Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hurricane Spiros

While I am always a tad dubious about anything that has the words 'may' and 'according to scientists' in it, this may be worth noting next time you book a break -
Warming may bring hurricanes to Mediterranean

And if it happens which, heaven forfend it does, it may be a tad difficult to explain away.

Which may get the CC deniers on board at last, which only leaves the 'man-worsened' and 'worth mitigating' steps to go.

London to get huge desalination plant

Its obviously a day for water stories......

I think Peter (with his Civ. Eng. qualifications) could volunteer as project manager for this one from Reuters.

London is going to build a £200 million desalination plant to produce 140 million litres of drinking water a day.

In the meantime 25% (see below) of all of London's potable water is still lost through leakage. They reckon that at least 50% of London's water consumption could be saved by the simple promotion (a small financial household incentive would surely have been a better idea?) of rain water harvesting systems etc. (especially as climate change experts forecast that summer rainfall will actually increase over current levels.)

On the basis of other current grand projects initiated by our really sensible government, the final cost will, of course, be at least £450 million.

Oh, "the plant will only run on bio-diesel". So that's OK then because that's nice and green.
Oh, and its "only going to be used intermittently" - whatever that's supposed to mean! (If there is only a peak demand intermittment requirement, then why not sort out the current problems instead of throwing a massive project at a minor set of problems?)

(Just a thought, but, looking at current climatic trends, as most of London is likely to be at, or even below, sea level in 40 or 50 years time, maybe its not such a bad idea after all? [If they build it on 30 Metre stilts!])

That 25% of potable water currently lost via leakage amounts to the insignificant figure of some 702 million litres per day!! (Don't despair, it used to be a lot worse than that!)


Here's The Guardian's take on the proposals - "Green groups condemn water plant go-ahead."

Whilst, rather surprisingly, Christian Today heads up its article on the subject with "London Fights Climate Change to get Clean Water to Booming Population"

While we are on the subject of the Swiss ....

..... do read this from Magnus Linklater in TimesOnline Comment.

Twenty billion gallons of water are required to artificially make snow across the alps each winter!

"Because alpine resorts are, despite their icy surroundings, often short of water, these precious supplies must either be stored on site or ferried up by helicopter. The Swiss, veteran users of airborne travel, favour the latter. The French dig reservoirs. The Austrians do both. "

And they fly the water up in helicopters!

"It would be hard to conjure up a more potent symbol of environmental perversity than the use of carbon-spewing fossil fuels to help to dispose of millions of gallons of carefully extracted water in order that a few thousand tourists can slide down a slope for an extra week."

Quite! I can't think of anyone who can logically argue with that!

Renewables Strategy Just Like Swiss Cheese?

Is the government's strategy to encourage the installation of renewable energy components on new build developements failing?

The conclusion, as a consequence of loop-holes built into the legislation, appears to be a resounding yes!

Quite a while back the government introduced a new set of building regulations and these have now become enshrined in planning law. A minimum of 10% of the energy consumption of any new build must be provided via renewable energy means. At the time there was a great deal of consternation amongst developers and architects alike - it looked as if it would mean a significant increase in costs on any development - and hence a hefty premium on the cost of any new property.

Speaking to some developers a few weeks ago, I asked them about this problem. Their response ....... we just chuck in more insulation, put in low energy lighting, and we can meet the renewables requirement.

I was not quite sure at the time that I understood just how this could work, but this article from a town planner in Newcastle expains thing quite clearly.

"If green energy measures are to be included in the building, such as energy efficient lighting and extra insulation, this will reduce the carbon footprint of the building, thereby reducing the 10% requirement."

"It is usually more cost effective to cut the energy consumption of a building than to provide renewable equipment. "

So the renewables requirement can be met by ignoring renewables and by simply reducing the overall energy consumption of a new build. Not a bad thing in itself, but I think certainly not what was originally intended.

Nice piece of legislation or what? Swiss cheese with loop-holes that big you can drive an artic through!


Just to prevent any confusion, reducing a new build's projected carbon footprint by 10% does NOT then mean that only 10% of the remaining energy consumption has then to be met using renewables. Because of this loop-hole, the use of additional insulation and low energy lighting etc. means that the renewables requirement for new builds, in some cases, has been met without using any renewables at all! (i.e. The exact opposite of what the new regulations were trying to achieve)

Addendum 2 (from Junkk Male):

Saw this and thought of you:

Our group has been working on design/construction of
low energy/affordable housing units and finally we
have produced a 3BR house protorype that costs almost
half the price of similar size house on the market. We
are happy to share our findings with you.

Kind regards,
Dr M Hedman
SolXO Ltd.
United Kingdom

Left Fist. Meet Right Fist. Now make a fist of things.

A wee while ago there was a tad of a spat over road pricing, which resulted in a high profile petition. Looks like there may be again - 'Big Brother' plan for police to use new road cameras

I blogged a fair bit on it (and you can, if you are so disposed, locate it by popping said phrase in the blogger search).

I was... am in favour of it, so long as a load of factors were established and guaranteed for fair and competent delivery first. Which they were not. So I joined the petition.

Now in all that debate I do recall an interview with one Doctor (as in the figures) Ladyman, who I think was challenged by a Sun columnist in whether or not 'we' were to be tracked as part of all this. The answer, for this was not perhaps a good thing to admit in a Big Brother overloaded government's term, was no. Or at least 'a looking at it' no. Few were convinced. I think I wondered how you effectively charged anyone for distance covered if you didn't track them. It was not so much the fact of the process, but the mess the fudge-up caused.

And so now we see yet another issue of trust laid bare for what it was... and is.

And they keep asking the people to cooperate with them.

Indy - Row over police use of cameras criticised - Though I don't quiet understand the headline. Are they saying having a row is to be/being criticised?