A home profiled in Wired has six very interesting zero-carbon elements, but it’s the last two that fascinate me – thick walls and ultra-efficient windows. Thick walls mean “two 8-inch-thick concrete layers that protect the interior from outside temperature fluctuations. On hot days, the concrete absorbs and retains heat, keeping rooms cool; at night it slowly releases that heat to maintain steady temps around the clock.”
And the windows, “three coats of glazing give these windows more than twice the thermal resistance of standard double-paned glass.”
Both focus on the thermal energy efficiency of a home. With the goal of completely insulating a home – no heat lost or gained, no cool air lost or gained. Several homes are being built with the goal of 100% efficiency and that completely alters how a home functions. Things like the heat created by our 98.6 degree bodies become important. Facing a home in the sun (cold climates) or away from (hot climates) becomes essential.
And a lot of this can be accomplished with simple building materials, like concrete walls – which can easily be incorporated in building new homes. And the more complicated materials, like nanotech windows discussed in the article, can be placed on existing homes:
There’s some revolutionary nanotechnology that’s about to go into the glass—different kinds of coatings that make them five to 10 times more energy-efficient than double-paned windows. These windows are as energy-efficient as walls.
With these improvements the energy costs of heating and cooling should plummet, and traditional heaters and HVACs can be downsized or turned off for weeks at a time.
Pulled from the London 2012 Olympics Sustainability report (pdf):
If everyone lived as we do in the UK we would need three planets.
Our unsustainable lifestyles have meant that for the last 30 years we have been ‘eating into the Earth’s capital’ rather than ‘living off its interest’.
The promotion of sustainable development has become one of the fundamental objectives of the Olympic Movement…through its Agenda 21– Sport for Sustainable Development.
London 2012, WWF and BioRegional have developed the concept of a One Planet Olympics.
Staging a One Planet Olympics in London would help achieve the ﬁrst sustainable Games. Sustainability has been at the heart of the London 2012 Bid and Masterplan.
The principles, goals, and legacy of the One Planet Olympics:
Developing closed resource loops. Reducing the amounts of waste produced, then reclaiming, recycling and recovering
- No Games waste direct to landﬁll – all treated as a resource
- Zero waste target a pivotal procurement driver
- Closed-loop waste management at all venues
- Public information campaign to promote high quality front-of-house waste separation
- Zero waste policies extend across East London based on high recycling rates and residual waste converted to compost and renewable energy
- Increased market for recycled products
- Closed-loop waste management to be standard practice for major sports events
Local and Sustainable Food
Supporting consumption of local, seasonal and organic produce, with reduced amount of animal protein and packaging
- Promotion of local, seasonal, healthy and organic produce
- Promotion of links between healthy eating, sport and wellbeing
- Partnerships established with key caterers, suppliers and sponsors
- Composting of food waste as part of Zero Waste plan
- Increased markets for farmers in the region
- Markets, catering and retail outlets supplying local and seasonal food
- Composting facilities integrated into closed-loop food strategy
Reducing the need to travel and providing sustainable alternatives to private car use
- All spectators travelling by public transport, walking or cycling to venues
- Low/no emission Olympic vehicle ﬂeet
- Olympic Park Low Emission Zone
- Carbon offset programme for international travel
- Individualised travel plans as part of integrated ticketing process
- Increased connectivity across and between legacy developments and neighbouring communities
- Reduced car dependency
- Car free events policy adopted for other major events
- Greater market for zero carbon transport