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UCL Energy Institute Blog


Blogs by staff & students of the UCL Energy Institute


An experimental book swap

By Sofie L J Pelsmakers, on 23 January 2015


The second book edition of The Environmental Design Pocketbook is out and it includes updated research, guidance and new legislation (such as the new Building Regulations and the new RIBA Plan of Work) alongside an extended retrofit chapter and new sections on the performance gap, and the influence of building maintenance and care and commissioning of buildings on their energy performance and how to achieve good building maintenance, the need for which I have also written about elsewhere.

In total, an additional 80 pages are included in the 2nd edition, making the book now almost 500 pages. As a result the decision was made to print on thinner FSc sourced paper and not thicker recycled paper as for edition 1 to minimise the impact of the additional pages. It also has a flexible back now which means that navigating the book and leaving it open is so much easier! Despite the increased production costs, we managed to keep the cost of the 2nd edition as the same as the first edition (£25) due to generous sponsorship from ECD architects.

Thanks also to support from ECD architects, Riba Publishing and RIBA Bookshops we are hosting an experimental book swap on January 27th (and anytime that week actually).

What is it and why are we doing this?

Some 3000 copies of the 1st book edition were sold. During early stages in production, there were discussions with Riba Publishing about the book format, which I wanted as a ringbound book with all topics on a (combination of) double sided pages so that any later editions, updates and additions, meant that the reader could just buy the new pages and slot them into the ringbound book. However production costs and other practicalities and the fact that it became impossible to try to stick to a double-sided layout to enable this to happen, meant that this idea was quickly abandoned.

Yet, while about 30% material of the 1st edition is out of date, this means that 70% of it is still valid. So, the idea of a book swap was borne: readers can exchange their 1st edition book for a discounted 2nd edition book (£20) and we will donate the 1st edition books to local libraries with a note highlighting the out of date sections. This means that readers can plant ‘environmental design seeds’ by donating their book to inspire and inform others, while getting a discounted new edition for themselves. Of course you can donate books anytime to your local library or to charity shops – but we hope that giving a discount on the 2nd edition means that readers will be encouraged to do this rather than leaving old editions on our bookshelves (like I tend to do). It is experimental as we have not yet heard of any other publisher or author who has done this and we have no idea how successful it will be – I guess you will hear about this in another blog post!

In the meantime – do feel free to join me on 27.01.2015 at the RIBA Bookshop at Portland place between 6 and 8pm – whether you have a 1st book edition to swap or not! Now, I’d better go and clear my bookshelf to donate some of my multiple copies of other books to worthwhile places!


PS: You can see here what is new in the 2nd edition and you can also read each of the 12 chapter introductions and look at the content list.


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