Making Roofs More Functional with BIPV-T Systems

PV roof photo: Making Roofs More Functional with BIPV-T Systems

New roof technology can provide shelter, electricity, and heat from a single roofing system.

Making Roofs More Functional with BIPV-T Systems

The days of underutilised, single-purpose roofs appear to be fading. New roof technology can provide shelter, electricity, and heat from a single roofing system.

Called a building integrated photovoltaic-thermal (BIPV-T) system, the new technology integrates painted standing-seam steel roof panels with thin-film photovoltaic panels and makes use of the sealed chamber between them for thermal energy.

BlueScope Steel and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) have recently installed Australia’s first prototype BIPV-T system at a home in Glebe. ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the roofing system was designed specifically for Australia’s climate and building environments to ensure the PV systems were durable and robust. The companies are developing the systems for commercial sales.

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Designing Resilient Places

photo: http://sourceable.net/designing-resilient-places/

Improved building designs can improve the performance, functionality, and resilience of buildings when disasters hit.

Designing Resilient Places

Cities around the world face a variety of natural disasters, including floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, heat waves, cyclones, and tornadoes.

In addition to the suffering inflicted by the storms themselves, the built environment’s design and construction shortcomings also cause avoidable problems. Fortunately, improved building designs can improve the performance, functionality, and resilience of buildings when disasters hit.

In an urban context, improving the resilience of buildings requires a holistic approach along with various infrastructure improvements. In other words, improving each building is necessary, but won’t sufficiently address the issues that people and cities will face as sea levels rise, for example, if hurricanes grow stronger and more frequent and cities become more dense and urbanized.

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Post-Disaster Housing Prototype Goes Online

image; NYC Post-Disaster Housing Prototype Goes Online

Post-Disaster Housing Prototype Goes Online

In urban areas, natural disasters can be doubly destructive. Not only do earthquakes, flooding, and hurricanes destroy people’s homes, the dense urban fabric offers few sites for temporary housing such as government-supplied trailers for temporary housing, where people could live while their homes are rebuilt.

New York City has begun an experiment to address the housing issue with what they call “Urban Interim Housing,” a concept that aims to house displaced residents in their neighbourhoods, or as close by as possible. Helping residents to stay in their neighbourhoods lets them maintain jobs, friendships and attendance in school and church, for example, while also giving them an opportunity to help to rebuild their neighbourhoods.

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Cool Roofs Mitigate Urban Heat Islands and Climate Change

photo of city roofs: Cool Roofs Mitigate Urban Heat Islands and Climate Change

Cool roofs—both white and green— can counteract the urban heat island effect.

 

Cool Roofs Mitigate Urban Heat Islands and Climate Change

Both urban expansion and climate change are expected to raise the temperature of cities and the built environment.

A new report, Urban adaptation can roll back warming of emerging megapolitan regions, published in Proceedings of the Journal of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that cool roofs and green roofs can counteract both processes. The report was authored by Matei Georgescu of Arizona State University and Philip E. Morefield, Britta G. Bierwagen, and Christopher P. Weaver of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

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A Simpler Approach to Better Buildings

house framing image; http://sourceable.net/simpler-approach-better-buildings/

Is there a simpler way to a high-performance building?

 

A Simpler Approach to Better Buildings

Building rating systems such as Green Star, LEED, and Passive House are here to stay, but many builders and home owners have grown frustrated at their cost and complexity.

 Would it be possible to improve the performance, quality, and sustainability of more homes with a simpler, more streamlined, and cheaper building standard?

As Allison Bailes, accredited energy consultant and writer, asked in his blog, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could list just a handful of measures that a home builder has to achieve to build a Pretty Good House?”

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Pavement or Parks?

parklet image; Pavement or Parks?

Cities such as Vancouver, B.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco, now allow conversion of parking spaces to parklets.

Pavement or Parks?

In some overpaved cities, people are turning parking spaces and underused streets into useful places for people such as parklets, plazas, and bicycle parking.

Getting official approval to do so, however, has often been a slog through the bureaucratic mud. Interested groups or individuals might have to navigate the byzantine processes in departments of planning, transportation, public works, and so on.

To help expedite the creation of more people-friendly places, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s People St program has streamlined the process by assembling a “kit of parts” for pre-approved projects. The People St program requires a community partner to spearhead each project in order to identify needed projects, build community support, raise funds, install the infrastructure, and maintain the project. Community partners may include non-profits, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), Community Benefit Districts (CBDs), or other organizations that will oversee the management, maintenance, and operation of each project.

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Evolving Green Building Standards Improve Performance

Evolving Green Building Standards Improve Performance

LEED, Green Globes, Green Star are evolving with each update.

Evolving Green Building Standards Improve Performance

Green Star, LEED, and Passive House U.S. standards are undergoing – or have recently undergone – substantial revisions and are racking up more evidence of their efficacy.

The Green Star – Design & As Built rating tool draft credits, for example, were recently released by the Green Building Council of Australia for industry and public comment. According to GBCA chief executive Romilly Madew, the draft credits are a major milestone in the evolution of the Green Star program.

A major goal for this revision, Madew explained, was to “reduce the cost of compliance and certification and encourage innovation and world leadership in the delivery of buildings that are more sustainable and better for people too.”

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Green Globes Now Handed Out for Sustainable Interiors

sustainable interiors; http://sourceable.net/green-globes-now-handed-sustainable-interiors/

Green Globes now offers a rating tool for sustainable interiors.

Green Globes now Handed Out for Sustainable Interiors

The Green Building Initiative (GBI) has unveiled an addition to the Green Globes rating system called Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors.

The rating tool is designed for non-residential buildings and aims to give both building owners and individual tenants the flexibility to choose design improvements for their space only, without needing to address an entire building.

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Climate Change, Urbanization Put the Squeeze On Housing

photo of floating apartment complex; Climate Change, Urbanization Put the Squeeze On Housing

Dutch architect Koen Olthuis’ floating apartment complex.

Climate Change, Urbanization Put the Squeeze On Housing

Climate change and urbanization are challenging cities in much of the world to find room for responsible housing for residents.

Rising sea levels repeatedly flood rapidly-growing slum areas, but residents have few options for homes further from coastlines. Floating cities, Dutch architect Koen Olthuis said in his recent TED Talk, could help cities and residents adapt to climate change and urbanization while they alleviate a host of urban ills.

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Granny Flats Offer Flexible Alternative to High Housing Costs

ADU photo: Granny Flats Offer Flexible Alternative to High Housing Costs

Granny flats, or accessory dwelling units, offer an affordable option in expensive cities like Vancouver, B.C.

Granny Flats Offer Flexible Alternative to High Housing Costs

With high home prices and increasing urbanization, Australian cities are now accepting a dwelling type that could provide affordable housing in established neighbourhoods in dense cities.

Granny flats, also known as laneway homes or Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), are finding increased acceptance from governments in many competitive real estate markets. As home prices rise in cities such as Melbourne, granny flats can provide an affordable, adaptable alternative.

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