Reposted from the Daily Sceptic
No bricks, the walls and foundations made of compacted earth, cement made from clay and glass scavenged from demolition skips are just some of the construction changes needed to comply with Net Zero by 2050. The latest paper from Government-funded U.K. FIRES looks to “minimise new construction”, and notes the shape of the urban environment will change, allowing for “denser living and reduced transport needs”.
The latest U.K. FIRES paper seems to have slipped out quietly at the end of last year and has to date attracted little publicity. But the group, which comprises a number of academics led by Cambridge engineering professor Julian Allwood, made headlines around the world recently with previous work noting that all flying and shipping must stop by 2050, beef and lamb must be banned, and only 60% of energy will be available to cook food and heat homes. The group, which receives £5 million from Government sources, is interesting because it bases its recommendations on the brutal, and many would argue honest, reality of absolute Net Zero. It does not assume that technological processes still to be perfected or even invented will somehow lead to minimal disturbance in comfortable industrialised lifestyles. It could be further argued that its continued existence and pronouncements are important, since they highlight the dishonesty and deceit that surrounds many other Net Zero promoters.
U.K. FIRES sees the future of construction based on stone, earth and timber, along with components “reused and repurposed” from demolition. Recycled steel, cement and bricks can be used, although this will be “constrained” – rationed might be a better word – by a supply of “non-emitting electricity under high demand”. Transformational construction changes will take longer to achieve, state the authors, but the U.K.’s ambitious target of a 45% reduction in emissions by 2030, “can only be achieved through reduced material demand”.
Building without bricks is an interesting suggestion and over two billion are currently produced each year. But bricks require high firing temperatures, and the enormous cost of Net Zero energy makes them uneconomic to produce. Cement also requires energy to make but it can be mixed with calcined clay. Nevertheless, calcined clay is also energy intensive and can only supplement 50% of Portland cement. “As a result, the mass low-cost consumption of concrete will no longer exist,” the authors note. Together, bricks and cement generate annual turnover of over £10 billion. Rammed earth, which can be used for foundation screeds and walls, is said to be a proven and potentially zero emission alternative, “which can utilise abundant local materials”.
Glass looks to be a complete no-no, with production requiring temperatures of 1,700°C and producing additional process emissions which cannot be avoided by electrification. Only recycled glass seems to be acceptable for the absolutist authors, so the need for complete circularity, “will somewhat constrain the supply of glass”. However, add the authors helpfully, this will “encourage direct re-use and reconditioning of glass panels from demolition sites”.
Steel is widely used in modern construction due to its large load-bearing properties. Around the world, recycled steel accounts for about a third of current production. To have zero emissions from producing steel relies on energy-intensive carbon capture and storage technology, which the authors observe, with their customary honesty, “is unlikely to be economical by 2050”. In the U.K., 85% of steel is already recycled, and it is explained that the Net Zero transition will heavily restrict its supply. Recycling of aluminium is said to be the “preferred zero emission compatible pathway”, and this will lead to “higher prices due to a restricted supply of the material”.
Timber is also constrained by carbon emission production processes, and sustainable supply is limited by forests unable to rapidly match increased demand. The construction industry accounts for a seventh of all plastics used in the U.K., but needless to say, there are problems. Although plastics play a vital part in insulating buildings – plastic doors and windows can be sealed much more effectively than wood – the authors note that they will become “increasingly constrained and expensive to produce”.
At times, your correspondent might be accused of exaggerating the effects of Net Zero, a collectivist political agenda increasingly divorced from the reality of modern living. But phrases such as “economic and societal breakdown”, and “mediaeval mud huts within 30 years”, would appear to be increasingly justified. Look at what is actually being said and done. In the Brecon Beacons, a new college called Black Mountains (BMC) is promoting its new climate breakdown university degree. One short course offered by this seat of learning is ‘Composting Toilets‘. This will serve as a “high quality exemplar” that will inform the design and building of some of the “potential future facilities on the BMC campus”.
