Netherlands moots electric car future with petrol and diesel ban by 2025 | Technology | The Guardian

Dutch politicians have voted through a motion calling on the country to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars starting in 2025.

The motion has only passed through the lower house of the Netherlands’ parliament, and would need to pass through the Dutch senate to become legally binding. But its success in a majority vote puts the earliest date yet on just when a major country might begin phasing out polluting transportation.

Initially, the motion – proposed by the Labour Party (PvdA), the junior member of the Netherlands’ coalition government – aimed to ban petrol and diesel cars entirely, but it was dialled back. As it stands, the proposal would allow existing cars to stay in use, but would “strive to prevent” the sales of any future ones, ensuring that Dutch roads gradually electrify over the next decade or so.

But the motion was opposed by the Labour Party’s coalition partners, the centre-right VVD, whose leader, Halbe Zijlstra, called the plan “unrealistic”, according to a report from the Dutch state broadcaster NOS. Zijlstra was particularly concerned about whether or not the proposed law would conflict with the country’s energy agreement, which commits the Netherlands to certain decarbonisation targets by 2020.

The leader of the PvdA, Diederik Samsom, says that the proposal would be feasible – and that the energy agreement wouldn’t conflict with it. “That agreement runs until 2023, we are free in what we do after that. We are ambitious, perhaps other parties are less so”, he said.

Source: Netherlands moots electric car future with petrol and diesel ban by 2025 | Technology | The Guardian

The Truth About Your Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrush – My Plastic-free Life

There’s no perfect toothbrush, but some toothbrushes are less perfect than others, and sadly, a few of them aren’t even what they claim to be.  Here are a few disappointing facts I have learned recently about other companies’ toothbrushes.

Source: The Truth About Your Biodegradable Bamboo Toothbrush – My Plastic-free Life

A very interesting assay about the perfect toothbrush – unfortunately such thing does not seem to exist. However I have to admit, compared to the rest of the plastic we are usually using, I would consider some bristles as minor, so I guess a bamboo toothbrush is much better than a plastic one.

 

Crickhowell: Welsh town moves ‘offshore’ to avoid tax on local business

This is a brilliant story. It’s fun reading and the principle should be used by any other shop owner in the UK. If you’re in the UK and are a small business owner, you have to go here:

http://fairtaxtown.com/

When independent traders in a small Welsh town discovered the loopholes used by multinational giants to avoid paying UK tax, they didn’t just get mad. Now local businesses in Crickhowell are turning the tables on the likes of Google and Starbucks by employing the same accountancy practices used by the world’s biggest companies, to move their entire town “offshore”.

Source: Crickhowell: Welsh town moves ‘offshore’ to avoid tax on local business

Smart Homes – dumb devices and people in between

I am a technology geek, always been. I had IT in school when I was 11 and I am not talking about using some device, I mean real IT. We wrote programmes. I hacked school servers (in a friendly way) back in high school. School staff did not have much of a clue those days, they were hobbyists. I was actually to study IT at uni, however I was not smart enough for math so failed my studies within the first semester. I was bored in IT classes and overly challenged in math classes. Anyway, this is how I ended up studying architecture and becoming an architect. Still use a lot of IT every day.

Back in the good old days, everything was tied to cables, there was no wireless and no one had a cell phone. Now almost everything is wireless – cell phones, tables, computers. Telephones too, bluetooth mice and keyboards, bluetooth speakers and the list goes on. Everyone is operating a wireless home network. And so do councils for the public or various mobile service providers aka spark, vodafone, … Continue reading

Bay of Plenty gets New Zealand’s first ‘perfect 10’ Homestar house

A home under construction in Papamoa has just become the first in the country to achieve the highest possible rating of 10 Homestar. [..]

While I always like great sustainable buildings, I am also very careful with achievements vs. cost. After all, economics are part of sustainability as well but let’s not go into too much debate about this now.

The 230 sqm showhome in Palm Springs, Papamoa is due for completion in July 2015. [..] “We have calculated our 10 Homestar home would save the average four-person Tauranga family $3,198.68 per year. [..]

The 10 Homestar design home will be priced around $785,000 when marketed.[..]

Source: Bay of Plenty gets New Zealand’s first ‘perfect 10’ Homestar house

That would be more than 3,400$/m2, a rather solid price at the time when many young Aucklanders struggle to buy their first home. Likewise they struggle to find anything to rent that does not resemble a shed. The ones who already have a house which they call their own are the lucky ones. Unfortunately sustainability seem to be for the upper classes.

We still struggle to deliver good and affordable houses in New Zealand, particularly in Auckland.

See:

How we design

Again and again I am astonished as to how long it takes for a great idea for a design until it becomes mainstream. I am thinking of things like the EV1, hybrid cars and electric cars, but also great things like CalDAV. It likewise amazes me how we design things on a daily basis, the things that are not the great inventions but just things like buildings and infrastructure. Continue reading