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Green Sky Tower to be Tallest in Abu Dhabi (S2)

The Gate & Sky Tower

This development on Reem Island called The Gate is currently under construction in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  We’re talking about a total of 11,300,000 sf of development space.  One building is the Sky Tower.  Sky Tower will be the tallest tower in Abu Dhabi and (only) the fifth largest tower in UAE.  Topping out at 83 stories and 300 meters, it is anticipated that Sky Tower will be the first building in the UAE to receive LEED certification.  The Gate Development will also include five 62-story towers and two 31-story buildings.  Designed and planned by Arquitectonica, The Gate is supposed to become the gateway to a new city. 

It’s a pretty incredible looking development.  By all means, check the images below and let me know if you think it has a slight resemblance to Stonehenge.  Anyone agree?  When completed, The Gate will have a total of 4,600 residential units, 344,488 sf of office space, and 44,291 sf of retail space. 

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$16 B to Clean Energy, Thin Film Solar, Home Efficiency Tips + the Economics of Homes Sizes (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Housing slowdown offers a chance to get real about HOME SIZES … good design and quality construction ultimately will prove more worthwhile than square footage. 
  2. Nine ways to make your home more energy efficient.
  3. Thin Film PV market could top $7 billion by 2015 … low cost, low weight, ease of manufacturing, and success on roof, wall, and window applications is driving the growth (see also Nanosolar). 
  4. U.S. House of Representatives passed a Democratic rewrite of U.S. energy policy that strips $16 billion in tax incentives away from Big Oil and puts it toward renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.

[Video] Nanosolar Causing Disruptions at 1/3 Cost

Nanosolar wants to create paper-thin, flexible solar panels that can be made at 1/3 the cost of heavy, silicon-made solar panels.  It’s important to keep an eye on tech like this because Nanosolar is currently building the largest solar panel manufacturing plant in the U.S.  If successful, this stuff is going to be on every building and structure starting in 2008.  It’s going to change the way the game is played in a major way. 

To give you an idea of how compelling, how enormous this is, check this:  the Google founders are investing in Nanosolar, an IBM manufacturing executive just joined Nanosolar, and the U.S. Department of Energy just awarded them $20 million. 

Pursuing a Ken Yeang Built World

Chongqing Tower

There's an excellent interview by CNN with Ken Yeang, principle of the UK firm Llweleyn Davis Yeang.  Almost a year ago, I wrote about Yeang's fascinating Menara Mesiniaga building, and that article has been a popular one in terms of visitors.  Yeang is an ecological, architectural visionary designing in a way that blurs the boundary between the natural and human-built environments.  With eco-logical design, the goal is to build a structure with no pollution or waste.  And we're getting there, too.  To quote Yeang, "we'll see green buildings long before 2020 — I think the movement is intensifying. Within the next 5-10 years we'll see a lot more green buildings being built. Not just buildings but green cities, green environment, green master plans, green products, green lifestyles, green transportation. I'm very optimistic."  The green buildings pictured in this post are only a fraction of those designed by Ken Yeang.  If you're looking for more information, feel free to pick up his latest book: ECODESIGN: A Manual for Ecological Design

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Eco-Cities, 1 Hotel & Residences, Consumer Perception of Green Business + Variety in Green Homes (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Eco-cities, centers that showcase the cutting-edge of land use and urban planning, are being planned for the UK and China but do they have what it takes to solve environmental challenges?
  2. Atlanta’s The Streets of Buckhead will be one of the first cities in the southeast to gain a luxury, eco-friendly hotel in the new Starwood Capital Group brand, 1 Hotel & Residences. 
  3. An increasing number of businesses are making a commitment to the environment, but it seems that consumer perception of "going green" businesses could be mixed. 
  4. The Tale of Two Green Homes – one is efficient and thrifty, and the other is stylish and opulent.  They both help the environment, right?

Human Bones + Nanoengineering = Green Concrete?

Greenconcrete_2 The following post may seem a little esoteric, if not absolutely dry, but don’t be intimidated.  Bear with me a second as the idea opens up towards the end of this article.  Every year, roughly 1.89 billion tons of cement (the main component of concrete) are manufactured.  Cement accounts for about 7-8% of all human-generated CO2 emissions (a main ingredient in the recipe for climate change).  Here’s what happens: cement is made by burning fossil fuels to heat a limestone and clay powder to 1500 °C.  Then, the resulting cement powder is mixed with water and gravel and the invested energy in the powder is released into chemical bonds that form calcium silicate hydrates.  Those calcium silicate hydrates bind the gravel to create concrete. 

So, the idea goes, human bone could show us how to manufacture concrete with less CO2 emissions.  Human bone achieves a similar packing density to concrete at the nanoscale, but with human bone, this packing density is achieved at body temperature with no extra release of CO2.  Stated otherwise, bone strength is achieved naturally without having to heat powder at a high temperature, and thus, without the CO2 release.  The problem is, however, the hardening of apatite minerals in the bone takes a long time.  Say, a month or more. 

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