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$90 Billion or $300 Per Person [Editorial]

90billion

With the price of oil at $95 a barrel, economists estimate that U.S. households will spend an additional $90 billion on costlier gasoline.   Estimating our population at 300 million, that’s an average of $300 per person.   Between my wife and I, that means we’re giving up $600 of our economic pie to the recently increased cost of transportation, on average.

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Agro-Housing Becoming an Option for China

Agrohousing

In China, there’s a massive exodus from the rural to urban areas, but it’s controlled because the country doesn’t have enough housing for everyone that wants to live in a city.  At the same time, urbanization accentuates the air and soil pollution problems.  So, Knafo Klimor Architects proposed an agro-housing project that blends agriculture and high-rise housing in one structure.  This agro-housing project brings the food-supply directly to the building, and to the extent that residents can realize the benefits of urban farming, there is a decreased reliance on transportation for agricultural products (shopping and delivery to stores).  Plus, with the building’s integrated water capture systems, the project has the potential to reduce water consumption and runoff.  Residents could make money off the crops, too. 

This agro-housing project is going to be built in Wuhan, China.  As you can see from the renderings, the building has quite the elaborate labyrinth to control water, air, and heat.  Structurally, it will be made with SIPs and a majority of the materials will come from steel, aluminum, and terracotta — all materials that can be recycled at the end of the building’s life.  Via Dwell

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Beach Road Ecoquarter, a Sustainable Mixed-Use Scheme

Foster's Beach Road

Foster + Partners is at it again with another sweeping master plan in some exotic location — this time, it’s a 150,000 square meter city block in downtown Singapore.  The scheme incorporates commercial, residential, retail, and two high-end hotels, the total package of which could achieve the Green Mark Platinum Rating, which is the highest rating under Singapore’s main green building rating system.  The ground-level canopy is blanketed with a ribbon-like structure that forms a series of vertical louvres.  These filter the sun and provide a framework for the planting which will transform the towers into a series of vertically linked green spaces.  Interestingly, the buildings’ slanted facades are oriented, rather exactly calculated, to catch wind and direct it downwards to cool the canopy level.  It’s amazing to look at, and I bet it will be quite the gathering place. 

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Sidwell Friends School, Anatomy of a Green School

Sidwell Friends School

The Sidwell Friends School is the first LEED Platinum-rated K-12 school in the world, but what’s incredible is the story behind it.  First, it’s a renovation of a fifty year old facility.  Second, the renovation involved the students, so everyone was able to participate and learn about the benefits of a green building.  Matter of fact, about sixteen 5th – 8th graders studied the building, wrote about its benefits, and recorded an audio feature explaining each green feature.  Feel free to take the green building tour to learn about low-VOC materials, CO2 monitoring, natural light, native plants, the green roof and biology pond, photovoltaic panels, a heat recovery wheel, vertical solar fins, and the settling tank, etc.  This is quite the impressive interactive visual/audio tour.  Seriously, great work. 

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Hammarby Sjöstad: A Legitimate Eco-City

Sweden Stockholm Hammarby

There’s a lot of talk about eco-cities and we’ve mentioned at least two of them (Dongtan + Masdar).  But an unassuming Swedish suburb, known as Hammarby Sjöstad, has received high praises as a legitimate sustainable community.  In Hammarby Sjöstad, houses use half the energy and water than normal Swedish properties.  Plus, all the homes are built to sustainable standards and will house roughly 25,000 people by 2015 (11,000 units).

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Green Labeling, Sourcing Wind Energy, Sustainable Development + Landscape Design Rating System (WIR)

Week in Review
  • Most Americans and Canadians say "green" labeling just a marketing tactic.
  • Harnessing the Wind to Fuel India’s Growth – as nations examine their carbon output, wind turbines provide one alternative to coal.
  • Will sustainable development "shake up" architecture?
  • Clean energy can’t meet growing demand, which is outstripping supply, pushing up prices, and raising the specter that some states may not meet clean-energy mandates. 
  • Green Building Moves Outdoors – the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) announced the development of a new rating system for landscape design. 
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