TO BE WRITTEN UP.
Architectural Technology students at Nottingham Trent University are exploring developments that could see changes to the way our buildings operate and our streets look within a few years.
Cross Laminated Timber
Easy to forget that many nations still work with timber to build homes and offices.
Arguably, we’ve had a downer on timber, and straw, ever since Three Little Pigs.
Yet wood can be incredibly strong – remember the WWII fighter-bomber called the Mosquito? Made out of plywood.
Cross Laminated Timber is the latest way of creating a strong material to build with, and can be as strong as concrete reinforced with steel. Gluing and pressing lumps of work in alternate directions to create a medium that is being used to create 8 or so story buildings in London and elsewhere, and is being planned to build much higher buildings in China. The Sustainable Chemistry building at University of Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus has been made using CLT.
Large components / panels designed on computer and cut in factories before being delivered to site for fast assembly on site – which may well have worked to advantage on Arkwright Walk in The Meadows since residents have suffered from weeks of limited access.
Building using CLT currently can cost as much as more traditional buildings cos you still have to prepare the site and connect the site, and cos considerable effort goes into designing and manufacture off-site.
Challenges will include reputation on appearance (current wooden panels are often allowed to go grey and appear drab), strength, pre-fabricated buildings, and on fire risk (sprinklers systems and treatment are the lines of defence), being part of a first wave on a new technology and the actual challenge – getting owners to embrace the more frequent maintenance measures such as re-applying water-proofing measures. Decoration with external boards are often part of the design – or use other materials like brick panels – but a defining style might also be a challenge (or an opportunity).
CLT is made from green materials, that have captured carbon dioxide, unlike concrete and steel which increase its emissions.
One factory unit in Greater Nottingham has already started manufacturing panels to allow construction of 2 or 3 floor homes.
Urban Farming, including Hydroponics and Tall Gardening.
First mentioned to me by a rep of Notts Farmers who I met at the County Show, hydroponics is a water based farming that uses 70% less water than conventional farming, I think in part cos of using gels.
Requiring upfront investment and a level of expertise, it can be used underground as well as alongside buildings. Can grow certain types of vegetables, and the remaining mass/media can be a fuel or be digested to produce natural gas.
Farming can be encouraged in the design of the building, or take advantage of existing spaces, such as perhaps the 600 or more caves underneath Nottingham city centre. Like the growing trend in farming, companies could hire the space to grow the food.
I understand hydroponics are being developed in Birmingham.
Tall gardening is a variation on this, but are more effective than the green walls that can be seen off Maid Marian Way in Nottingham.
Nottingham has a reputation for urban gardening – often winning “In Bloom” awards – but urban farming would require a step change and need to be commercially viable.
Ground Source Heat Pumping, and Storage.
That 30 feet or so underground, it’s always 12 degrees Centigrade, and therefore a natural place for heat pumps to draw heat from to warm buildings in Winter, and to send heat to so as to extract heat from buildings in Summer, has been compromised by how it seems to be rarely done in practice.
A frequent solution has included laying arrays of piping before a building has been constructed. It’s a bit of a retrofit if the building already exists.
What may be overlooked is the potential to use piles to support buildings as the basis of a heat pumping solution, storing heat from systems such as district heating schemes in the Summer, and reducing the peak load on a heating system during the Winter. Or, even more dramatically, to send to “reservoirs” of water underground, such as disussed coal mines. (There’s a trial taking place in Glasgow.)
I need to get this article reviewed by others more in the know, as well as improving the grammar.
There may be other innovations to include, such painting roads white to reduce city centre ovens, and consequent demands on air cooling systems (though this may not be needed in Nottingham. Other innovations, such as glass roads, using excesses of recycled glass, especially for car parks and cycle paths, with underground lighting and lining, have perhaps already failed to take off.
Gist is, if anything can be foreseen to be the standards of 10 years time, now is the time to invest, both in setting new standards and in creating the capacity to manufacture locally for local jobs.
TO BE REVIEWED AND UPDATED.
See it and weep Nottingham – fresh track and shiny new OLE.
Like what we’re no longer scheduled to get.
On the other hand, it’s meant buses for months, with now a reduced stopping service as staff are brought up to speed.
