Friday, 19 March 2010

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy is an umbrella term that refers to any source of usable energy intended to replace fuel sources without the undesired consequences of the replaced fuels.

The term "alternative" presupposes a set of undesirable energy technologies against which "alternative energies" are opposed. As such, the list of energy technologies excluded is an indicator of what problems that the alternative technologies are intended to address. Controversies regarding dominant sources of energy and their alternatives have a long history. The nature of what was regarded alternative energy sources has changed considerably, and today because of the variety of energy choices and differing goals of their advocates, defining some energy types as "alternative" is highly controversial.

In general, alternative energy is that which is produced without the undesired consequences of the burning of fossil fuels, such as high carbon dioxide emissions, the major contributing factor of global warming according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Sometimes, the less comprehensive meaning of "alternative energy" also excludes nuclear energy. Official use of the term excludes nuclear energy.

Future of Alternative Energy

As we strive to build viable green sources of power, future alternative energy sources will be various because:
a) one single source cannot meet an ever-increasing demand and
b) to avoid dependence on a dominating source which is the case with fossil fuels.

Solar and wind power will be the main forces to be reckoned with in terms of future alternative energy. Solar has been making significant technological and economic leaps and it seems set to carry on this way. Wind power is already a established source of energy, supplying millions of homes worldwide. With the advent of offshore wind farms, the future of this alternative energy looks indeed very powerful. Another source of power that has been talked about is ground heat, which means tapping into the ground to regulate household heating and cooling. In the United States, the ground below the frost line maintains an average temperature between 50 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit in most areas of the country. Using geo-exchange systems, it is possible to keep temperatures constant and save up to 70% in home climatization costs.

From a financial market point of view, future alternative energy will be at the center of the next booming market, say economic pundits. According to a report in The Economist, the energy market is worth about $6 trillion a year, based on a yearly consumption of 15 terawatts worldwide. By 2050, it is estimated that consumption will have grown to 30 terawatts. With such a gargantuan market, companies specializing in future alternative energy will be able to move to the mainstream and, unlike the tech boom of the 1990s, benefit from a market characterized by longevity where technologies can co-exist with, instead of replacing, existing ones.

Alternative Energy and Corn

Corn has proven itself to be one of the most effective alternative energy sources, placing it in the ranks of coal, gas, wood, etc. Corn is an excellent energy source because the corn cob is very dense and slow burning. When corn is burned in a heating system, it generates more heat than the conventional furnaces, and it does so at a lower cost. This is because the cost of the corn source is much cheaper than running gas or electric furnaces, and its heat output is extremely high.

In the U.S., many people use corn furnaces to heat their homes. Because it can be burned in a typical wood stove, there is no special equipment to buy. It produces fewer emissions than wood and generates great heat, just like wood does. It is a very effective energy source which can inexpensively and efficiently heat a home. Because the corn husk is not used after harvest, it can be purchased in bulk from farmers or farm supply companies. It is much cleaner to store than wood, and will not carry termites or spiders into the home, which means that it can be stored close to where it is burned.

There are various types of corn burning stoves on the market which are designed to generate a lot of heat and prevent energy loss. There are several, high quality stoves which are reasonably priced so burning corn as a means of alternative energy can be a reality for everyone.

Corn burning stoves are very easy to function and can generate heat in a rather quick amount of time. Maintaining a corn stove or furnace is easier than conventional furnaces or stoves. With all the alternative energy sources available, corn is a very promising, yet overlooked, option. You can save on your energy bill in the present economic crises by adopting corn as an alternative source of energy in heating your home.


Wikipedia & Energyrefuge

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Amazing Green Roof Art School in Singapore

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Art, Design, Media, green roofs, natural landscaping, CPG Consultants, glass facade, nanyang1.jpg

If art school was in our future we might opt to study under, or on top of, the amazing green roof at the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. This 5 story facility sweeps a wooded corner of the campus with an organic, vegetated form that blends landscape and structure, nature and high-tech and symbolizes the creativity it houses.

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Art, Design, Media, green roofs, natural landscaping, CPG Consultants, glass facade, nanyang2.jpg

The glass façade provides a high performance building envelope that reduces solar gain and heat load while allowing the benefits of natural views and daylight into creative spaces. The glass walls provide a visual exchange between indoors and out allowing students and teachers to experience the building, the surrounding landscape and the interior plaza as fluid spaces. Diffused natural daylight is abundant throughout studios and classrooms, filtered through the surrounding foliage.

The curving green roofs distinguish the building from among the other structures on campus but the line between landscape and building is blurred. The roofs serve as informal gathering spaces challenging linear ideas and stirring perception. The roofs create open space, insulate the building, cool the surrounding air and harvest rainwater for landscaping irrigation. Planted grasses mix with native greenery to colonize the building and bond it to the setting.

Finishes are intentionally raw to act as a backdrop for the art, media and design projects. Concrete walls and columns, cement-sand screeded floors, timber railings and a neutral palette define the interior spaces which vary in shape and size. This amazing design seems to offer a new experience at every elevation or perspective fulfilling the intent that a school for art should inspire creativity.



Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Samoo Architects and Engineers' City Hall completes metropolis of Seongnam

Seongnam city was the first city planned for Korea and it has grown into a metropolis of 1 million residents. To represent the importance of the city and reflect the cosmopolitan nature, the city called for the design of a new City Hall to house its government, now complete.

Designed by SAMOO Architects & Engineers in collaboration with KMD Architects, the new government building, including its assembly, is not only the centre but also the new landmark of Seongnam encompassing three urban quarters: old downtown, Bundang and Pangyo. It seeks to be an open government office, an eco-friendly government office, and a forward-looking government office.

