Eco-conscious buildings from Canada to China

At a time when the effects of the climate crisis are becoming more pronounced, green architecture is the key to building a more sustainable future. After all, the numbers speak for themselves. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the building and construction industry is associated with 37% of global carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, three of the most commonly used construction materials (concrete, steel and aluminum) are responsible for almost a quarter of the total carbon dioxide production, while 40% of the total energy consumption in the European Union comes from the construction sector and 36% of of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU comes from buildings.

In order to make our buildings more environmentally friendly, we need to improve the way they are constructed and also renovate the existing ones, given that most of them will continue to be used for many decades to come. The deployment of renewable organic materials such as wood, hemp and bamboo is expanding, and carbon-absorbing plants and trees are being more widely incorporated into architectural design. It is a fact that architecture has already entered a new phase that is not a trend but a necessity.

A “vertical forest” in China

So what are the most impressive “green” buildings currently being implemented on the planet? One of the most important projects is the famous Nanjing Vertical Forest, which is located in the city of Nanjing, the capital of the Yangtze province of China.

Behind its construction is the usual suspect, the famous Italian architecture office Stefano Boeri Architetti of the “vertical forests”, which creates skyscrapers with the aim of combating air pollution. Most of you may have heard of the first “vertical forest” he created in 2014 in Milan, which consists of two towers of 80 and 112 meters respectively, which are home to around 800 trees, 15,000 perennial and/or ground cover plants and 5,000 shrubs , thereby providing a quantity of vegetation corresponding to 30,000 sq.m. forest and undergrowth, concentrated in just 3,000 sq.m. urban surface.

Unlike “mineral” facades made of glass or stone, this plant shield that is created does not reflect or magnify the sun’s rays but filters them, thus creating a welcoming internal microclimate without harmful effects on the environment. At the same time, this “green curtain” regulates humidity, produces oxygen and absorbs CO2 and micro-particles, a combination of features that has earned this original building a number of important awards.

In the city of Nanjing we therefore find the new “vertical forest”. The two towers that make it up are characterized by alternating balconies and planters modeled after Milan’s Vertical Forest, with their facades hosting 600 large trees, 200 medium-sized trees and over 2,500 shrubs and plants, covering an area of 4,500 m2. m. The project is designed as a “real vertical forest” that, through the planting of 27 endemic species, contributes to the regeneration of local biodiversity and reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 18 tons, producing up to 16.5 tons of oxygen each year.

The first tower, 200 meters high, is intended to house offices from the eighth to the 35th floor, combined with a museum, a school of green architecture and a private club on the top floor. The second tower, with a height of 108 meters, is being transformed into a hotel managed by the Hyatt chain, with 305 rooms of various sizes (from 35 sq.m. to 150 sq.m.) but also a swimming pool on the top floor.

In a part of the world that is unfortunately distinguished by its high air pollution, the concept of the urban forest appears as the ideal solution to the desire to create a series of sustainable and future-oriented societies.

Protection with an “environmental veil”

And from China to Singapore and the Keppel South Central project, which has been undertaken by the American architectural firm NBBJ. The project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2024, will transform the existing Keppel Towers into a 33-storey, energy-efficient building with a focus on sustainability, which aims to redefine work by providing ways to connect with the outdoors.

While Singapore relies heavily on air-conditioning its buildings, Keppel South Central essentially adds an “external environmental veil” to the existing structure, shielding the building from direct sunlight while harnessing daylight inside. of the building, collecting rainwater for additional uses. The said “environmental veil”, which descends and turns outwards, eventually turns into a canopy that extends to the base of the building creating a plaza where people can enjoy shade and cover from Singapore’s hot and humid climate.

The efficient design also includes installing photovoltaics on the roof, which will power lighting and fans in the building’s external public areas, with Keppel South Central ultimately aiming to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The building will include traditional office floors as well as flexible workspaces, health and wellness facilities, an outdoor swimming pool, retail spaces, coffee shops, as well as a rooftop restaurant and bar.

Essentially through the “environmental veil” multiple levels of indoor and outdoor spaces are unified, including two floors of flexible workspaces, event and conference spaces, family and pet-friendly facilities, two nature-inspired “sky-terraces” – all of which designed to promote a balanced lifestyle in a welcoming environment where new ways of working converge with an emphasis on health and wellness. Indeed, the building was recently awarded the Green Mark Platinum (Super Low Energy), Singapore’s highest sustainability certification.

The “electric neighborhood” of the future

Finally, an innovative ecological residential complex is coming to form the famous Electric Vehicle Enclave (EVE) Park being created in the city of London, in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. It is no coincidence that the project is advertised as a “fully electrified community powered by the sun”.

The architectural office Gensler has done everything wisely by creating EVE Park, which brings together green technologies that optimize energy efficiency from the towering parking towers that include charging points for the electric vehicles of the complex’s tenants to the small LED lighting in each unit.

EVE Park residences are designed in circular complexes with stepped roofs that differentiate each architectural section and allow the roof-mounted solar panels to work optimally for energy collection. The circular clusters further promote socialization and coexistence through a shared central courtyard and at the same time offer small private outdoor spaces embedded in a park-like environment, creating a residential experience focused on connecting with the outdoors.

It could be said to be a zero-energy housing development designed to incorporate “green” technologies. Essentially made up of four distinct facilities that can accommodate 84 households, EVE Park offers one, two or three bedroom apartments.

These units are equipped with energy efficient appliances, ventilation units (ERV) for filtered air, etc. EVE Park rethinks the paradigm of suburban living by removing classic corridors and individual car garages to allow for more pedestrian-friendly outdoor spaces such as open parks, gardens and pathways. Each building has a rotating smart parking tower. EVE Park is groundbreaking in its conception and proves that the integration of the elements of nature and technology can make the community of the future, or even better, the present, a reality.

About the author

The Liberal Globe is an independent online magazine that provides carefully selected varieties of stories. Our authoritative insight opinions, analyses, researches are reflected in the sections which are both thematic and geographical. We do not attach ourselves to any political party. Our political agenda is liberal in the classical sense. We continue to advocate bold policies in favour of individual freedoms, even if that means we must oppose the will and the majority view, even if these positions that we express may be unpleasant and unbearable for the majority.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *