustainability experts, giving low carbon design a serious thought should indeed be our goal!

The project also aims to contribute towards developing integrated solutions to sustainable construction by using low carbon construction materials and energy efficient technologies.

Waste house | Brighton
Waste house | Brighton

Why is low carbon design important?

Sustainable development has suffered from an image problem. People have always seen sustainable development as a restraint to development per se. Sandy Halliday in 2008 argued that to achieve sustainable development, it is important to prevent inappropriate development. Human activities have resulted in the creation of air, land and water pollution which has resulted in undermining the security, health and quality of life we seek to protect. The realization that we are confronted by major global problems of climate change, ozone depletion, over-fishing, soil erosion, noise, resource distribution, chemical and electromagnetic pollution, deforestation, desertification, species loss and congestion.

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Google Acquiring Smart Home Energy Management company Nest Labs for $3.2 Billion

Nest Thermostat Cooling

Internet giant Google is acquiring smart home and connected devices company Nest Labs for $3.2 billion. Nest Labs is best known for designing modern connected thermostats and smoke detector systems. Nest Learning Thermostat launched in 2011 is an automated HVAC controller which learns your habits and helps you save energy. Nest Protect is an internet-connected smoke and carbon monoxide detector which can me remotely monitored.

Google is ready to enter the young and fragmented active sustainable systemshome automation and green tech industry, and leverage its global platform reach to take it by the storm. Google had hinted about its plans for its own home  connected platform Android @Home.

Nest Thermostat | Google
Nest Thermostat | Google

The agreement is currently pending government regulatory approval, which wouldn’t really be a hurdle for Google at this point.

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Technology and Sustainability

Should we rely on Technological innovations to achieve Sustainability?

Sustainability is very complex a subject to understand. If it is taken literally, it feels so simple but is very deep in its meaning. It has varied contexts ranging from macro to micro contexts. It has its roots in every field possible, ranging from fashion designing, product designing, Architecture, Urban Planning etc. each field being so different from the other.

How do we think of technological innovations when we think of sustainability? The way world changed in the past 100 years is because of the technological innovations that took place. How dependent we really are on technology? To be honest, the quality of life became better, our life styles changed after the industrial revolution after which our societies have been continuously changing and evolving and taking a step higher and higher with regards to lifestyle changes. The amount of resources we used up in the past 100 years is enormous and we are aware that we can never reverse the cycle.

So, it is important to think, if we should continue on the same path. We all feel trapped because we know that we are heading towards a natural resources crisis that could bring our lifestyles to a standstill. Inspite of the awareness, we still continue to use the resources ruthlessly without giving a thought of what might happen to our future generations. How would they survive if we were to use up all the resources on earth?

The most important question is, “Can we still rely on the technological innovation to give us solutions on how to live sustainably without having to compromise on our current lifestyles?” Should we still place our faith in innovation? Would it be the right thing to do?

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Climate change and energy depletion | Sustainable Development

Moving towards the Sustainable World!

Is anyone of you fond of the concept of Sustainability? Well, to be really honest, people just do not want to consider sustainability a good alternative for the energy crisis we are in.

Designers are struggling so hard to embed the concept of sustainability into people’s minds. Now, it is high time we start aiming at sustainability. All of us are pretty much aware of the fact that we will not be able survive if we don’t consider sustainable options for our future survival. It is just that people find it really difficult to get out of their comfort zones and make decisions that would make a difference to the world.

Climate is a grave problem. When we have overwhelming problems ahead of us, we tend to seek simple answers. Now when we think about the climate change, it is important to figure out the major cause behind it. Let us have a look at the sources of emissions that are causing climate change.

So, where are the emissions coming from?

The emissions are coming out of tailpipes and smokestacks, so basically the emissions are coming out because of the burning of fossil fuels. So, we need to figure out how we could replace fossil fuels with an alternative source and clean source of energy that would not be hazardous to the life on earth.

And the fact is we do need clean energy in order to get out of the energy crisis that we are already in.

Our world is rapidly urbanizing. In fact by mid century, the world population will be 8 billion or more. This is one of the major problems why we are heading towards energy crisis with such great speed.

The amount of energy that will have to be generated for the kind of lifestyle we have at present in the west will be astonishingly difficult. Generating clean energy is extremely difficult and it is possible that we may not be able to generate as much as clean energy that will be required on our rapidly urbanizing world.

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