30 April 2012

CEED Becomes First Public School to Use Passivhaus Technology in the U.S.

By Torrey Sims (04/18/2012)
The Center of Energy Efficient Design in Rocky Mount, Va., is the first public school to use the energy-efficient Passivhaus technology, which has enabled it to use 68 percent less energy than conventional schools. Passivhaus technology came about when Professors Bo Adamson of Sweden and Wolfgang Feist of Germany reviewed the U.S. building methods of the 1970s and saw energy efficiency could be achieved in simpler ways. “What Passivhaus technology is, is basically a building-physics methodology for modeling the energy performance of buildings very accurately and fairly easily,” said Adam Cohen, co-founder of Structures Design Build and a certified Passivhaus planner in North America and Europe. Passivhaus primarily consists of high levels of insulation and air-tightness in the fabric used in buildings, according to Building Research Establishment. In CEED’s first year, the 3,503-square-foot building consumed 10,050 kilowatt-hours of energy — 5.9 percent more efficient than predicted when the building opened in November 2010. A typical code building of its size would have consumed 33,852 kilowatt-hours of energy. “We knew Passivhaus technology would deliver on results, but it’s always gratifying to get a year’s worth of data to see how accurate the predictions turn out,” Cohen said. “It’s clear this relatively new technology is here to stay.” CEED was designed as a demonstration school to show students and future developers Passivhaus’ impact on design when it comes to sustainability and cost-saving results. “The idea is that the CEED building will be a central piece of the teaching in this county,” Cohen said. “The other piece of this that’s really cool is that the teachers are going to take all the lesson plans from the CEED and put it on the Web for any teacher, anywhere in the world to access. They can use the real-time data of the building, in terms of energy saved and water conserved, in their lessons.” Spreading the Word Although the U.S. has only a little more than 100 buildings with Passivhaus technology, the method has been internationally praise and is now recognized as a green building standard in Europe. More than 30,000 residential, educational and commercial buildings there use Passivhaus. “A few years after these buildings are being built and they start performing, people look at it and go, oh, golly maybe those things really do work,” Cohen said. “We’re starting to get data back and see that yes, we are seeing 70 percent energy savings, then what happens in almost every country is you have this tremendous growth in interest and implementation of Passivhaus. People can’t get enough of it after they realize that it actually works.” Energy Efficient Installations Passivhaus supports energy-efficient installations, Cohen said, but usually at a smaller scale that results in higher energy savings and lower installation costs than typical energy-efficient buildings have. “Typically, on most of the Passivhaus projects — at the very least we’re using is a passive geothermal loop,” Cohen said. “The geothermal loop consists of a geothermal pipe buried underground that uses natural ground air instead of a typical heat pump.” Passivhaus leads to high indoor air quality, low energy use and, in most cases, energy savings of 70 percent more than a standard building method. The idea is spreading in the U.S. to more than just CEED. Cohen is also in the process of completing the Malcolm Rosenberg Hillel at Virginia Tech. The Rosenberg Hillel is set to open in the spring or summer of 2012 and will host activities, classes and prayer. “Pretty much every building that I’ve done so far I’ve had to introduce people to the idea and convince them that it’s a good idea,” Cohen said. “But I feel like that’s changing because people are starting to get the idea and I’m starting to get calls from people around the country who are doing larger projects and I’m consulting on those.”

29 April 2012


28 April 2012

27 April 2012

News from Ireland

Well folks, I am sitting with my fellow Building Nerd, Seamus O'Loughlin, a truly motivating individual. As committed to low energy as anyone I have met since my compatriot, Mark Hansen of REEVADIY.org.

I presented a talk at the better building conference on WED. The conference was wonderful. It was also sold out! There were many people there interested in Passivhaus and sustainable construction. With the Irish Part L building regulations now in force, you have to build a more, albeit, not yet near PH, robust envelope and there were alot of folks interested in this.

