Have you thought of…

8 April 2011

...taking responsibility for climate change policy in the UK?

It’s a power trip the Department of Energy and Climate Change is actively encouraging members of the public to take on its new website.

An interactive UK carbon reduction game, the site challenges you to alter different aspects of the UK’s energy supply and demand using in an effort to bring carbon emissions in line with our 2050 target of an 80% reduction from 1990 levels. Increase manufacturing growth and boost fossil fuel usage and watch your UK Energy Security Indicator flash red; or turn it green by investing in greener homes and public transport.

As the UK takes on board the implications of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, there’s probably never been a better time to pit your project management skills against the national energy crisis.

…using Dracula’s fear factor rating to outsmart King Kong in a fight?

If yes, you’re obviously a fan of Top Trumps, the popular kids’ card game that swept the nation in the seventies. And if so, you’ll be pleased to hear that Kingston University has resurrected the classic format to teach sustainability to its surveying students.

“Eco-Construction Trumps” features a range of construction materials, each of which is rated on issues such as toxicity, durability and ease of recycling. New aluminium, for example, trumps steel on recyclability, scoring 90%, but requires almost five times as much energy to mine, manufacture and transport. The winner is the one who takes all their opponents’ cards.

Stats for the game took six months to collate, and sparked some controversy in the scientific community, says the game’s developer, PhD student John Clarke. Which, of course, takes us neatly back to those playground days...

...recycling a tired office desk into a designer product?

Chipboard isn’t known as a green product: it’s difficult to recycle due to the high glue content, and apparently uses more carbon in its production than the same weight of steel. But a sustainable office desk designed by Royal College of Art student Gaurav Raut could change perceptions.

“The Stable” is manufactured from repurposed veneer-topped desks supplied to Green-Works, a national social enterprise that recycles companies’ unwanted or outdated office furniture. The desk uses the inherent strength of high density chipboard and simultaneously cuts waste to landfill. Green-Works appointed Raut following a design competition and launched the product at last month’s Ecobuild. The desk has now been added to Green-Works’ range of remanufactured furniture.

...saving the planet, one mastic tube at a time?

When Bristol-based contractor ISG Pearce committed to recycle or reuse all construction waste products during a project for a 2,700 m2 Asda store in Gorseinon, Swansea,  the plan was threatened by empty mastic tubes. These contain hazardous materials that are hard to recycle and a typical supermarket build will use 150-250 of them. But with the help of the British Adhesives and Sealants Association and Countrywide Waste, ISG Pearce found a recycling company to collect the mastic tubes and recycle them to make storage drums. The project hit its target of zero waste to landfill, and the team avoided a sticky end.

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