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Sustainable Links 220207

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I’m heading to Vancouver tomorrow for the Northern Voice Conference. These guys have generously paid my way for me to attend, and I’m looking forward to meeting lots of new people and seeing a bit more of Vancouver while I’m at it.

So here are a couple of quick links for today, I’ll hopefully be back online sometime tomorrow, but will definitely be able connected while at the conference at the University of British Columbia.

Small Towns

Small towns have their own set of problems, having just assisted a village of 250 people through a provincial grant application process, I can see that funding can be tough to come by and there could be resistance to change from locals. Planetizen featured this in their forums which gives an interesting insight into the role of town planner in these smaller towns. The sustainability of these small towns is difficult to justify on paper, but without them, many of our cities would go without goods and services they take for granted. I’ve written about small towns before in these articles, Small Town Entrepreneurs and An Opinion on Life in the Country, more after the jump…

I’m looking for folks that have had experience planning for very small, population under 700, towns. I’ve recently taken the city manager/planner position for a small town with a projected growth over the next ten years of – (yes, that’s a minus) 100 residents according to the water source analysis I located in a drawer.

The previous manager worked non stop to implement new services and improvements that were shot down at every turn by the city council. The city has a plan from 1980 that I found, that has never been followed through on and I’m lost for a way to show the city council that their town is dying. The main problem seems to be a “status quo” mentality. Anybody with some words of wisdom?

Source: Planning for very small towns | Cyburbia – urban planning community

Platinum LEED Interiors Rating

LEED is growing into seriously big business for architects and now interior designers too. LEED rating of buildings is often useful as a PR tool for companies or organizations, but as the technology proves it’s worth, these standards will become typical construction methods at all levels of construction.

This from the Seattle region, tips from a successful designer…

In October the Seattle office of Perkins + Will achieved the first LEED-Commercial Interiors platinum rating in Washington, the third project in the nation to achieve a LEED-CI platinum rating.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green-building rating system has four levels of certification: certified, silver, gold and platinum….

The U.S. Green Building Council, seeking to encourage more platinum-level projects, announced that any project that is certified at the platinum level this year will receive a refund on its certification fees.

At the announcement the council stated: “Platinum buildings are highly energy and resource efficient; provide superior indoor comfort for the building’s occupants; and dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions, a primary cause of global climate change.”….

While making a modernist statement with a simple design concept, the design team disconnected from the building’s HVAC system and replaced the fixed windows with operable windows. The suspended ceiling was removed to reveal 12-foot ceilings and the original heavy timber structure of the building.

Source: A platinum LEED rating — how we did it

Wind Power

Having lived in Castlegar for all of 4 weeks, I’m not yet qualified to comment on the viability of wind generated power in this valley, however, this article grabbed my attention for its innovative design…

Here’s a small (4 foot tall by 4 foot diameter) vertical axis wind turbine designed for residential installation. According to the manufacturer, the Mag-Wind MW-1100 can generate 1100 kWh/month in a 13 mph average wind.

Source: EcoGeek – Technology for the Environment – Short and Stubby Turbine puts out 1,100 kWh/month

I’m not sure about the numbers or the accuracy of the payback figures, but the design appears quite unique, however, as EcoGeek notes…

I’m somewhat concerned about how well it would work in northern winters. If I had one on my house right now, I imagine it’s wide base would be clogged with ice and snow. I’m also afraid many people will find it unattractive (and tellingly, the only image of what it would look like is an edited composition, rather than a photograph of an installed turbine). But, having a lower energy bill would certainly look good to homeowners who will choose this option. And if it becomes popular, designers will certainly find ways to incorporate its look into new homes in the future.

 Have a good weekend, I’ll try to take heaps of photos and maybe blog from the conference a bit, no promises to live-blog the proceedings from me, too much fun getting involved in discussions!

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Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

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