I attended several very good talks by others including a very interesting talk on financing deep retrofits. I did, as per usual, make someone mad. At the deep retrofit talk, when a discussion ensued about financing, I pointed out that the banker presenting had called for out of the box thinking yet all the solutions offered by him and the government planning folks were very much in the olde and failing financial model.

 I stood up, and did make a disclaimer that in the US I am generally dismissed as an unrealistic dreamer with socialist ideas, but that i was going to put forward my piece. And here it was:
 1) The outcome of the climate crisis is as imperative as a world war for our children.
 2) We need to recognize this as a society and marshal our resources to deal with it.
 3) We need a lot of money for renovation of existing building stock.
 4) We could easily raise the money with a tax on financial transactions or other such means (carbon tax).
 5) We could make a tax to fund the renovations and connect the repayment to the property, financed through the energy savings.
 6) No interest should be charged on this (when i said no Usury should be allowed, this is what really pissed the banker off).
 7) I suggested that the other side, the contracting side be regulated in terms of what could be charged for the work and that this will make a new industry spring up.
 8) Also I suggested to give a few years to get the work done voluntarily and then start fining folks who refuse.

 Well as usually i was met with eye rolling and groans. Nice to know my ideas are globally rejected.

 Anyway I am off to tour the Guinness Brewery!

 Cheers from Ireland - more later!

Southern Hoodies

26 April 2012

25 April 2012

No Comment Necessary

24 April 2012

16th Annual Passivhaus Conference

The 16th Annual Passivhaus Conference is starting next week. I cannot wait to attend. I will be surrounded by building nerd colleagues from all over the world! Imagine a weekend of nothing but folks who care passionately about building physics and the environment. Heaven!

I will also be presenting a paper on the US Commercial Passivhaus Industry, which I will post once available.

Tune in later for updates.

~~ Cheers!

23 April 2012

Obama Sucks - LESS

As a Progressive American, I am quite disappointed in the administration of Barack Obama. I do not know why I should be though! I was a Kucinich supporter in 2008, and when he dropped out felt that Hillary was the next best, she has Ovaries! It was Obama's speech on race in March in Philly that convinced me that I should support him. My wife, a much wiser and more reasonable person than I, did some reading of Obama's books and said "don't get your hopes up, he is just a good politician". Well I made the mistake of getting my hopes up and have been sorely disappointed.

So a few weeks ago I decided on my Obama support slogan for 2012 -


22 April 2012

April 25th - Dublin

I will be presenting the case for the economics of Passivhaus @ the Better Building Conference in Dublin on Wed. April 25th.

21 April 2012

No Comment Necessary

20 April 2012

Vote Repube?

How can any self-respecting woman even consider voting Republican? And also, how can any self-respecting man who loves the women in his life (mother, sister, wife, significant other, friend, etc.) even consider voting Republican?

19 April 2012

A Passivhaus Lecture @ Ryerson University


18 April 2012

Tampa Moves To Disarm Protesters (Not!)

Reposted from Jobsanger

The Republicans will be holding their national convention in Tampa, Florida. And the city of Tampa is considering some new ordinances to protect everyone during that convention. They evidently think the protesters will pose a danger, so they are prohibiting possession of some items during the convention, and even more in the designated protest zones. Here is a summary of what they are banning:

• Citywide, there would be a ban on carrying pieces of wood, hard tubes or anything else that could be used as a club, as well as water guns, super soakers, air guns, paintball guns, explosives, switchblades, hatchets, slingshots, brass knuckles, Mace, chains, crowbars, hammers, shovels, or any container containing urine, fecal matter or other bodily fluid.
• In the Clean Zone, the ban would be expanded to prohibit ropes, straps, tape or string longer than 6 inches, glass containers, ceramic vessels, light bulbs, padlocks and bicycle locks, things that could be used as portable shields and gas masks.
• Inside the protest area, the ban would be expanded still further to prohibit aerosol cans, camping gear, coolers and ice chests, fireworks, lasers, bottles, cans, thermoses, sticks, poles, ladders and umbrellas with metal tips.

