Tesla Roadster

•July 7, 2007 • Leave a Comment

tesla roadster electric battery vehicle car automotive sustainable energy

If you have not yet heard of the battery powered Tesla Roadster, where have you been hiding your sustainable self? We are almost rendered speechless by the awesomeness factor of this amazing electric vehicle, which goes from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds, drives up to 250 miles per charge (which costs under $5) and comes with an aesthetic that not only competes with its luxury brethren – but leaves the stodgy non-electric models in the dust.

Founder Martin Eberhard enjoys driving and the environment, but was dismayed by the environmentalist view that you need to ride your bike everywhere or alternatively own an electric vehicle that, at best, might look like a souped up golf cart. Enter Elon Musk, the ultimate angel investor, and Eberhard’s idea quickly turned into a reality. The first production of 100 Roadsters sold out quickly with nary an advertisement. The $92,000 price tag includes your name engraved inside the vehicle among other benefits such as never having to pump gas. If the price tag is out of your budget, don’t fret. Tesla plans to introduce more affordable models with their technology in the coming years. With battery technology improving, gas prices rising and war lingering the next eco-documentary might be Who Resurrected the Electric Car?

+ Tesla Motors

tesla roadster electric battery vehicle car automotive sustainable energy

tesla roadster electric battery vehicle car automotive sustainable energy

Bahrain World Trade Center

•July 7, 2007 • Leave a Comment

BAHRAIN WORLD TRADE CENTER Wind Turbines, Manama, Wind Power, Eco Scraper, Atkins, Green sky scraper, Bahrain Eco Building, Bahrain WTC

Not wanting to be left behind by Saudi Arabia and Dubai, the country of Bahrain has been approving some interesting and eye-popping developments in the realm of green architecture. Especially interesting is the new Bahrain World Trade Center located in the city of Manama. The 50-story complex contains two identical towers that rise over 240 meters in height. The sail-shaped buildings offer a visually striking silhouette, appropriately referencing the maritime environment of this small Middle Eastern island, and boast one very unique feature — 3 giant wind turbines tying the two “sails” together.


BAHRAIN WORLD TRADE CENTER Wind Turbines, Manama, Wind Power, Eco Scraper, Atkins, Green sky scraper, Bahrain Eco Building, Bahrain WTC

The design firm of Atkins did not believe that the look of the project was enough, and felt that it was important to incorporate sustainability features into this design. They first attempted to bring in solar panels into the project, but found that the extreme heat conditions of Bahrain made it an unfeasible proposition. So they turned to a second option, and came up with an even more striking image, that of the three 29 meter wind turbines, each supported by a 30-meter bridge spanning between the two towers.

BAHRAIN WORLD TRADE CENTER Wind Turbines, Manama, Wind Power, Eco Scraper, Atkins, Green sky scraper, Bahrain Eco Building, Bahrain WTC

The floorplan was key in making this feature work. The wing-like towers help to funnel and accelerate the wind velocity between them. Furthermore, the difference in the vertical shape of the towers should help reduce the pressure differences between the bridges, which, when combined with an increased wind speed at the higher levels, should provide an equal velocity amongst the turbines. All this will provide for an even greater efficiency in the powering of the generators.

When I heard about this project, I honestly thought that this feature would eventually be dropped. We’ve all seen it happen, a cool looking tower ends up changing dramatically due to cost-cutting, changes in the marketplace conditions, or a change in scope or brief.

BAHRAIN WORLD TRADE CENTER Wind Turbines, Manama, Wind Power, Eco Scraper, Atkins, Green sky scraper, Bahrain Eco Building, Bahrain WTC, construction photos

But, luckily, it turns out that I was wrong. The Bahrain World Trade Center has just recently completed the installation of the three wind turbines, officially making it the first building in the world to incorporate this sort of technology at this scale. The turbines will be tested throughout the rest of 2007 and if all goes well, they ought to start normal operation next year.