As well as learning, this new college is obviously a seat of great easement as it moves effortlessly to a Net Zero future. The World Economic Forum says you will eat bugs and own nothing – to this might be added that you will crap into a hole in the ground, and, of course, be happy.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.
Yep – Been sayin’ it for some time. Sticks and mud. The building blocks of the new green world!
The table on page 6 indicates very careful technical sorting of scrap metal in order to maintain alloy formulations. What this means, but is left unsaid, is the length of time required to make reasonable stores of such metal by sorting scrap for a electric furnace charge. Really, specialty alloys are hardly possible without some primary iron.
People have no idea the extent to which things will have to be redesigned and reformulated. Like rising on the learning curve from prehistory, practically.
Yep. Silicon for chips and solar panels is made with coal, for the heat needed to reach high furnace temperatures in addition to the chemical reduction of silica with carbon.
On the same basis, wind turbines are coal powered.
Absolutely. People have no understanding of what is termed “industrial heat” Much of what is made in industry cannot be made using energy generated from renewables.
It is difficult if not impossible to build things to a standard that is acceptable. The greens just keep banging on about net-zero and de-carbonization. In the real world aligning EVERY industrial process with renewables is impossible. Not least due to the cost.
Small Modular Reactors are an excellent source of industrial heat and electricity. Too bad NutZero doesn’t accept nuclear as “zero emissions” power source.
The labor costs of reclamation, sorting, preparing materials for re-use or re-purposing are much higher than lowest cost options. Think labor costs alone.
Are costs adequately recognised in the “green” mandates? Of course not.
Show a graph of “diminishing returns, escalating costs/unit” .
Also show one of “cost vs warming avoided” (delayed!).
Would the public understand, probably not.
But the self-interested “greens” will still take the money and run.
Unaccountable as usual.
Continue to describe what mandated “net zero” will have on the public’s standard of living.
recycling the use of construction materials will drastically raise the price- apparently these brilliant academics never considered that
Of course they have. Making things unaffordable is the favorite way of controlling people.
Yes! I was always a fan of Buckminster Fuller as a source of creative if not always practical ideas. He was a proponent of building people-spaces with ever-fewer resources, derived almost entirely from materials “mined” from previous less-efficient structures. Lots of good ideas there, but lots of gotchas are always lurking in the details. An interesting aside: for several generations, much rebar (reinforcement for concrete construction) in the US was made from recycled railroad track.
Y’all might like to read From Knowhow to Nowhere by Elting Morison.
Little known fact – recycling 7 steel cans can save enough energy to light a 60W light bulb for over 24 hours – apparently 🙂
“People have no idea…”
Exactly. And these same people vote.
I hope there is a Reformation, or barring that, a religious war. This church, which is what it is, would create more destruction than the Thirty Years War.
The Thirty Years War was estimated to have killed half the population of Germany, but that would be less than the toll from instituting Net Zero.
“Denser living” = anti-human. We need less dense living – this is our genetic heritage, like it or not.
“Ban beef & lamb ” = anti-human. We need animal protein – this is our genetic heritage, like it or not.
Lack of cheap & abundant energy = anti-human. We need cheap and abundant energy for a good quality of life, like it or not.
Those pushing the the net-zero agenda are the embodiment of anti-human evil, like it or not.
We need to address it as such.
Denser Living i.e. Vertical societies. Self contained buildings with water, sewer, garbage, electricity generation, shopping, clothing, food, health care and entertainment.
So basically they want to put all of us in the equivalent of a high rise green ghetto project. While Al Gore and Soros and the rest continue to live in their energy sucking mansion estates.
Except without concrete they won’t be able to build very tall. However, since there will be no glass either, they will have to build DOWN instead. But hey, at least we won’t need heating or cooling in our subterranean squalor
You can build tall buildings with wood – it’s called “mass timber”. Such buildings are going up in many places. But the greens hate having any trees cut- they say all trees serve only one purpose- to sequester carbon- they call this new movement “proforestation”.
