Tianjin Eco-City

Tianjin eco-city view

Tianjin Eco-City is a fascinating, 30 square kilometer development designed as a model for future developing Chinese cities. As China rapidly modernizes there is a need to create a sustainable city model. Situated 45 kilometers from Tianjin City and 150 kilometers from the Chinese capital of Beijing, the site of the Tianjin Eco-City is just a 10 minutes’ drive from the business parks at the Tianjin Economic-Development Area. The Tianjin Eco-City is expected to house 350,000 residents when the project is fully completed in 2020.  A conscious effort was made not to create a generic city but instead to create… read more

Green Roofs to Cool Cities

Green roofs in city

An oft-forgot aspect of rising temperatures is the additional increase in temperature in urban areas, known as the urban heat island effect. Essentially, concrete and pavement absorb heat and make the city hotter than the surrounding areas. Additionally, buildings absorb heat during the day, and release it at night. Of course, this heat absorption happens everywhere—it is simple science. However, the sheer amount of concrete and pavement covering the land and quantity of buildings in cities are what drive the temperatures up, inducing the heat island effect. Climate change is not the culprit for the increase in city temperature, though…. read more

The Cost of Design

The cost of design

Integrative design processes are the most important aspect of successful green building, whether they are guided by the LEED rating system or another system, codes, incentives or a visionary owner. In any case, the “integrative” part is pivotal. The systems need to be optimized in tandem, not in their separate silos of control and importance.  When the glazing and window locations are being planned, the heating and cooling systems should be discussed.  When the ceiling heights move up or down, this may affect the furniture planning (bunk beds or not?) and the use of ceiling mounted radiant panels.  All of… read more

Green Roofs of Norway

Green roofs of Norway

Time and again we see pictures surfacing on the web of these adorable green roof topped house with a mesmerizing scenery that are located in Norway. It is probably true that many people just assume it is some type of green technology, pin it, and move on with their day.  This is actually not a modern invention.  Norwegians have been planting greenery atop their roofs for hundreds of years.  During the time of Vikings or the Middle Ages, majority of the houses had sod roofs.  This allowed for more warmth in the home rather than some of the modern materials… read more

Greener Homes Required

Green architectural designs

Be it sun-lit mansions, garden duct cooling or solar heating. All these words sounded lame and too fictional a few years back. But now, due to awareness for the environment, houses are designed in order to reduce to the maximum wastage and dependence on non renewable energy and adopt use for the natural sources of energy. Reduction in housing spaces in cities and the ever increasing demand for power has forced people to design their houses to give them comfort without compromising the “green” factor for their house. For this, the easy and practical option is to switch over to… read more

Giant 3D House Printers

Contour Crafting Construction

While methods for assembling roads, bridges, and tunnels have evolved over the years, the procedures for home construction remain virtually the same. In Third World countries, this failure to modernize has cost many lives each year through dangerous construction practices, and delays the process of transforming impoverished nations into cultured societies. Recently, the method of 3D printing has gained popularity in the manufacturing and scientific industry. These printing devices are capable of taking certain construction materials and turning them into 3-Dimensional products. So far, organs, tools, artwork, and even guns have been printed and sold in retail stores worldwide. Scientists… read more

The Billion Dollar Islands

The Seasteading Institute's island dream

In the waters off the San Franciscan coast in the U.S., a chain of artificial islands are quietly being designed, with plans for their construction occurring sometime in the near future. These elaborate sanctuaries are the brainchild of Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel (famous for his early funding of Facebook), and have received monetary support from like-minded individuals such as Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, and other notable and affluent figures worldwide. A company called The Seasteading Institute has backed the construction of these islands. The idea was first presented to Peter Thiel by former Google engineer Patri Friedman, a leader… read more

Catch Your Own Water

WashPark_MG_1376W

Each month we pay our bills: mortgage, electricity, insurance, phone, water, etc. Wouldn’t it be nice to cut back? Rainwater catching allows you to collect your own water, for free, and naturally. “Treated rainwater from a catchment system is in many cases safer, than treated drinking water from a city,” said Tim Pope, board member, former president and Educational Coordinator of the American Rainwater Catchment System Association. Both developed and undeveloped countries catch rainwater. Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America use rainwater as a substitute for some of their water usage.  Whether you are gathering rainwater at home or at… read more

Efficiency By Design

Low usage and high efficiency homes

Buildings are by far the most important venue for efficiency by design. More energy and materials are used in their construction as well as energy consumed during their lifetime, consequently their design and construction practices should be implemented in the most sustainable way possible to attain the goal of carbon neutrality and only natural materials used. The structure of our buildings and homes should be made from sustainable materials bought regionally to increase the economy and increase longevity of the structure. As an example, standing seam metal roofs last longer and can actually reflect solar radiation, keeping your attic and… read more

Eco-Friendly Bamboo

Bamboo

Bamboo is like a miracle material. It has endless advantages and is highly renewable. It is actually from the grass family, not a wood, as commonly perceived. It is a perennial evergreen and giant bamboos are the largest of the grasses. Bamboos are some of the quickest growing plants in the world so it makes it quite a resourceful product indeed! It can be used for building materials as well as a food source and many other products. Bamboo matures in three to five years. When compared to other soft-woods, which take ten to twenty years to mature, bamboo is… read more