Innovative designs that could change the world

My Sunday was spent at the London Design Museum for the Design award 2015 nominations. There were an array of different design concepts on show, but what really interested me were the ones around environmental sustainability.

There were three design ideas that were of particular interest which i thought i would share:

1)Australia design

This one was an architecture design in Australia (Sydney). The feature of this design which was particularly impressive was the vertical gardens. The greenery which apparently covers 50% of the building creates a nice facade and stands out in a landscape of glass, brick and render. This building uses native plants and foliage, which protects the building from direct sunlight and creates a nice aesthetic appearance, which got me thinking about what the other benefits of have a vertical gardens that are part of new developments. I would suspect it would assist in the air quality of the city and help filter pollutants, although one building would have little impact, a whole city of green facades would surely make some difference. The foliage could also provide habitats and food for birds, bees and other native species, which would be great at supporting biodiversity. It also got me thinking about utilising the same methods to have vertical vegetable patches or even roof gardens that can provide food for the building. I understand that not all food requirements would be met for all residents, but there could be enough to provide significant amounts of vegetables and herbs. The waste from these organic products would be composted on site (eg rooftops) and the soil distributed amongst residents. This system would reduce amount of carbon used to produce the food, reduce the plastic used to package food, and reduce landfill. Although i believe the current vertical garner used n this building is hydroponic, if soil could be utilised, it would also provide insulations of the building, reducing costs and energy use further. I see this becoming a future form of sustainable development in all major cities in the future.
2)House tree

Another notable architectural design that i liked was the ‘House of Trees’ which was built in Vietnam. With the expansion of the urban landscape in Ho Chi Min City there is now less that 0.25 of the landscape covered in greenery. The aim of this project is to reintroduce the native tropical trees back into the landscape by planting them on the roof tops of buildings. The benefits of this are clearly the increase of native vegetation leaving to greater amounts of CO2 storage, building insulation, and increasing biodiversity.
3)theoceancleanup

The third design i liked was particularly inspiring- It was called the clean up the oceans project.
Essentially it was developed by a young engineer student who has developed a tool in order to clean the oceans

The Basic Principles of the project as taken from the website-(http://www.theoceancleanup.com/blog/show/item/the-ocean-cleanup-starts-phase-2.htmlPassive collection)

– Why move through the oceans, if the oceans can move through you? Attaching an array of floating barriers and platforms to the sea bed enables us to concentrate the plastic before extracting it from the ocean —a collection process 100% driven by the natural winds and currents.

– Capturing plastics, not sea life
Instead of nets, we make use of solid floating barriers, making entanglement of wildlife impossible. Virtually all of the current flows underneath these booms, taking away all (neutrally buoyant) organisms, and preventing by-catch, while the lighter-than-water plastic collects in front of the floating barrier.

– Highly scalable
The scalable array of moorings and booms is designed for large-magnitude deployment, covering millions of square kilometers without moving a centimeter.
Thanks to its projected high capture and field efficiency, a single gyre can be covered in just 5-10 years (or longer, depending on the chosen deployment strategy).

What this visit did for me, was remind me of the potential that we all have to change the world. The world is full of people that are attempting to make the world in which we live more sustainable and in better harmony with our environment. IN a time when our impact on the world and our destruction upon it are unprecedented, its comforting to know that there is a way back from it.

Peace and happy innovations

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The green roof: Saving energy and producing energy!

turf roof

Check out this article from the ABC in Australia-

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bydesign/img6008-editjpg/5452406

I have seen this ‘Green Roof’ used several times on the UKs greatest show ‘Grand Designs’ (starring Kevin Mccloud-the UKs greatest export! in my opinion anyway- what a rockstar 🙂 ) so when i read about this guy incorporating it into his design in Australia i thought i would share it. It appears that a roof like like has many positive attributes. The use of this roof reduces energy input into the house which not only lowers the cost of bills but also the impact on the environment. The roof would also support native animals and in some small way increase possible habitat for birds, bees etc. and most of all, lets face it, it looks pretty cool:)

But perhaps the coolest develop of late is the fact that they can now PRODUCE electricity from your green roof. A Dutch start up company called ‘Plant-e’  have developed the technology to harness electricity from plants.How does it work…. well what it does is uses the process of photosynthesis and the eventual release of neutron and protons as by products to create the electricity (don’t ask me how). In urban areas they have plans to create this system along side the green roof and estimate that help the households energy requirements could be met through the use of ‘Plant-e’ electricity. I would recommend checking out the below video for an overview of how it works.

So for all you possible builders, architects and and home renovators- keep your mind open, challenge the norms, and incorporate greener ways to build. Build a green roof that actually saves and makes your electricity-

peace and happy building!