Links for the week of January 24th, 2010

If you want to follow my shared links in real time instead of as a weekly digest, head over to Delicious. You can search them there easily too.

  • What Could You Live Without? – Wealthy family back east sells house, gives away half the money. Most stuff isn't worth what it's worth.
  • Cisco's Big Bet on New Songdo: Creating Cities From Scratch – Korea is trying to build a medium sized city (300,000 people) from scratch, to emit 1/3 the greenhouse gasses of a normal city, with smart infrastructure from the get go. Who knows. Maybe it's possible to get it right…
  • Forget Energy Star and LEED, Green Building is Passivhaus – A good pictoral overview and description of the Passivhaus standard, with example homes.
  • For Some, a Warm Home Is Not a Priority – A profile of people who don't heat their homes. I don't think I really understand this article. Nobody actually likes being cold, even amongst the interviewees. They like not paying for heat, or they like not using resources, or they like living in a warehouse space. All these buildings are broken. With a good envelope and enough insulation, you don't need heating. With good solar exposure and enough enclosed thermal mass in sunny places, you don't need heating. How can this angle not have made it into the article?

2 thoughts on “Links for the week of January 24th, 2010”

  1. Housing for almost 500,000 people in the Anchorage area (think about the numbers for New York) and all of them are broken. Fixing them all or razing them and starting over right would take a huge change in attitudes and a lot of money. Most people with ascetic aesthetics don’t have the money or inclination to change or build a building. Even I am only going to marginally improve the energy efficiency of my envelope when all is said and done – money, time, and vision limitations. So I can see the appeal of living cold in the season. I already wear a hat and fingerless gloves and long undies and sweaters and slippers for my 65F (so I’d have to toughen up a bit)! Sure, there is some loss of indoor convenience, but I agree with the fact that it makes going outside a greater convenience – you are already dressed for nearly those temperatures. Also, if you are active (vigorous housecleaning or whatever) body heat trumps the cold temps. If you are not active (reading, etc), you can cozy up under a thick duvet. So I understand and admire the group of voluntary cold livers, just I admire those who build earthships. Both groups are doing better than I am!

  2. Yeah, like I think we’ve said before, it would be great to see a big boom in retrofitting, with whatever incentives are necessary to make it happen, and really really aggressive updates to the building codes going forward: we know how to build great buildings, and even how to do it cost-effectively if you’re thinking about the whole life-cycle cost of the edifice; we should not settle for anything less. Unfortunately, even in California, one of the richest, supposedly most forward thinking states, with a very, very forgiving climate, we do not appear to be terribly aggressive. The new Title 24 building energy efficiency standards that went into effect at the beginning of the year are a step in the right direction, but the right target is zero, and the right deadline is now. Certainly all new residential buildings in CA could be passively heated. This isn’t Alaska, after all!

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