As if a wood frame house doesn’t sequester “carbon”, right?
the hive- something like that should be built as an experiment and let only greens move in- see how they like it- most people really hate such communal living even if it works in principle
Example: the 200 story mega-structures depicted in the movie Dread. 96% unemployment and rampant crime.
Good luck with banning beef and lamb. There are 1.8 billion muslims on the planet who won’t be doing that.
None of the net-zero eco-lunacy is practical.
It is not clear that China will give up eating ducks, chickens and pigs. Beef, maybe. Fish, not a chance.
genetic engineering is getting easier and easier
Is the idea of net zero related to the idea of year zero?
I stopped taking this seriously when I got to UK. The word Germany has the same affect.
In the US, when I see NYC, Washington DC or Califonia I do not think these are serious people.
I am retired now but when I entered the work I thought we had some serious problems. However, my dad entered the work force during the depression by joining the USN. He was stationed at Pear Harbor in 1941.
The depression, Spanish flue, and WWII were serious problems.
One of the problems I worked on as an engineer was spent nuclear fuel rods. The US was on a path to have a geological repository accepting spent fuel by 2012 but POTUS Obama refused to follow environmental regulations passed by congress.
It is now 2023 and spent fuel rods are not a serious problem. Of course it never was.
Net Zero is a solution for a non serious problem. My goverment and other governments will spend lots of tax money to just to fail.
That is ok because we are rich and it is not a problem
By 2040 or 2050 these silly people will find some other crisis to not be serious about.
So I think the world is doing fine. Of course I am not heating my house depending on Putin.
My father was also in the Navy from WW2 served as a Naval Officer till he retired in 76. His generation provided a stabilizing effect for many decades preventing out of control “ silly “ policy’s. But that generation is gone now. And the “silly” are in power now and seriously dangerous.
The whole sorry mess is simply agenda 21 under a different name. It has nothing to do with climate.
Vaclav Smil’s book “The Way Things Work” (2022) has 4 pillars of civilization: steel, cement, plastic & ammonia (for ferilizer). So he basically would agree with you and these article.
All these modern items require significant amount of energy that renewables just can’t economically or reliably supply.
The general population is just being sold a fantasy by the climate grifters (enviro fanatics, academics, media and politicians, each of which have their own self-serving interests).
Its gonna get a lot worse before people realize they have been duped.
with unobtainium and vibranium production ramping up, I don’t see the problem.
There is a production problem, it’s been building for quite some time now and we now witness its ‘flowering’
The problem is, and it’s the root of nearly all contemporary problems ##, is that the production & consumption of Sugar is ramping up – while production/consumption of its antidote is being (increasingly) forcibly ramped down.
Sugar is poison, very few critters on this Earth can exist by eating it to exclusion of everything else, even before it is devoid of all the trace-elements and micro-nutrients that critters need.
Basically, the production of Starvation is ramping up – and that is a (the) problem
## Sugar is at the same time, the solution to all our problems.
i.e. When confected into Comfort Food & Alcohol, it dissolves away all our problems.
For a few hours
Then we need to eat more.
And because more and more is being produced and is just begging to be eaten:
Ta-dah: “Everything has never been better”
Rather similar to how everyone ‘knows’ what Trapped Heat is and it’s impossible to convince them that heat is untrappable, how do you persuade anybody that Fat People Are Starving?
All you’ve got to do Peta is invent a process whereby sugar can be made into steel and concrete and you’re onto a winner 🙂
The only upside I see to this dismal future is that the people who write this stuff and yet lack any other hard skills will be among the first to starve. Society will lack any further resources to subsidize their existences.
Once the people who actually do create the resources that sustain the parasites, once they figure out what has happened, then there will not be enough lampposts in the country.
Sugar is not poison it is fuel. Human bodies are heat engines and we need energy. We convert sugar to CO2 which is also not toxic. We store excess energy in the form of fat in our bodies. We also need shelter to conserve the amount of energy we need. We need cement.
During the last glacial maximum (LGM) human survived by eating animals who were good at storing fat.