But have no fear. While they have banned everything from paintball guns to water guns and ice chests and umbrellas, they have made sure that no protester has to go completely unarmed. Anyone can carry a concealed firearm -- as long as they have a concealed-carry permit. And that is not a hard permit to get. In some states, all it requires is the payment of a small fee.

Now to most of us, this doesn't make a lot of sense. Surely a firearm is more dangerous than a water gun or an umbrella. But the Florida legislature doesn't see it that way. They passed a law that denies the city the right to prevent people from carrying firearms -- even in areas where protests will be held (and other convention events where emotions will run high). I guess the legislature wants people to go armed to these protests. Why else would they pass such a dumb law?

Republicans do love their guns. Maybe they are afraid someone will show up with a package of skittles and have to be shot. That kind of thing happens in the Sunshine State.

17 April 2012

16 April 2012

15 April 2012


14 April 2012

No Comment Necessary

13 April 2012

No Comment Necessary

12 April 2012

A Century of Warming


11 April 2012


Washington DC – According to the most recent issue of the "Monthly Energy Review" by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), with data through December 31, 2011, renewable energy sources expanded rapidly during the first three years of the Obama Administration while substantially outpacing the growth rates of fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2011, renewable energy sources (i.e., biofuels, biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) grew by 27.12%. By comparison, during the same three-year period, total domestic energy production increased by just 6.72% with natural gas and crude oil production growing by 13.66% and 14.27% respectively. Moreover, during the same period, nuclear power declined by 1.99% and coal dropped by 7.16%.

Looking at all energy sectors (e.g., electricity, transportation, thermal), renewable energy sources accounted for 11.74% of domestic energy production in 2011 – compared to 9.85% in 2008. In fact, renewable energy sources provided 10.90% more energy in 2011 than did nuclear power, although nuclear still provides a larger share of the nation’s electricity. (On the consumption side, which includes oil and other energy imports, renewable sources accounted for 9.29% of total U.S. energy use during 2011.)

During the first three years of the Obama Administration, geothermal grew by 15.63%, hydropower by 26.28%, solar by 28.09%, biofuels by 46.58%, and wind by 113.92%. Only biomass dipped - by 1.21%. Hydropower accounted for 34.62% of domestic energy production from renewable sources in 2011, followed by biomass (26.75%), biofuels (22.20%), wind (12.75%), geothermal (2.42%), and solar (1.24%).

Looking at just the electricity sector, according to EIA’s "Electric Power Monthly," with data through December 31, 2011, net electrical generation by non-hydro renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) grew by 54.6% during the first three years of the Obama Administration. During the same period, conventional hydropower expanded by 27.6%. Combined, electrical output from renewable energy sources was 36.5% greater for calendar year 2011 than it was for calendar year 2008. By comparison, between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2011, natural gas used in electrical generation grew by 15.1% while nuclear and coal dropped by 2.0% and 12.7% respectively.

During 2011, hydro and non-hydro renewables combined accounted for 12.67% of net electrical generation compared to 9.25% in 2008. Comparing the 12-months of 2011 against the same time period in 2008, wind grew by 116.3%, solar by 110.0%, hydropower by 27.6%, geothermal by 12.5%, and biomass by 3.1%. For all of 2011, non-hydro renewables accounted for 4.75% of net electrical generation while conventional hydropower accounted for 7.91%. However, non-hydro renewables have been growing rapidly and for the last quarter of 2011, they accounted for 5.5% of net U.S. electrical generation. Among the non-hydro renewables contributing to net electrical generation in 2011, wind accounted for 61.4%, followed by biomass (29.1%), geothermal (8.6%), and solar (0.9%).

