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Battery coupled solar PV system for dwellings
There is no doubt that solar PV can save households money on energy bills. Assisting this is the Feed-in Tariff, which allows domestic solar PV owners to offset the capital cost of the installation. The shortfall in this arrangement, however, is that solar PV generates most of its electricity when the typical household is using the least. If the electricity could be stored for use on site, could further savings be made? This body of research investigates the financial viability of incorporating electricity storage in a generating household and if the installation costs can be offset in a shorter timescale. Christian Sayer and Mike George explain ...

A five page article. First published in December 2013

Zero carbon extension and renovation in the city
Existing buildings are often the neglected Cinderellas of the green construction world. Less glamorous and less visible than new buildings, they are also easier to overlook in their potential for massive carbon reductions. Anthony Gormley writes: “The carbon crisis calls for a re-examination of our faith in the technological basis of Western progress. A change in belief is a cultural change; art and artists are implicated.” Architects and builders even more so. The carbon emissions from the buildings we design today will have implications for decades, or perhaps even centuries into the future. This article, by John Christophers, describes the recently completed ‘zero carbon’, part-retrofit house in Birmingham. The first part summarizes technical aspects of the project, before going on to describe the architectural design and materials.

An eight page article. First published in June 2010

Self sufficient in electricity
Independence from outside influences is an age-old desire of man. It certainly is in me and I think perhaps in all men. What better way to prove our worth than by taking, or trying to take, full control of our own destiny - to be self-sufficient. “Me build fire”, Stone-Age man would have gleefully announced to his wife. Well, this story is a contemporary take on that simple statement. Naivety at its best, many might argue, “but I’m not so sure” says Keith Hall.

A four page article. First published in June 2010

Are breathable roof membranes bad news for bats?
Breathable roofing membranes are probably not the first thing that spring to mind when someone mentions bats. Yet as the built environment sector strives to become more sustainable, breathable membranes are being employed in roof spaces, with the joint aims of reducing heat loss and combating condensation - some of these roof spaces are home to roosting bats. Little is known about the impact these membranes have on bats or even the effects bats could have on the membranes. Stacey Waring reports.

A three page article. First published in June 2010

A very British Passivhaus
The construction arm of Green Building Store - Green Building Company - has been building what has come to be known as ‘the Denby Dale Passivhaus’ - the first certified Passivhaus in the UK to be built using traditional British cavity wall construction. Bill Butcher and Chris Herring report ...

A five page article. First published in June 2010

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