- Rooftop vegetation and gardens are catching on–though there are still many questions about how and when to apply the technique.
- Cleantech venture capital investments are small but growing.
- Monster Homes: Enough is Enough – some places will make you pay for that big thing.
- Developer sells its LEED certified project and it was "certainly a stellar return."
I’m a little late getting to this because I’ve reserved it for the Skyscraper Sunday column, but news of this building pretty much swamped the blogosphere a couple weeks ago. This is the Burj al-Taqa, or Energy Tower, a project conceived by a handful of architects and Eckhard Gerber. If Gerber’s computer models prove correct, this tower will be completely energy independent, producing all its own energy via sunlight, wind, and water. Also, coming in with a price tag of $406 million for the giant 68-story eco-tower, the Burj al-Taqa will occupy #22 on the list of world’s tallest buildings.
This office tower is not short on innovation, so here are a few of the concepts Gerber has planned: the cylindrical shape is designed to expose as little surface area to the sun as possible, thereby reducing heat gain; a solar shield reaches from ground to the roof, protecting the building from the sun’s glaring rays; the tower’s facade is built from a new generation of vacuum glazing, to be mass-marketed in 2008, that will transmit two-thirds less heat than current generation products; negative pressure created by winds breaking along the tower will suck spent air from rooms out of the building through air slits in the facade; sea water will be used to pre-cool air; to generate electricity, the tower will have a 197-foot wind turbine and two photovoltaic arrays totally 15,000 square meters; and additional electricity will be generated by an island of solar panels (literally floating in the sea within viewing distance of the building) totally 17,000 square meters. Any excess electricity will be used to generate hydrogen (from the seawater via electrolysis), which be stored in special tanks. Night power will then be supplied by fuel cell technology. Also, Gerber plans to use mirrors to create a cone of light that will send natural light through the center of the building. Pretty impressive concepts all around. Via.
+New Tower Creates All Its Own Energy [Spiegel]
+Skyscraper Creates All Its Own Energy [Metaefficient]
+Dubai Burj al-Taqa Skyscraper to Generate All Its Own Energy [Engadget]
+The Burj al-Taqa ['Energy Tower'] [architecture.mnp]
::"S2" is short for "Skyscraper Sunday," a weekly article on green skyscrapers posted every Sunday::
Recently, I wrote an article for another website (full disclosure: I decided to stop writing for this website) called, "What’s the Deal with Big Green Homes?" The article lead to some good comments and discussion, but I’ve been nagged by some thoughts that were in the comments. Two of the homes that were discussed in the article were very green by almost all green measures except that of size: one was 4,700+ sf and the other 6,000+ sf. I readily admit the superior green amenities and features of each home, but here’s a portion of my argument:
Think about all the materials that went into such a behemoth. In many ways, big a** homes represent the unsustainability of gross commercialization and over-consumption. Good old fashioned American waste. If you’re the Cheaper by the Dozen family, a big house might be necessary. Otherwise, big does not equal green.
One of the entrepreneurs of this green website disagreed stating, "if it’s Green, go as Big as you can and want." I don’t understand this line of thinking because for this to be logical, a green home would have to have absolutely zero impact. But there’s always an impact, even if it’s managed or negligible or offset or balanced. There’s always an impact, even if it’s the impact of taking something that could go to someone else.