In spite of repeated "environment friendly" claims by successive governments, one part of the UK has reached a tipping point. Natural England, responsible for protecting the English countryside, has faced a decade of budget cuts that's left it unable to do its job effectively.
It's more than a decade since Concorde retired. Since then interest in commercial supersonic flight has ebbed and flowed. With three different projects set to reach the skies soon, international standards bodies have started to meet. But there's a problem: supersonic jets consume 5-7 times as much fuel per passenger as their subsonic cousins. Could super-fast travel undo the gains in engine efficiency in a single leap?
Ripping down old buildings to throw up new "sustainable" ones isn't always the right answer. Repurposing or restoring old ones can prove both more friendly environmentally, but also retain the character of an area and its inherent community and identity.
Anna Bergstrom has transformed the "flea market" from dark and smelly shop into a bright, open shopping mall. Located in Sweden, the mall has 14 shops that each specialise in different forms of recycled and upcycled products. Can high-concept fashion coexist with reuse? If early results are indicative the answer is "yes".
Shopping goes solar in West Australia, but this doesn't involve bulky panels on the roof. The Warwick Grove shopping centre has had its windows replaced with a clear solar cell that's expected to generate a megawatt of power each year. It's a brave experiment, and if successful could have profound effects on how future buildings are constructed and powered.
Traffic accounts for a large part of global emissions. Projects around the world are tackling the problem with everything from smart traffic management to generating electricity from road surfaces to extending EV ranges by charging on the go.
The latest investment announcements could put the state on target to generate 100% of its energy needs from wind and solar as early as 2025. Will other states rush to catch up, or will Australia's current "political climate crisis" stall further positive moves?
It isn't enough to use "zero energy" in your sustainable building, argues Dr. Peter Rickaby. Considering the entire lifecycle: from design to construction to decommissioning is what makes architecture truly low impact.
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