So what about the NGM or next glacial maximum?
When I go to the doctor, some young person tells me I need to loose weight. So what is the right weight? For that matter what is the right temperature for the planet?
I think a lot of silly people make up shit to feel important. Yesterday I raced my sailboat. I am the oldest now because Earl died at 93. Chocolate. soda, and cheese was my source of energy. Beer is when I am at the dock.
I weighted 100 # in boot camp. The next time I get there will be because cancer is eating me up. Until then I am screwed if I have to out run a bear. Just like I would have been screwed if the USSR fired a missile at my ship.
The people writing these reports should be ignored as they have not thought about how these stupid restrictions if implemented would destroy their country .
To put it bluntly they have not but their brains into gear before the write this crap.
The first major mistake that they have made is to believe the lies that some scientists are spreading without any proof .
The world has warmed 1.6C since 1850 at the end of the Little Ice Age and it is still not as warm as when the Vikings settled in Greenland .
There are many other facts that prove that our present slightly milder temperatures have occurred many times in the past .
As for them calling for the banning of farmed animals because of their methane emissions is absolute stupidity.
All forage that farmed animals consume has absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere .
A very small amount of methane is expelled during digestion are due to methode microbes in the animals stomachs which break down cellulose and rapidly multiply ,moving through the animals digestive systems and are then absorbed as food .
The process is a closed cycle and not one atom of carbon is added to the atmosphere.
Scientists know that methane will never warm the world as methane is less than 2 parts per million in the atmosphere were as water in very cold air can be as low as 10 ppm ad up to 50,000 ppm in humid tropical air.
This must be a joke ,the end of the world is nigh because methane is close to 2 parts per million in the atmosphere .
What about water vapour which overlaps the same band widths as methane with warm humid air as high as 50 parts per million with even freezing dry air at 10 parts per million .
Have these over educated people never learnt a few scientific principles and to question what they are taught ?.
Asia countries are ignoring these rubbish reports ,they are using far more more coal than was used in all countries in the world in 2009 .
Any country that takes notice of this report will destroy their standard of living and push their populations into poverty .
Water vapour can reach 5% that is 50,000 ppm in a warm humid atmosphere .
World methane levels are just under 2 ppm.
“Any country that takes notice of this report will destroy their standard of living and push their populations into poverty .”
That’s happening here in Woke-achusetts. Housing costs are skyrocketing. Lots of reasons including much higher energy costs, much good land is now being covered with solar “farms”, greedy trade unions, other land being locked up for parks, a decline in the northeastern timber industries because the greens hate that industry, very high state and local taxes (thanks to greedy teacher unions), excessive regulation of the construction industry, etc. I’ll soon have to stop calling it Woke-achusetts and call it Broke-achusetts. My home value is going up too- even here in rural central part of the state, but the local taxes are so high I can barely afford them- so I’m considering moving to a lower cost of living part of America. I don’t think you can buy any home in the Boston area for less than half a million dollars. The state’s population hasn’t grown in my entire 73 years living here. I expect it’ll soon stop dropping.
“Five million pounds from government sources” The government clearly gets its money too easily. What a wast! There sure are some nutters out there but they shouldn’t be in government.
In a neat inversion of Exodus, we will be required to build using straw without bricks.
The new recyclable housing
Got my eye on a couple of nice Frigidaire boxes to set up under the bridge as a duplex unit for me an the missus.
Steel is like plastic, in a very lot of ways actually if you think about it.
But significantly here, it is not recyclable
Just like plastic, every time it goes round the loop it gets more and more contaminated with ‘other stuff’ and it then becomes unusable. It ceases to have the characteristics and properties you need.
It’s already happened, recycled steel that’s come via China(the only folks who do any amount of recycling) is garbage.
You cannot cut it, it is brittle and cracks if you try to bend it, it’s impossible to weld consistently. Once you find a setting, rods, flux and technique that does work, the next batch you use is different.
Do The Planet a favour: Recycle all old steel into artificial reefs, just offshore and in no more than 100 metres of water.