+Bahrain World Trade Center
+Atkins

BAHRAIN WORLD TRADE CENTER Wind Turbines, Manama, Wind Power, Eco Scraper, Atkins, Green sky scraper, Bahrain Eco Building, Bahrain WTC

BAHRAIN WORLD TRADE CENTER Wind Turbines, Manama, Wind Power, Eco Scraper, Atkins, Green sky scraper, Bahrain Eco Building, Bahrain WTC

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The REN Building

•July 7, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Ren Building Night View, Bjarke Ingels Group, Shanghai Proposal

Architecture in China never ceases to amaze us—case in point—the REN Building. Copenhagen’s Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) proposed this eye-catching design over a year ago to coincide with Shanghai’s “Better City, Better Life” 2010 World Expo . The building takes its form from the Chinese character for person 人 (”ren”) and combines two buildings (one symbolic of mind and the other symbolic of body). We love the poetic inspiration that reflects both site and cultural sensitivity.


Ren Building, Bjarke Ingels Group, Shanghai Proposal

“The first building, emerging from the water, is devoted to the activities of the body, and houses the sports and water culture center. The second building emerging from land, is devoted to the spirit and enlightenment, and houses the conference center and meeting facilities. The two buildings meet in a 1000 room hotel, a building for living.”

It’ll be exciting to see if the plans for the project are approved. Check out more views and an animated fly-through of the project below.

+ REN BUILDING

Ren Building, Bjarke Ingels Group, Shanghai Proposal

Ren Building Details, Bjarke Ingels Group, Shanghai Proposal

Building, Bjarke Ingels Group, Shanghai Proposal

Ren Building, Bjarke Ingels Group, Shanghai Proposal

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THE LIGHTHOUSE: Dubai’s 1st Low Carbon Commercial Tower

•July 7, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Dubai tower, DIFC Lighthouse

Last week, the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) announced their design for a 66-story office tower nicknamed ‘The Lighthouse.’ Conceptualized by Atkins Middle East, The Lighthouse strives to make low carbon commercial towers a reality in Dubai by reducing the total energy consumption up to 65% and water consumption up to 40%. The height and shape of The Lighthouse play pivotal roles in its goals for low energy consumption, allowing for the instillation of three enormous 225 KV wind turbines (29 meters in diameters), and 4,000 photovoltaic panels on the south facing façade.

Lighthouse, DIFC, Wind Power, Solar Power, Atkins Middle East

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THE LIGHTHOUSE

•July 6, 2007 • Leave a Comment

 The UK’s first zero-emission home

zero-emission, zero, carbon free, no emissions, sustainable residence, sustainable house, Sheppard Robson, Kingspan Off-Site, Sustainable Homes Level 6, home, residence, offsite 2007

With the new housing regulations coming into effect in England, which will mandate that all homes in the country be emission free by 2016, the race was on for designers and builders to come up with the first prototype of what such a house will look like. Currently being exhibited in the Big Build Innovation Park area of the BRE’s OFFSITE2007 exhibition, The Lighthouse designed by Sheppard Robson, in conjunction with Arup and Kingspan Off-Site is the first house to meet these strict requirements.

The Lighthouse is a two bedroom, two and a half storey house, with a floor area of about 100m2. It does some things just a bit differently from the standard housing model such as locating all the sleeping areas at ground level. This allows the living areas to be located at the top, where they can make use of most of the natural light coming in through the windows and skylights. The curved roof sweeps down providing the living areas with a double height ceiling, making the occupant feel as though they are in a generous open-plan house, and concealing the rather tight and compact geometry of the house.

zero-emission, zero, carbon free, no emissions, sustainable residence, sustainable house, Sheppard Robson, Kingspan Off-Site, Sustainable Homes Level 6, home, residence, offsite 2007

The Code for Sustainable Homes is the new mandatory scheme for all new residences in England, and is divided into 6 different levels. Whereas a house trying to meet Level 1 requirements would need to have a 10% improvement over current regulations, a Level 6 residence has to meet a zero-carbon emission rating. Level 6 is expected to be mandatory by 2016. So how does the Lighthouse prototype reach this goal? For starters, the house has been designed with sustainability in mind. By having a clear target, the design team was able to make sure that the design was integrated with the technologies that were going to be provided, rather than having those technologies retrofitted to the building. The residence has been highly insulated with high performance structural insulated panels (SIPS). The 40 degree pitched roof houses the photovoltaic array for electricity generation. Water efficiency techniques, such as water-efficient taps, toilets, a biomass boiler and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR), are some of the technologies being used on the prototype.