“The numbers speak for themselves - notwithstanding politically-inspired criticism, the pro-renewable energy policies pioneered by the Obama Administration have generated dramatic growth rates during the past three years, vastly outpacing those of all other energy sources,” said Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “The investments in sustainable energy made by the federal government as well as state and private funders have paid off handsomely underscoring the short-sightedness of emerging proposals to slash or discontinue such support.”

10 April 2012

Gereau Center, CEED up for national award

Monday, April 2, 2012

By JOEL TURNER - Staff Writer

Franklin County's Gereau Center is one of Virginia's three nominees for National Green Ribbon Schools awards that will be announced in April.

The Gereau Center was selected by Virginia's Green Ribbon Schools Selection Team as one of the state's three nominees for the national awards.
Linda Wallinger, state assistant superintendent for instruction, has notified Franklin County school officials about the Gereau Center's nomination for a national award.
Thirty-eight states participate in the national awards program by the United States Department of Education.
The awards recognize schools that save energy, reduce costs, feature environmentally sustainable learning spaces, protect health, foster wellness and offer environmental education.
The Gereau Center includes the Center for Energy Efficient Design (CEED) because it is part of Gereau's campus.
Kevin Bezy, Gereau's principal, said he thinks the Gereau Center has a strong case for a national award. "I have my fingers crossed," he said.
The CEED, the brainchild of teachers John Richardson and Neil Sigmon, was eight years in the planning and construction phases and cost approximately $1.4 million, with more than $400,000 in-kind donations from building firms and other businesses.
The CEED is a net zero, energy-efficient building. Using technologies of PassivHaus design, earth berming, south facing solar orientation, thermal mass, geothermal energy, photovaltaics, solar hot water heaters, electricity-producing wind turbines, rainwater harvesting, energy efficient appliances and daylighting, the building produces more energy than it needs to operate.
The CEED is the first public school building in the United States with Passivhaus technology and standards to achieve certification from the Passive House Institute U.S. The cost for Passivhaus technology adds only about 5 percent to the cost, but the additional cost can be recovered in energy savings in four or five years.
Not only is the CEED saving energy, but it is an airtight structure with an air exchanger that ensures that there is is constant circulation of air from the outside.

09 April 2012

A bit Obvious

08 April 2012


Repost from Jobsanger

Republicans obviously think the American public is as stupid as their own teabagger base. They think all they have to do is say something and it will be accepted as truth, regardless of their many actions to the contrary. It's sort of like Fox News claiming to be fair and balanced, even though they operate solely as a Republican propaganda organ.

We already know that while Republicans claim to believe in equality, their homophobic, misogynistic, and racist policies and actions show they believe white male heterosexuals to be superior to the majority of Americans. They claim to believe in fairness and democracy, but they believe corporations are people and should have the right to dominate the electoral process with their massive amounts of secretly-donated money.

They claim to believe all Americans should have access to decent health care, but want to repeal "Obamacare" and deny insurance coverage to millions of Americans. They also claim to want to protect Medicare and Social Security, when what they really want to do is privatize both and throw millions of the elderly back into poverty without any health coverage.

Now they are claiming they want to help the country's small businesses. They have introduced a bill in the House of Representatives they have titled the Small Business Tax Cut Act. The only problem with the bill is that it doesn't help small businesses. It is not even designed to help small businesses. The title they gave the bill is just a cover for the same old GOP policy of giving massive tax breaks to the rich, while refusing to help ordinary Americans (or small businesses).

The truth is that as the chart above shows, most of the tax cuts would go to the rich and not to small businesses. Actual small businesses, those making a profit of less than $200,000 a year, would only receive about 16% of the cuts while the rich would get the other 84%. The top 1% would get an average tax cut of nearly $23,000 and the top 0.1% would get an average tax cut of about $131,000.

And that's not the only Republican lie associated with this bill. The Republicans have repeatedly claimed they want to cut the government deficit. Yet this bill would cost about $46 billion a year -- and there is no provision in the bill regarding how to pay for it. In other words, the bill would increase the government deficit by billions of dollars.

