Higher is not by definition better (think of steeling solar power from the neighbours, or increased weight per m2 floor ) but wooden towers becoming higher and higher surely proofs that there is no reason not to build with renewable material . Embodied energy is far lower as for other construction materials. The wooden tower building I wrote about earlier has opened last month. With 14 levels the highest residential full wooden building in the world.
Its predecessor were a few 8 buildings reaching 8 levels, in Skandinavia, and the most well known can be found in Londen: Stadthaus.
The next level is already under way: construction has started for a 18 level residential wooden building, in Vancouver Canada. Though it must be said that this one has a concrete core…
Today, we organised the first NOM-day for social housing corporations in the province of Limburg: NOM stands for Nulopdemeter, or ‘ Nillonthemeter’ retrofits of houses. In fact a 0-energy make over with prefab panels in just a few days. This is a NL wide movement under the name of “ Stroomversnelling” , or also known as Energiesprong ( energy-jump) Many pilots have been realized, and now is the moment for upscaling to create mass and price reduction. After some other provinces already started a regional supported NOM-programme, now we have started a range of meetings in the Limburg Province to explore a speed up of regional initiatives. A second meeting will be organized end of March.
see for some background on the original initiative the paper in BRI:
NEW ENERGY RETROFIT CONCEPT: “RENOVATION TRAINS” FOR MASS HOUSING
Building Research & Information Volume 42 issue 6 2014, page 757-767.
Today I was part of the committee questioning Edwin Zea Escamilla, who defended his doctoral thesis at the ETH Zurich, Switzerland, with prof. Guillaume Habert. The topic was to develop a simplified LCA approach, for construction materials and buildings. But for use outside the EU context: and outside EU, lack of data and geographical information is a main issue.
He worked his way through, very creative, among others with data from the Red Cross, on experiences with post disaster (temporal) shelters in 20 different regions. And he also evaluated these shelters for their resilience for new threats like storm and earthquake. Besides methodological findings and discussions, the interesting thing is that one of the results , project wise, can be summarized as : “sustainable solution can be created with most materials, but of all materials bamboo gives the best chance of having a sustainable building”. Since the bandwidth between good and less good is very small, while for other materials , only the optimal solution is in range with bamboo, most are however way behind that.
His final thesis will be published in spring, but some papers, like on the disaster shelter, can be found in researchgate
( Building and environment, 92 (2015).
Following the previous post, here is a example of a different approach:
We are trying to improve on everything, as for instance drinking water use in sanitation. New technologies are developed, but the problem solving is in most cases single issue oriented: the water use is reduced, but other resource use in increased, shifting and even increasing burdens. Like for instance with no-mix toilets, or vacuum toilet systems :” technology solves problems technology created”. If we however include all resource impacts, the solution will be somewhere else: not extrapolated from an existing situation (“technology push”), but going to the roots and reinvent a low tech solution. In the “toiletcase” the most effective outcome is compost toilets: Stand alone, no water, no material, no energy impacts ( except in production, which could be from biobased plastics) , and providing compost for local gardening, and Urban farming.
See for instance this building with a larger system: http://www.treehugger.com/clean-water/vancouver-office-building-goes-off-pipe.html