But the goal of achieving a zero-emission house was not realized simply by using new technologies. Simple design concepts such as designing in a wind catcher/light funnel, which will provide ventilation and light to the house, and lower levels and the shading of windows by properly placed balconies and shutters, have all been used to reduce the heat gain and improve the performance of the building. And finally, with good old fashioned conservation in mind, the house has been fitted with smart metering and monitoring systems, which will enable the occupant to monitor the usage of resources in the house, and hopefully adjust their lifestyles as needed.

+ Offsite 2007
+ Sheppard Robson
+ Zero-emission House @ BBC

zero-emission, zero, carbon free, no emissions, sustainable residence, sustainable house, Sheppard Robson, Kingspan Off-Site, Sustainable Homes Level 6, home, residence, offsite 2007

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THE PHANTOM ECO-HOUSE

•July 6, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Eco-House, house, eco, sustainable

Amongst the articles featured yesterday on the New York Times Magazine was a proposal for an Eco-house, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (previously seen here at Inhabitat) in conjunction with Atelier Ten, which looked at what a possible house from the future would look like.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Eco-House, house, eco, sustainable

More of a thought process, than an actual proposal, the brief provided to them asked the following: What would you do to create a house that let you live as guilt-free as possible, in a luxury house that is sustainable. A brief which sounds like an oxymoron, after all, could you be sustainable and continue living like you do right now? Well, they came up with some really cool ideas as too how we may see ourselves living in the future.

The article describes an imaginary couple and their lifestyle through any particular day. They wake up, eat breakfast, turn on the lights, take long showers, charge up all their gadgets (it’s the future after all), exercise, use their pool, work in their home office, etc. It takes their supposed power consumption and compares it to the proposed power production that the house would be providing. It makes some assumptions as to what future technologies would provide and creates some of their own (I want a roto-fridge), as well as proposing some new uses for existing ones, such as the conjunction of a GPS system and a home-automated system to shutdown the house when empty and turn it on when occupied.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Eco-House, house, eco, sustainable

It isn’t just a simple thought process though. The ideas were brought to concept stage, looking at how everything would fit together to work in conjunction with each other. A rain collector takes the water and filters it, using it for the house, which then takes the effluent for the garden, toilets, washing and the pool. It is a very intriguing article which provides plenty to think about. Could a house like this be possible soon?

+ New York Times Magazine Article

+ Diller Scofidio + Renfro

+Atelier Ten

Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Eco-House, house, eco, sustainable

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EUROSCRAPER

•July 6, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Euroscraper, Jose Munoz Villers, Paris skyscraper, green skyscraper

Rem Koolhaas has been quoted saying that skyscrapers create “vertical organization and new territories.” And now, one young Mexican architect, José Muñoz Villers, has designed a building that embodies these sentiments. Muñoz Villers incorporates the latest technologies, materials, engineering, and a holistic view of urban space into his design. The building, named the Euroscraper, is such a forward-thinking design that it has garnered 3rd place in the eVolo Architecture Skyscraper competition.

Euroscraper, Jose Munoz Villers, Paris skyscraper, green skyscraper

Muñoz Villers says that “skyscrapers are the types of structures that can, in an exciting manner, consolidate and condense the great advances in technology and respond to the new social and spatial necessities that the city contains.” One of these needs is a heightened awareness of environmental sustainability. The building’s looping form reduces its resistance to wind, increases natural light and ventilation, and contributes to the green lung of the city by incorporating gardens into the scheme of the project.

Euroscraper, Jose Munoz Villers, Paris skyscraper, green skyscraper

The Euroscraper was conceived to be located in the Parisian office district of Porte Maillot and would complement the Arc du Triumph and La Défense. The concept and look of the building are inspired by Isamu Noguchi’s quest “to capture the void.” To do this, the Euroscraper is designed as a loop, generating a “growth upward of earth-generated forces.” The building would have public spaces and infrastructure at its base and offices, a sky lobby, residential space leading upwards to more public spaces and urban attractors at its crown. The intention of the structure is to “‘join seamlessly the center and intermediate zone” of Paris and “to be plugged into the tissue while redirecting all the kinetic conditions upwards uninterruptedly.”

+ Euroscraper

Euroscraper, Jose Munoz Villers, Paris skyscraper, green skyscraper

Euroscraper, Jose Munoz Villers, Paris skyscraper, green skyscraper

Euroscraper, Jose Munoz Villers, Paris skyscraper, green skyscraper

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