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Energy briefing

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There has been an enormous increase in the number of books and reference texts relating to architecture, energy and sustainability in recent years. The following is a small sample covering a wide range of topics.

Factor Four, Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use. Von Weizsacker, A B Lovins & LH Lovins, Earthscan, £12. Suggests and enumerates an inspirational new way of approaching the resource issues that face everybody in the developed and developing world. If you read nothing else this Millennium, read this book. It should be a compulsory text for the ceo of every multi-national, the senior partner of all architectural practices, all qss and house-builders.

Design for the Real World and The Green Imperative. Victor Papanek, Thames & Hudson, £10.95 and £14.95. Both excellent and inspiring texts that develop the ideas of designing for need, not greed while reinforcing the importance of aesthetics and with form not necessarily overpowered by function.

The Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment (2nd Edn). Reyner Banham, University of Chicago Press, £28.95. Although originally dating from 1969 and setting out as something of a retrospective, the 2nd edition from 1984 contains so many pearls of wisdom that it still has considerable relevance at the start of the twenty-first Century. ('What history teaches us is that men have never learned anything from it' - Hegel).

Sol Power, the Evolution of Solar Architecture. Sophia and Stefan Behling, Prestel £39.95. A beautifully illustrated source-book that provides a very broad analysis of the influence of climate on both vernacular and modern architecture. The huge number of drawings, images and diagrams somewhat overpowers the text in parts, and the editorial is not always technically discerning. Nonetheless it is much more than a coffee table book.

The Technology of Ecological Building. Klaus Danieli, Birkhauser, £54.00. At first sight this large book seems a little dry with hundreds of black, white and red line drawings. Although these can be confusing and contain almost too much information for generic use, the text, which is translated from a German original, is very readable and informative.

Glass Construction Manual. Schittich et al, Birkhauser, £77. A collection of papers on glass technology. Well-researched and containing comprehensive data on the physics of glass in different applications plus a large database of currently available products and materials.

Architecture and the Environment. David Lloyd Jones, L King, £45.00. A very detailed analysis of so-called Green Buildings for the end of the millennium. Numerous case studies of completed buildings, some familiar and some less so, provide much useful information on process and product. The lack of real energy-consumption comparisons is disappointing but not unusual.

Intelligent Glass Facades. Andrea Compagno, Birkhauser, £39.00. A book that attempts to catalogue the growing movement for multi-layered fully- glazed facades, mainly in Europe. Interesting to see the many permutations that have developed but one is left with the distinct impression that in many cases the hugely technical and complicated facades were only assembled to overcome the problems caused by the decision to have an entirely glazed facade in the first place.

Environmental Design (2nd Ed). Randall Thomas, Spon , £21.50. An excellent design handbook in many ways, particularly in the presentation of calculation techniques.

The Green Skyscraper. Ken Yeang, Prestel Verlag £19.99. Although more applicable to SE Asia than Europe, Ken Yeang's books are always interesting and deal with many of the issues of designing sustainable intensive buildings.

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