Fishes, plants, seaweeds and Gaia will thank you from the very bottom of their little hearts. Let’s have some Real Global Greening: instead of the fake fantastications coming from NASA, their Sputniks and magical thinkings by folks who haven’t a clue how plants/bacteria work/grow/live and depend upon for sustenance.
Why not recycle bricks?
I went to visit the allotments in my (new) local village and got chatting with a long time native. A practical fellow with an epic array of small, old, antique but still functional farm-tools and machinery. Like meeting a long-lost brother.
Also he had piles of ‘stuff’ – some of which contained the bricks/blocks used for ‘Block Paving’
I said that my new house had lots of those for its driveway and also in the garden.
He recounted the tale of the ‘pedestrianisation’ of the local town centre – how all the asphalt roads and concrete pavements were ripped up and replaced by these (concrete) Paving Blocks.
Cars were still (only) allowed in at certain times
After not very long, it was realised what an epic blunder this was. Maybe in combination with the geography (3Metres AMSL) and certainly the soil-type round here, the blocks didn’t work.
They sank, they heaved, they flooded, they were slippery & dangerous, weeds and grasses simply loved all the crevices between them (that’s the fertile soil for you) and it all became just a mess and a nightmare
So they were all, barely 5 or 6 years old, pulled up and sent to a crusher
Five Hundred Thousand of them
Doncha just love Bureaucracy.
edit to PS
The town I was on about is in Cambridgeshire – i.e. where ‘Cambridge is = where these muppets hang-out, hide inside and generally frequent ‘Ivory Towers’
(Oxford has the patent on Dreaming Spires – is that right?)
The paper referred to in the link is titled “Construction Sector Innovation within Absolute Zero”
I think they made a mistake, reading through the content of the paper they mean:
ConstructionSector Innovation within Absolute Zero Construction“
“Timber is also constrained by carbon emission production processes, and sustainable supply is limited by forests unable to rapidly match increased demand.”
The greens, at least in America, are now against cutting any trees- which they claim must be left to sequester carbon. As to supply, it can be much higher if more forests are well managed to produce timber. Many forests in America are severely degraded but with “improvement harvests” really grow far more high quality timber. And, the carbon footprint of wood products is far lower than cement, steel and other construction materials. Not that it matters, in my opinion.
“the group, which comprises a number of academics”
When the economies of the west collapse- the academics will find themselves in the unemployment lines. They fail to understand that academics thrive in thriving economies.
return to the Dark Ages
Like in those post-nuclear war movies where nuclear winter occurs. Wasn’t there one where the first bomb was on Sheffield, UK, and then all hell broke loose or, more accurately, froze over. I remember one scene where people were man-hauling a old wagon full of farm stuff because there was no food for draught animals. (It had rubber pneumatic tires, though, so when that last bicycle pump in the barn wears out, that’s it. Back to wooden wheels. The roads will have fallen apart by then anyway so I dunno, a travois? Any uneaten donkeys still around?)
Actually it would be much worse than the Dark Ages. A contributor called Stephen Finder over on Manhattan Contrarian pointed out that the Dark Ages were a long period of stable social stratification that evolved over centuries until capitalism and the Enlightenment stirred things up. You couldn’t just will it back into existence when the lights go out.
Under feudalism, everyone knew their place in the hierarchy. They believed absolutely in a God that would punish them in the afterlife for misdeeds in this one. (Although they could avoid damnation by confessing to the priest before being executed.)
King Alfred the Great gradually exerted his power over dukes and warlords and united the Anglo-Saxon realm under himself (England I’m referring to) by defeating his competitors and usurpers in battle and executing them. He and all after him ruled by divine right, backed up by the Roman church who knew he would enforce tithing to it. There was a well-defined social construct glued together by king and church because the church said God was the source of the king’s power and that power passed theologically to his first-born son. No argument other than from people like William the Conqueror with the ability to invade, and before him waves of Danish sea robbers who actually occupied London for a time. (Hence the Dane-geld.) Henry VIII’s fight with the Church in the 1500s was crucially important even though it seems like a silly sideshow to us today. It is really the crowning moment that ushered out the Dark Ages.