The ‘Sky Wing’ shape of the 9 storey building (with two basements) provides a sculpture-like architecture in the middle of a park delivering a suitable icon that matches Seongnam’s dynamism. The folding and layering of the facades creates dynamic images. The formative mass that contrasts with the wider green space in the surroundings is emptied at the lower floor to offer more public place to citizens, letting them interact with the building from all angles. The interior was planned with various indoor gardens as well as the atrium and the courtyard to provide a pleasant working environment.

The new building also establishes wireless LAN across the region, and applies cutting edge sustainable solutions such as cool tube systems to make the governmental building a beacon of modernity for the entire region.


World Architecture News

Monday, 15 March 2010

Studio RHE unveils solar-powered residential eco-tower for London


Eco Factor: Sustainable residential building powered by renewable energy.

Studio RHE has unveiled the designs of new residential tower for the Borough of Newham, one of London’s poorest boroughs. Dubbed SilverTree, the new residential eco-tower incorporates the latest in environmental design and construction with the use of advanced materials.


The 24-story tower is to be wrapped in colored panels on two sides, which not only provide solar shading but also generate renewable energy from onboard photovoltaic panels. The third side of the building reveals a green vertical forest of plantings that encloses the terraces and balconies.


The tower’s distinct façade of curved aluminum bands provide solar and wind protection, while a vast array of solar panels generate renewable energy. Additional renewable energy is also generated by a ground source heat pump that has been built into the foundations of the buildings.


The tower will provide 161 residential units of various sizes with a communal landscaped open deck on the first floor. The lower decks will provide space for offices, retail and cafes.


World Architecture News

Friday, 5 March 2010

Amazing houses made from recycled plastic bottles

houses made from recycled bottles

Whenever we think of a shelter, from construction to habitation, we crave to beautify it with the best we have at our disposal. Since most of us have neither the resources nor funds to realize our aspirations, why don’t we utilize the superfluous scraps? I am talking about the items that we generally consider as trash: more specifically, the plastic bottles. Using them constructively, eco-creators have fashioned certain eco-homes that simply defy the limits of affordable and sustainable housing. Here we have listed some of them, marvelously made abodes –miracles of recycling – that you would sure love to inhabit:

• Eco-tec’s casa ecológica (Ecological House)

casa ecologica 1

Using some 8,000 PET bottles, EcoTec created the casa ecológica constructed in Honduras. A “living roof” (green roof) made from sod and turf ‘insulates the house better than conventional roofs.’ Weighing 30 metric tons when wet, the 102 square meter (m2) living roof of the casa ecológica has PET bottle walls to support the weight.

casa ecologica 3

casa ecologica 2

New Schoolhouse in Guatemala built from 6,000 plastic bottles

granados orange schoolhouse1_l2ocv_24429

Reutilization of as many as 6,000 plastic bottles has resulted into an innovative school in Guatemala. Peace Corps volunteer Laura Kutner used plastic trash as construction material and filled the bottles with plastic grocery bags, chip bags, and other waste. Truly Inspiring and innovative, to say the least!

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Mexican House made from plastic and glass bottles

mexican house made from plastic bottles

mexican house made from plastic bottles 2

mexican house made from plastic bottles 3

Serbian House take in 13,500 of them, seeks a place in the Guinness Book of Records

serbian house made from plastic bottles 1

Tomislav Radovanovic, a Serbian mathematics professor from the central town of Kragujevac, has created this 60sq meter house. Working for five long years, Radovanovic made use of plastic bottles for the larger part of the construction –‘only the foundation of the property is concrete.’

serbian house made from plastic bottles 2

• Argentine constructs amazing house from 1200 PET bottles, 1300 Tetra Pack cartons

argentine house made of plastic bottles 1

Alfredo Santa Cruz sought his family’s constructive support to make his dream home. Not satisfied yet with the outcome, he offers ‘free courses about construction with recovered materials (asking only for travel expenses and a place to stay)’ so that others could follow what he had executed to perfection.

argentine house made of plastic bottles 2

argentine house made of plastic bottles 3

Bottle House at Seattle’s Music and Art Festival

bottle house ny 1

A translucent sun dome made from hundreds of empty recycled bottles is a proof positive of artist Jasmine Zimmerman’s inventiveness. Not exactly a home, the sun dome will grow vegetation. Once the festival nears its conclusion, the eco-home would travel to various places.

bottle house ny 2

• 25,000 plastic bottles re-purposed to make Bolivian bottle house

bolivian bottle house

Some young environmental activists in Bolivia collected about 25,000 plastic bottles and built a home out of them in six months time. Filling the bottles with sand and reinforcing it with steel and cement, they created strong walls. The first of the ‘bottle houses’ was completed in Warnes, in the eastern province of Santa Cruz. The fanatical group plans to build ten more houses.



Oppenheim’s Marina + Beach Towers project focuses on sustainability

Eco Factor: Sustainable building designed to generate renewable energy.

Oppenheim’s proposal for a mixed-use tower in U.A.E is designed to maximize the quantity of units on the beach. This new approach will permit the introduction of new unit types with spatial adjacencies of a village. The project’s fluidity will merge the sky and water to allow for a more varied living experience.

The façade of the tower will respond to every shift of light, while providing protection from the intense sun. The architecture will also allow the creation of a botanical wonderland that is infused with natural light. From this new ground, opportunities for the integration of unique amenities usually associated with lifestyle will also emerge.

The architecture firm has focused on sustainability and has tried to embrace natural resources for power and light. The building’s design will allow it to be cooled by the breezes, which will regulate interior temperature without consuming too much energy.

Moreover, the building will also include solar and wind arrays for the generation of the some of its required energy. Other systems deployed for sustainability will include various methods for reuse of the vast amounts of water flowing through the site.