Downturn to slash carbon emissions

Two stories in the Irish Times today touch on the effect the economic downturn will have on carbon emissions.

Looking at the national situation, the Times reports that the EPA will today announce a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with the economic downturn.

Rammed earth house boasts modern design

While it is one of the most ecological building materials around, rammed earth - a mixture of earth, sand, gravel and clay - is usually associated with buildings with an earthy, less-than-modern aesthetic. A new house in Vorarlberg, Austria, could change that.


Awards for sustainable projects in Northern Ireland

The best examples of sustainable planning and building in Northern Ireland were honoured in a joint awards ceremony held last month by the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The RTPI described the winning projects as follows:

Carbon footprint of Victorian house slashed

As energy refurbishment climbs higher and higher up the political agenda, this video from the Guardian takes a look one upgrade project that claims to have reduced the carbon footprint of a Victorian house in Nottingham from 19 tonnes a year to just half a tonne.

The 60 year LED

 According to Treehugger, Professor Colin Humphries' team at Cambridge University has developed a new LED bulb that can last up to 60 years. Treehugger says: 

Humphries claims within five years, the new bulbs will be available, cheap, mercury free, dimmable and

First wind turbine designed for sea is launched

The Guardian reports that the toughest wind turbines ever built have finished production in Germany. Built by French energy firm Areva, the turbines are specifically designed to be used at sea - to date turbines deployed offshore have simply been models intended for use on land.

The turbines

Gasifying waste for heat and electricity

A small US company has developed a shipping container-sized device that turns waste into electricity and heat. Rather than burning it, IST Energy 's Green Energy Machine (GEM) gasifies waste products such as food, plastics and agricultural waste.

The heat is on

The Guardian has an interesting feature on thermal imaging today, with an accompanying video. Alok Jha, a science and environment correspondent at the paper, spent an evening with thermal surveyor Chris Brind on the streets of Reading. Brind hopes that by confronting homeowners with clear visual evidence

Green vision for Gothenburg

Kjellgren Kaminsky, an architecture firm based in Gothenburg, has published a fascinating mixed-use proposal for Heden, a greenfield site in the Swedish city. The development would feature parks, apartments, offices and sports facilities.

The $100,000 green home

Clayton Homes, the US's largest producer of manufactured housing, has announced plans for a $100,000 green home. The i-House will be 992 square feet in size, and its roof is specifically designed for the  rainwater harvesting system that's included with the house.  The i-House can also support an optional $8,000 solar PV system, and will include bamboo flooring, recycled decking

Chile's 'greenest' building?

TreeHugger has an interesting commentary - with some great photos and diagrams accompanying - on an Enrique Browne-designed office building in Concepción, Chile that features a spectacular green wall. TreeHugger explains:

A free plant “volume” that looks to the East, North and

Is Cap and Share the smart alternative to a carbon tax?

The Irish Times reports energy minister Eamon Ryan saying that a carbon tax is likely to be introduced this year. During last October's carbon budget, environment minister John Gormley also hinted that such a tax was likely to be introduced in 2009. Ryan said a floor price on fossil fuels was an alternative possibility.

Green building sector remains steady

A series of reports published in the US towards the end of last year appears to confirm that the sustainable building sector has yet to be seriously hit by the global economic downturn.

According to a report on residential building by construction company McGraw Hill and the US

The new cement that absorbs carbon dioxide

British engineers have developed a new cement that absorbs carbon dioxide and uses significantly less energy in its manufacture than the traditional Portland variety.

During the manufacture of Portland cement, a raw material such as limestone is heated to extreme temperatures,

Could Ireland be hit by Russia's gas supply cuts?

Russia today reduced it's gas flow to Europe via the Ukraine to a quarter of normal levels. Russian energy firm Gazprom said the cut was designed to compensate for the gas it claims Ukraine is illegally siphoning off. Ukraine denies the allegations.

Why the government must increase energy prices to fight the recession

Whilst the recent falls in oil prices may appear to be a welcome relief in difficult economic times, they may ultimately prove to do more damage than good. As falling oil prices today cause oil companies to invest less in new production to meet future demand, prices will increase once more.