I'm starting to wonder if the Republicans, at least the congressional variety, even have the ability to tell the truth.

07 April 2012

No Comment Necessary

06 April 2012

04 April 2012

Big Oil's Purchase Of Senate GOP Pays Off

Repost from Jobsanger

The above cartoon (from the website EcoWatch) is pretty descriptive of what went on in the U.S. Senate this last week. The Big Oil companies have to be celebrating, because the gusher of taxpayer money they have been enjoying for years will not be cut off. And the many millions of dollars they have put in Republican campaign coffers has paid off a thousandfold.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) had introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate to cut off $24 billion in tax subsidies to the biggest oil companies. These companies are enjoying record profits, and don't need the subsidies (which allow them to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes on those record profits). It only makes sense, especially in this terrible economy, that those companies and individuals who are making the most money should at least pay their fair share of taxes.

But the oil companies don't see it that way -- and neither do the GOP senators they have purchased. Both the Big Oil companies and the Republican senators think taxes are something to be paid by the working and middle classes -- not corporations and the moguls who run them.

The bill by Menendez needed 60 votes in the Senate to be brought up for a vote -- a vote that almost surely would have eliminated the subsidies for Big Oil and forced them to pay their taxes. But 43 Republicans (and four Democrats) made sure that wouldn't happen. The Republican filibuster was not ended by a 51 to 47 vote in the Senate. To be fair, two Republicans did vote to end the GOP filibuster (Maine's two senators -- Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins). The four blue dog Dems who voted with the Republicans were Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Ben Nelson (Nebraska), Mark Begich (Arkansas), and Jim Webb (Virginia).

Why would these senators vote to keep giving the Big Oil companies $24 billion in tax subsidies, when they so obviously don't need them due to their record (and still growing) profits? Well, a big clue can be found in what these senators have received from the oil companies. The 47 senators who voted against ending the subsidies have received a total of $24,057,254 ($22,899,852 for the GOP senators and $1,157,402 for the four Democrats). That's an average of $511,856 per senator.

That $24 million was money well spent by Big Oil. They get to keep 1000 times that amount in subsidies to fatten their already bulging bank accounts.

03 April 2012

Scientists Warn Climate Change May Be Irreversible

by Julie Rodriguez
Scientists at the Planet Under Pressure conference have some bad news for the environmental movement. Anyone paying attention could tell you that global warming is out of control. Temperatures are already set to rise by at least 2 degrees Celsius in the next century – and there may be nothing we can do to change it at this point.

But if we continue to pollute the Earth without taking drastic measures to change our emissions, the global temperature could rise by as much as six degrees. It may not seem like a huge difference, but it’s significant enough to profoundly alter the Earth as we know it. Sea levels will rise. The polar ice sheets will disappear. Rainforests will die. There won’t be any coming back from these changes.

These shifts in the climate of the Earth represent tipping points – and some scientists say that the tipping point for the melting ice sheets has already passed. There may be no way to recover them. In low-lying countries like Tuvalu or Kiribati, citizens are already making plans to evacuate as rising sea levels gradually swallow up their island homes.

But if the Amazon rainforest reaches a tipping point caused by higher temperatures and a drier climate, it could be devastating. The dying trees would stop absorbing emissions and instead release even more carbon into the atmosphere.

And nobody knows what will happen if the permafrost begins to melt in Siberia. The frozen soil stores billions of tons of carbon – twice as much as the atmosphere now. Severe temperature changes could unlock all that carbon, intensifying climate change dramatically. In an interview with Reuters, Will Steffen, the executive director of the Australian National University’s climate change institute, explained:

“There is about 1,600 billion tonnes of carbon there – about twice the amount in the atmosphere today – and the northern high latitudes are experiencing the most severe temperature change of any part of the planet,” he said.

