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Building of the week: the Koda house

Britain has a shortage of affordable homes and doesn’t build nearly enough new houses every year. Here’s a useful way to accelerate the provision of new homes – the Koda house. It’s made in a factory and delivered on site, where it can be assembled in just 7 hours. Foundations aren’t required. It’s lightweight enough […]

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Grenfell Tower mustn’t stop renovation plans

This week’s headlines have been dominated by the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London. I imagine it has made the news internationally too, as it’s been a dramatic and striking incident. The fire may be out, but in many ways the story is only beginning. So many questions need answering about how it started, […]

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Let’s save Britain’s lost cycle path network

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how London once had the beginnings of an electric taxi fleet, which was then lost for 120 years. Here’s another lost sustainable transport initiative that could still be recovered: Britain’s 1930s cycle path network. Beginning in 1934, the Ministry of Transport began building cycle paths alongside new […]

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Doughnut Economics, by Kate Raworth

You may remember the doughnut, an innovative framing of social and environmental challenges that I’ve written about a number of times over the last few years. It’s the brainchild of Kate Raworth, who saw that if the planetary boundaries form a kind of upper limit that we shouldn’t exceed, there’s also a social foundation that […]

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Hybrid solar panels for electricity and heat

I’ve written in the past about passive solar heat, such as Trombe walls, solar furnaces or solar heating walls. The idea is more familiar is solar hot water systems. But did you know that solar heat and solar electricity can be combined? Hybrid solar panels have been on the market for a while, but the […]

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Building a long term perspective

I was in a meeting with RSPB Scotland last week, and the subject of long term planning came up. As an example, they mentioned a project in Abernethy that has a particularly bold time scale. The Abernethy Forest is the largest remaining pinewood forest in the Scottish Highlands. It’s home to a variety of wildlife, […]

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Building of the week: Green Solutions House

As I’ve been describing over the last couple of weeks, Active House is a relatively new design standard for sustainable homes. It aims to show how energy efficient homes can also be great to live in, and make them a desirable option whether or not people are interested in the environment. There’s just one problem: […]

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The rise of the forest city

Here’s a nice update on a previous building of the week – Bosco Verticale, the residential tower blocks in Milan that were designed to create a ‘vertical forest’. After the success of that project, architect Stefano Boeri has had a lot of interest in the idea and a number of other projects have been suggested. Unsurprising, […]

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How mobile phones reduce carbon emissions

Most of us in Britain have a smartphone these days, and that’s increasingly true internationally. There are 2.6 billion mobile subscriptions in the world, and while not everyone owns one, an estimated 6 billion people have access to a phone. As the UN noted a couple of years ago, more people have access to a […]

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Five options for low carbon shipping

This year I’m looking at transport a bit, and I’ve been focusing on road transport as that’s a large and obstinate source of emissions. I’ll talk about rail and aviation too along the way, and today I wanted to draw a ‘transport innovation of the week‘ from the world of shipping. In terms of carbon, […]

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