The Dark Ages cannot be simply recreated when society collapses from energy poverty. Instead it will be all against all because there will be no recognized central authority, no reason to obey police officers or tax collectors or respect the decisions of law courts and no reason for interlopers to leave your property except by threat of superior arms and ruthlessness. It would take 500 years to re-create the feudalism of say, Henry II (England’s greatest king in my opinion.)
This NewWorld concept that stacking people into compressed cubic urban areas will reduce transportation costs, monetary and energy-wise, is a huge canard. The lowest processing/transport cost will be enjoyed by the exurban settler with 10 acres to grow vegetables, chickens, and maybe a very few pigs/goats/cows.
Want to add a new bedroom? Rent a portable sawmill, cut down a few of your trees, and build away, maybe over a foundation of treated wooden piles from a local sawmill or maybe rammed earth with a thin slab (1 1/2″) of dry-pour concrete using water from your own well. Need protein for a meal? Grab some eggs from your chicken shed. Need fertilizer? The chickens/pigs/goats will provide.
Or just build a few nuclear power plants and leave everything else as it is. But where are the excess profits in that?
And with rewilding there is great danger that the Big Bad Wolf will huff and puff and blow your house down.
And there is always wilding where hundreds of little bad wolves burn your house down.
Last week I was at a stainless steel alloy mill in PA. The arc furnace was fired by a 33000 kva transformer. I also was at a copper mill (revere) in NY. Copper you know is a critical mineral and needed for all these green boondoggles and such. Their furnaces are about the same. Good luck with that zero thingy….
Many years ago, I had the “pleasure” of crapping in a hole. On a farm. Not an all bad experience. Except for frigid winters, long hot summers, and hornet nest building times. And do not drop your wallet!
The Bast ..ds want to take us back to the future but don’t want to live under those conditions themselves .
When we actually read what they are proposing we know that this is not about the climate .
This is about communism and control .
I am sure people will wake up once their standard of living slips and they become poverty stricken .
I can sense revolution in the air .
These idiots are the sort of people that think that they are far superior to workers and farmers. Look what happened during the French revolution when people were starving because of lack of bread .They were told to eat cake which was non existent .
Then the royalty lost their lives .
As I have written before the two countries with the largest populations in the world ,China and India are ignoring this carbon zero nonsense and are literally steaming ahead .building their economies .
A good place to start might be de- funding the UN as that is were this climate nonsense originated.
“But bricks require high firing temperatures, and the enormous cost of Net Zero energy makes them uneconomic to produce.”
Actually you can make bricks using methods first developed by the Mayans and their ancestors. See geopolymers:
Africa is already doing it. In Malawi TNO is making red bricks for construction without any firing at all.
As you can imaging, the cement companies are freaking out over this resurgence of a forgotten technology. It is reported to be 1/5th the cost of cement in its minimalist form. Very high performance geopolymers are also available that are fired like ceramics.
Another material is phosphate bonded high alumina minerals though the resources are far smaller. These include an aluminum dihydrogen phosphate bonded alumina (say, above 33%) which forms very strong refractory material without firing. Crushing strength 14 MPa. Viable 2 story homes require 2 MPa, preferably >4 MPa.
It is the cement industry that wants you to believe there is no alternative to their product.
To know more you could attend the geopolymer summer camp held every July in France.
Stones up to 180 tons at Pumapunku-Tiwanaku, Bolivia are cast geopolymers, not carved. In any case, they did not have tools which could carve those stones.
In simple terms, the authors never utilized real world knowledge about the difficulty or repurposing material from demolished sites.
A country’s ability to produce ships, rockets, tanks or new urban construction will be eliminated by this thinking.
Their urban living plans appear to have greatly reduced living space and stacked them into some sort of buildings dependent upon stairs for access/egress.
How that reduces commutes appears to be pure fantasy.