In a worst case scenario, 30 to 63 billion tonnes of carbon a year could be released by 2040, rising to 232 to 380 billion tonnes by 2100. This compares to around 10 billion tonnes of CO2 released by fossil fuel use each year.

These changes in the atmosphere also make the oceans more acidic, as the water absorbs more carbon. We’re already witnessing an increase in ocean acidity. This change in the ocean threatens coral reefs could quickly lead to the extinction of many marine species within the next few decades.

Bob Watson, the former head of the UN’s climate panel and current chief advisor to Britian’s environment ministry, is not optimistic. Given current worldwide commitments to combatting climate change, he believes it’s entirely likely that global temperatures will rise by 5 degrees Celsius (9 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century:

“If you look at the commitments today from governments around the world, we’ve only got a 50-50 shot at a 3 C (5.4 F) world, almost no chance of a 2 C (3.6 F) world, and to be quite honest I would say it’s not unlikely that we will hit a 5 C (9.0 F) world,” said Watson.

“That is clearly a world with significant adverse consequences for ecological systems, for socio-economic systems and for human health.”

He added: “We have to realise that we are looking at a loss of biodiversity that is unprecedented in the last 65 million years… We are clearly entering the (planet’s) sixth mass extinction.”

It’s important to note that despite these dire predictions, not all scientists are completely pessimistic. Steffan told an audience in London on Tuesday, “This is the critical decade.” While the implications are terrifying – if we don’t reduce global greenhouse gas emissions significantly in the next decade, the results could be catastrophic – there’s also the possibility that things can be turned around, or the damage at least limited. But we have to act quickly.

The good news is that we have at least the next ten years before the worst of global climate change becomes completely irreversible. If we plan for the worst, that’s a full decade to lobby our lawmakers and insist upon change. As more severe weather begins to occur as a result of climate change, maybe more US lawmakers will start being willing to concede it exists and take action to stop it. (Well, we can hope, can’t we?)

350.org is placing their efforts on that hope this year – for their global day of action on May 5, they’re urging protestors to “connect the dots” between carbon emissions, global warming, and extreme weather. You can find out more about the event and how you can participate on their website, ClimateDots.org.

02 April 2012

Arizona Company Plans Coast-to-Coast Fast Charging Network

Mesa, Arizona – March 23, 2012 -There are more reasons to celebrate electric vehicles this Earth Day, thanks in part to GoE3 , an Arizona-based company which is launching plans for the nation's first coast-to-coast charging network. These Level 2 and Level 3 stations for electric vehicles will make interstate travel finally a reality for electric vehicles and plug-in EVs. The launch event, which includes the unveiling of the first Level 2/Level 3 combination charger station, is a milestone event for the long range electric car market.

While metropolitan charging stations for electric vehicles already exist, many are Level Two 30 Amp. Those being planned by GoE3 will be Level Two, 70 Amp or higher, will be the most fully functional on the market, support all modern electric vehicles and will be the first to be installed on interstates, supporting long range travel. GoE3 will introduce the first installment of the total 500 charging stations planned in conjunction with a road rally and reality TV show being produced this summer.

GoE3 is working with multiple partners to install charging stations and benefit local communities along interstate highways I-40, I-10, I-20 and I-70 with a station located every 50-75 miles. For Level 3 chargers, the costs will be $12.50 for a full charge and take 10 to 45 minutes, depending on how depleted the battery is. The company will roll out the route of its first 50 planned locations by April 21 with the remaining 450 in the next 18-36 months. A complete route from Flagstaff to Tucson has been secured.

While the only plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles currently capable of long-range highway travel in America are the Chevy Volt and Tesla Motors, GoE3 founder and CEO Bruce Brimacombe hopes that creating the nation's first electric vehicle charging network across interstates will encourage more drivers to purchase electric vehicles and travel further.

