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A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

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Eco-house stories

When TV presenter Kevin McCloud announced plans to build an eco-development that brought contemporary architecture to the masses, it promised to be the grandest of designs.
TV presenter Kevin McCloud's own Grand Design hit by faults
Grand Design presenter's development cost £4.2m
Faults include failed heating, dampness and failing toilets and washing machines
, 26 August 2012
Bradford : Telegraph Feb 2013
Residents in multi-million pound eco-friendly homes hit with sky-high electricity bills
Taxpayers pay for eco-village failure : Times paywalled 6 January 2013
A PIONEERING eco-village championed by Wayne Hemingway, the fashion designer, has been bailed out with a £5m loan from the Scottish taxpayer after many of the homes failed to sell.

"In 2007 Gordon Brown announced plans for ‘Eco towns’ with 100,000 new carbon neutral (or zero carbon) homes." where are they what happened ? Down from 12 to 4 Wikipedia By 2012, only four sites have been approved, with none completed. ...independent 2009

Dashed Dreams of an Eco-City: The Failure of Dongtan Eco-City on Chongming Island, China by Arup,

Nov 16, 2013 at 9:49 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Skiphil - thanks for that link.

Mann has no idea of what is happening around him. His lack of insight bodes well for Mark Steyn in that stupid lawsuit, which I hope to live long enough to see in court - stalling tactics being the order of the day so far.

He still thinks it is 2007 - which is a good thing for sceptics everywhere.

Nov 16, 2013 at 4:06 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Writing from a very different climate (Australia, although one of the cold in winter/hot in summer spots), I must say that the "eco-house" concept is rubbish. We all know, and have known for a very long time, that orientation of your house makes a big difference. We all know, and have known for a very long time, that insulation makes a difference. But, it depends very much on where you live. In warm climates, insulation is a waste of money. In very cold climates, letting in the sun is pleasant, but is not going to change things much over a complete seasonal cycle, and may make things worse.

All over the world, charlatans are absorbing government and consumer funds with the sales pitch of "sustainable housing." It's just another scam.

Nov 16, 2013 at 3:58 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Now Mikie Mann is styled as a "computer geek" who had politics thrust upon him:

Meet the Computer Geek Who Took on Ken Cuccinelli—and Won
Michael Mann didn't come to politics. Politics came to him.

The clouds of disingenuous bloviation from and about this guy are simply astonishing.

Nov 16, 2013 at 3:55 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

That theory depends on there being sunshine to warm the conservatory. Personally I don't think that using the techniques you suggest are practical in the UK. I don't have much apart from personal experience to back this up.

When I was a boy the Clyde Valley was famous as a tomato growing area. As I recall this was under glass and the greenhouses were heated using coal and a hot water system. I think the heating was required because most of the year the sun didn't heat the glasshouses enough for the plants to survive far less grow.

Most people I know who have conservatories, no matter what their alignment don't use them that much in winter. Without heating the temperature rarely rises to habitable during sunny mornings, all day sunshine perhaps gets them to a state where it's not unpleasant in the afternoon. Transferring the heat to the rest of the house is not going to make a ha'pennies worth of difference.

The problem is twofold, in winter when the nighttime temperature stays above freezing it's normally cloudy which continues into daytime. When it's sunny during the day the clear skies mean nighttime temperatures fall below freezing. Heat then escapes from the conservatory meaning a low temperature start from potentially below zero too.

Now one solution I have often wondered about is to use the anti-reflective coating technology as used in optical devices such as cameras and binoculars except at IR wavelengths. This would put the greenhouse gas theory to practical use. Triple glazing gives 4 internal surface each of which could have a ¼λ coating at different values in the IR wavelengths. Short wavelength solar energy comes into the conservatory warms it up up the longer wavelength IR radiation which would normally escape is retained. A great opportunity to sell expensive glazing solutions.

Nov 15, 2013 at 11:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

"open the doors to let the heat into the inside "
I mean "open the doors to let the heat into the inside of the house"
you use he conservatory to collect sun heat during the day and then feed it into the house in the afternoon.
of course it doesn't work if you are at work until after the sun goes down so are not there to open the door

Nov 15, 2013 at 11:04 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Eco-houses of course they work ..the performance of everything green is MAGIC especially on the grant/subsidy application form. Too good to be true.

- Although there are little nudges ..e.g. the trick with glass is to have a south/west glass conservatory. In the winter it warms up during the morning then you can open the doors to let the heat into the inside and close them again when the sun goes down. *
IN the summer you can use whitewash/shadecloth and leave the windows all the time

*.although In the winter I favour getting on a plane.

Nov 15, 2013 at 8:52 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Doesn't look good for Greenpeace Arctic 30 (or however many there are) very strange sort of hooliganism. Protester charged with hooliganism in Moscow

Nov 15, 2013 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Yes never seen the sense in living in a glass house, as you say too hot in summer too cold in winter. Insulation is the best answer IMHO. Experimentation (crude) here shows that closing shutters, drawing curtains can increase the temperature in our living room, in October by 3'C minimum without increasing energy input. As we're heated by woodburners it is not so easy to measure now.

Nov 15, 2013 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Your opportunity to tell Greenpeace where to go: "On Saturday 16 November, 1000s will take to the streets in a global day of action to free the Arctic 30 and there are over 50 events planned in the UK."

Nov 15, 2013 at 5:25 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

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