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Archive for the 'Climate Week 2013' Category

Addiction, adaptation, transition and Ecobuild ‘tweetups’

Sofie L J Pelsmakers7 March 2013

This is Sofie Pelsmakers’ reflection on EcoBuild, the state of the industry and other random but related thoughts as part of Climate week

EcoBuild, one of the biggest events in the world for sustainable design, construction and the built environment, rather appropriately coincided with Climate Week this year. After all, the (fossil fueled) energy required to heat, cool, light, ventilate and construct our buildings accounts for around 50% of the UK’s CO2 emissions; one of the main greenhouse gases leading to climate change. While our (buildings’) fossil fuel addiction is leading to climate change, a changing climate in turn impacts our built environment. Indeed it is crucial that our built environment is able to adapt to a changing climate to ensure continued performance, thermal comfort and affordable bills for occupants. A new publication ‘Design for Climate Change’ (Gething + Puckett) launched at EcoBuild. It is the culmination of TSB funded research of future ‘climate adapted’ built project across the UK. The book makes a compelling argument for building adaptation alongside climate change mitigation. My brief review can be read here. I also briefly touched on climate change adaptation during my breakfast talk ‘What we can learn from igloos (+ dispelling environmental design myths)’ as part of Climate Week. I was invited to speak by Urbano Network; it was truly inspirational to meet and debate climate change relevance to the construction industry with so many key-professionals. (more…)

Focus on the people

Michael J Fell7 March 2013

peoplePost by Faye Wade, Carrie Behar and Mike Fell

As part of Climate Week 2013, the UCL Energy Social Sciences Group wanted to demonstrate how our research could help in encouraging a new wave of action to create a more sustainable future. Here at the UCL Energy Institute, we know how important it is to understand behaviour and the effect this has on energy use. There is wide recognition that despite decades of work in this area, our ability to predict how programmes and innovations aimed at reducing energy use will be received remains crude. Discussions with people working in this area are peppered with stories of low uptake, rebound, backfire and a whole range of unintended consequences associated with various new energy-saving initiatives. (more…)

Energy use on the rebound: What does it mean for policy?

Paula Morgenstern6 March 2013

Whatever it may be you want to reduce, suppress or get rid of – expect the REBOUND.

This goes for a desire to feel loved after a recent breakup as much as for unwelcome thoughts of consuming yet another chocolate bar while on a diet. This goes for body builders who worry about rebound effects on their thirsty bodies from post-competition binging. And for land masses that were depressed by the weight of the ice during the last glacial period.

Unfortunately, it also goes for energy savings.
(more…)

Trust, but verify!

Harsha P T Kansara5 March 2013

Trust, but verify

It all seems to be happening all at once, global warming, climate change, emit, emission, emissions! Where do you begin, better yet – what information do you believe? Are there ethics involved in the analysis of the data collected to prove or disprove climate change? Here are a few tools/games that I have personally come across that I would recommend to our readers… and their children. (more…)

Where does our recycling actually go?

ucft5095 March 2013

Let’s face it, we don’t know, do we? In my office, I shove most of my recycling in here (see below), occasionally wondering why it’s necessary to clean food containers, but on the whole glad someone else takes care of my waste:


The story about to be told is a mixed one. Although recycling capacity has dramatically improved over the last decade, I’ll try to demonstrate how the UK’s drive for quantity at the expense of quality has ended up with much of our waste going across the world for reprocessing. I’ll argue that one way to keep it in the UK is for us to put some effort into finding out what we can recycle and taking the advice of that sign in my office –  clean our items.

(more…)

Bugs have feelings too

Katherine E Welch4 March 2013

preying mantis (c) istockphoto pernter

campaigning on behalf of bugs         (c) istockphoto/pernter

On March 1 a new campaign to save the tiger was launched a St Pancras train station in central London. The station is filled with images and sculptures of the majestic creature while campaigners wander around with clipboards and collection tins asking for support or donations. At the same time, Coca-Cola has lent its mighty marketing machine to support the WWF’s campaign to save polar bears, again festooning its cans and television adverts with images of cute and cuddly polar bears. What these campaigns have in common, along with so many others, is the attractiveness of their subjects.

Don’t get me wrong, any campaign to protect the environment or wildlife is great, but stop for a moment and think – would you give your support if the campaign was for the protection of worms?
(more…)

Energy Analysis with Google’s Public Data Explorer

Seyed Mohammad Mehdi Mohaghegh Ahmadabadi4 March 2013

Some weeks ago, I was surfing the Internet when I suddenly came across Google’s Public Data Explorer. At first glance, it looked like a simple data set, but I found it to be very interesting and spent over two hours just playing with the facts and figures! This is a public platform that demonstrates the public data and forecasts from a range of international organizations and academic institutions, which include OECD, World Bank, etc. (more…)

Climate Week 2013

Ellie Forward25 February 2013

During Climate Week 2013 (4-10 March) staff and students of the UCL Energy Institute and UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources and their affiliates within UCL will be blogging here on a range of topics, including: the rebound effect, Ecobuild, solar and wind energy diffusion and collecting data.

To join in or to find out more contact energy@ucl.ac.uk, www.ucl.ac.uk/energy or send us a Tweet @ucl_energy