"If the national goal is having one million electric vehicles on American roads by 2015, we must all work harder to shift perceptions on how useful, practical and affordable electrical vehicle travel can be,” Brimacombe says. Electric vehicles require little maintenance and cost of ownership is low aside from the battery replacement and this will come down in time, he says.

GoE3 has strategically selected the Tucson Arizona-based Biosphere 2 complex for its launch event.

“Biosphere 2 is a Mecca for research, which is why we chose it as the location for the GoE3 launch,” said Brimacombe. “Because of their association with the University of Arizona, Biosphere 2 has the will and the talent to not only provide us with a platform to test how our chargers function when powered by solar and other forms of renewable energy; but also gives our partners, students, and researchers a medium for collaboration to discover and share answers on real world applications. It’s a valuable experience for all involved.”

Biosphere 2 will be holding an Earth Day event of its own on Saturday, April 21, in conjunction with the GoE3 launch, all of which is open to the public. The event will feature demos of new charging stations, offer test drives of the latest electric vehicles and two other ribbon cutting ceremonies to celebrate the greater Earth Day theme.

Company Information:

Jezlin Media, LLC (GoE3.com) is a economic change engine that endeavors to change popular perceptions about renewable energy through actions that lead to a sustainable future. The core objective of Jezlin Media, LLC is to launch GoE3: Campaign for Energy Independence, which will serve as a conduit to achieve its mission. This will be by way of a unique business concept that combines multi-media targeting B to B, B to C, and C to C audiences and the installation of the country's first coast-to-coast Electric Vehicle charging network. This awareness objective will be kicked off with a National EV Road Rally which will be filmed and made ready for a new reality TV show. For more information visit www.GoE3.com

01 April 2012

History of climate change re-written with release of Russian data

The history of a changing climate has been officially re-written following the release of new data from Russia and bases within the Arctic Circle.

Scientists have now calculated that 2010 has overtaken 1998 to now be the warmest year on record, followed in second place by 2005 as 1998 is pushed into third place.

The recalculation of the annual global mean temperature records follows the release of weather data from more than 600 locations around the Arctic Circle.

The dataset is compiled by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, who today announced the update.

Compiled from temperature observations obtained over land and sea, HadCRUT is used as a basis for a global temperature record going back to 1850.

The latest version of the dataset, called HadCRUT4, includes the newly available data, which now contains information from the All Russian Research Institute adding more records from the sparsely observed northern higher latitude region.

Differences in the way sea surface temperature observations have been collected have been taken account of and the new version also provides much more detail on uncertainty.

Colin Morice, Climate Monitoring Research Scientist at the Met Office said: "The new study brings together our latest and most comprehensive databases of land and marine temperature observations, along with recent advances in our understanding of how measurements were made at sea. These have been combined to give us a clearer picture of what the historical data can tell us about global climate change over the past 161 years.

"Updates have resulted in some changes to individual years in the nominal global mean temperature record, but have not changed the overall warming signal of about 0.75 °C since 1900."

One of the key reasons for slight changes to mean temperature for later years in HadCRUT4 is the inclusion of much more data from the Arctic, an area which is warming faster than other parts of the world.

Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit, said: "HadCRUT is underpinned by observations and we've previously been clear it may not be fully capturing changes in the Arctic because we have had so little data from the area.

"For the latest version we have included observations from more than 400 stations across the Arctic, Russia and Canada. This has led to better representation of what's going on in the large geographical region."

Another change relates to dealing with the different ways sea-surface temperatures have been measured. This has had an effect on some years further back in the record, particularly in the mid 20th century.

Peter Stott, Head of Climate Monitoring and Attribution at the Met Office, said: "An example of this is the rapid changes in the kinds of measurements we see in the digital archives around the Second World War. Some sea surface temperature observations were taken from buckets hauled on board ships and others were made in the engine rooms.

"Research has shown readings from buckets were generally cooler so when the database changes from one source to another you see artificial jumps in the raw data. We've quantified these effects and corrected for them providing a clearer view of the evolution of global temperatures."