Sunday, July 27, 2008

Throw Away Consumables as Building Materials  

site has links and film trailers of an American architect who uses throw-away consumables to build "earthships";  (huge US website, incl. hard to get internships)

has UK followers (16 home project) here: 
"..15,000 tyres would be recycled to construct the homes, at a time when the UK is planning to burn some 40 million tyres each year at great environmental cost..."  (standing earthship in UK)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Charles Hugh Smith: Oil Down $16 to $130, Everything Wonderful Again: Not

Full blog post here.

Frequent contributor U. Doran sent in this link from the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas-USA: Peak Oil Is A Done Deal .

Bottom line: Saudi Arabia and Russia, which together pump about 23% of the world's oil, are both in depletion decline. So are Mexico, the North Sea, etc.

Simply put: every time the "Oil Bull" is declared dead, as it was in January, it rises with extraordinary alacrity to new heights. The reason is not gol-durned speculators but supply and demand--even as demand inches downward, supply is declining even faster.

Let's put "demand destruction" in the U.S. in its proper context. 300,000 barrels a day is chump-change in a nation which burns 21 million barrels a day. if supply were increasing by leaps and bounds as it was in the 80s, fine, then you could have a huge demand-supply imbalance in favor of supply. But by even the most optimistic estimates, "excess capacity" (all in heavy crude few can refine) is about 1.4 million barrels a day--a razor-thin margin.

I have predicted one last "head-fake" decline in oil prices, but it's going to take serious reduction in demand, on the order of 4-5 million barrels a day globally, to get that drop.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rethink, Regroup, Rebuild - UrbanRevision

How would you rebuild a city block? Where would you start? Where would you end? The Re:Vision Community is here to learn, discuss, share, expound and, ultimately, create a sustainable street that can be the blueprint for cities everywhere. Look around or dig in. There’s a lot to do here. Because there’s a lot to be done out there.

Check out the personal statements of the members, e.g. Paul Hawken.

Plus the design competition. All available here - 

Link here

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Energy-inefficient houses help to suck up the 50% of the entire US energy demand

Adapting Buildings and Cities for Climate Change

This challenging and exciting text gives an insight into the real changes that are necessary to give our modern day built environment both 'sustainability' and 'survivability'. 

The book is based on the premise that climate change is going to happen and its impacts on our lives are going to be far worse than generally expected. Sue Roaf argues that many modern buildings are not only 'unsustainable' in themselves but are also having a catastrophic effect on the global climate. 

In a unique argument, she illustrates that the only way we can hope to survive the following century in fact is if we not only begin to radically reduce CO2 emissions from our buildings and stop building climatically disastrous building types but also build only the buildings that can survive in the changed climates of the future.

Throughout the book, traditional and modern building types are used to: explain the history and impacts of climates past, present and future on buildings; set the scene in terms of the history of building development of where we are now and where we are going in terms of sustainability and survivability of buildings; develop two main scenarios of future building development with the 'business as usual' model and the 'survival plan' model, and to make a list of recommendations based on the two scenarios of what actions should be taken by architects, planners and engineers as well as local and national governments, businesses and ordinary people in ensuring the true sustainable nature of the built environment. >from *Adapting Buildings and Cities for Climate Change. A 21st Century Survival Guide* by Sue Roaf, David Crichton and Fergus Nicol. ISBN: 0-7506-6099-6. Published December 14, 2004 

***Energy-inefficient houses help to suck up the 50% of the entire US energy demand. The 50% that goes into powering buildings.***

Link Here

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Peak Oil 101 from T. Boone Pickens: The Pickens Plan

The Pickens Plan

I don't really understand his affection for the role of natural gas in transportation. Most of us oil buffs know that natural gas has a sharper cliff than oil does once it runs out! He must have his money bets on the natural gas, I don't know. I do appreciate and respect his desire to bring people onto the same page and his concern for the next generations.