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Green will grow, but at the mo, its appeal is low

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webwatch

Mightier minds than this column's have pondered the minutiae of 'Green'. Some of these great thinkers were wearing sandals plus socks and rubbing their hands in anticipation of the pleasures of telling other people how to run their lives. Their sanctimoniousness put a lot of perfectly decent specification writers off their, ahem, greens.

And they were remarkably vague about embedded energy. A mate of mine once specified bamboo flooring.

It was a fantastically rapidly renewable resource and cheap.Patted on the back by all the sandals for his Green-ness, he afterwards asked, slightly helplessly, how much diesel per square foot for trucks and winches and ship's engines was used? And how could anyone calculate the figure? And if you could not, didn't it mean that Green involved more self-important posturing than you could be comfortable with?

But look, despite the self-appointed holiness of some of its hierophants, there are absolutely no good reasons for not going green.So I secretly hoped that National Green Specification (NGS), at www. greenspec. co. uk, might turn out to be the specification writer's bible.

Well, it could be, but it is not yet, even though the site is virtuously simple.Simplicity somehow manages to segue into numbing boredom. And although there are lots of virtuous embedded links, there are not enough of them to be really helpful. There is a search engine on the opening page.You confidently click on it and get a blank page with a heading 'Search the NGS site'and a slot for your inquiry. You try 'sandals'. Zilch. OK, what about 'sustainability of bamboo flooring'? Nothing. Someone should explain that people need help with search engines and you should be able to search ideas as well as things. It is not as if rocket science is involved.What is involved is the desperate need to hire an expert in information retrieval - specifically information retrieval and presentation on the web. Then we might really see some green specifying.

sutherland. lyall@btinternet. com

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