And who’s to say it didn’t cause 4 hours of chaos as signalling went down in Preston.
In the south-west of the New Meadows.
Neighbours wanting to smarten the neighbourhood enjoying the Centrelink buses now they stop along Meadows Way (near “ng2”); a pleasant nine-month old dog; and the new housing, including on Bosworth Walk, awaiting snagging works for pavements, fencing and planting.
Meanwhile, uniformed officers dealing with a difficult situation nearby recently, received recognition from the Chief Constable.
The no. 11 service that serves The Meadows is once again under threat, because London Road congestion has increased and made the service less reliable and less attractive.
We need a new and dedicated tram route to serve the A52 east of West Bridgford, but at best, it is fifteen years away, as presumably is the Broadmarsh tram stop.
The buses need to succeed to relieve our roads. We need to support the buses.
Since the early seventies, Nottingham City Council has had a proud and effective record of putting buses first.
Today’s committee will no doubt be work at getting the proposed changes right for the buses.
My specific requests are –
– fundamentally, expressing clear views and ambition for the viability and effectiveness of bus services;
– at a basic, understanding fully the conditions by which the new bus station is deemed to have sufficient capacity;
– being ambitious for bus services infrastructure, supporting the buses serving the Broadmarsh, Canal Street and the city centre loop;
– taking extra care to use highways infrastructure to enforce against car drivers queueing in lanes used by public transport and other service vehicles.
Panelling off bus bays from waiting passengers offers advantages for customers and operators, but there seems little doubt that even with the use of customer information technology, the capacity offered is at the limit for the services previously using the station.
Planning committee should send a clear signal that space for the buses to allow passengers to interchange is an expectation.
More information about the statistics found in a BBC report which analysed DfT figures about bus usage across the country.
Nottingham has seen an 8.1% increase in the number of bus miles since 2013/14 as is one of only 28/88 authorities that have seen an rise. There was a slight decrease in the number of overall passengers over the same time period (-0.2%) but this does not take into account the tram extension, so although bus passenger numbers fell slightly public transport usage is still on the rise.
Gedling Borough Council have passed a motion on plastic –
“Declare Gedling Borough Council will become ‘single-use plastic free’ … Phase out, with a view to ending all sales of SUP bottles … Phase out the use of other SUP products … starting with (but not limited to) ‘disposable’ cups, cutlery and drinking straws … single-use ‘disposable’ plastic cups are replaced at all borough events … Launch an annual plastic free challenge month in July 2018 … to investigate and report back to Members on the impact on Gedling Borough Council of the Chinese Government’s ban on imports of millions of tonnes of plastic waste, particularly given the fact British companies have shipped more than 1.5m tonnes of plastic waste to China since 2012.”
Challenging. Prompted for its own sake, the planet’s sake and I think in part cos of a recent BBC documentaries showing the impacts on sea-life.
Recycling is challenging full stop, cos if material is to be re-used, it needs to sorted, cleaned before.
Nevertheless, I understand the landfill tax has done enough to justify recycling plastics. Gedling is trying to reduce the amount that gets to that place at all. And the 5p on plastic bags for groceries has also made progress.
In Nottingham’s case, most material not sufficiently sorted can at least be burnt and the energy and heat released used elsewhere. It’s understood that there’s a potential to burn more waste, but to explore what more sorting / filtering could be done.
Now I DON’T KNOW ENOUGH.
I think the current situation is –
- general waste processing: example – Sinfin, Derby – understood to be a failure;
- waste sifting: example – Sutton (London) – witnessed in 2004, but not heard much of it being copied;
- gasification: example – Black Country, supplied by Chinook but don’t know status; Bulwell Industrial Estate – got planning permission (twice) but no progress; one challenge is to find a site near potential customers of waste heat;
- anaerobic digestion: land intensive and issues regarding getting high quality methane; but extensively used by water companies;
- there are interesting projects – in or near York; a recycling project – using enzymes – that Ørsted (formerly DONG) are doing in Cheshire.
Also struck by ideas of densely blocked wood can be used instead of concrete and steel to build skyscrapers.
Will happily receive advice, corrections and news on this and now is a good time to look and learn.