Interview With RIBA International Prize-Winning Architect

UTEC (Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología) in Lima, Peru, recently won the first ever RIBA International Prize for 2016. The Royal Institute of British Architects judged the project as “setting a new global standard for architectural achievement.” In an interview with Figueras Seating, Alejandro Shell Montero of Shell Arquitectos spoke about the design and how it reflected both the surrounding natural environment and the people who would occupy it. Here are some excerpts from that interview: The shape of the building reflects…

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GBCI to Add Zero Waste Facility Certification

The Green Business Certification Institute (GBCI), which is the certifying body for the LEED system, added Zero Waste Facility Certification to its growing program list. It is partnering with the US Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC) in providing this certification. GBCI will assume responsibility for the ongoing management of the Zero Waste Facility Certification and Zero Waste Business Associate programs created by USZWBC, and the zero waste principles will be aligned with GBCI’s other certification offerings. “GBCI is taking another important step…

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Canada To Reduce HFC Emissions By 85% By 2036

HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) emissions contribute to climate change, and Canada and many other nations are taking a stand to reduce their emissions by 85% in the next 20 years. HFCs are commonly found in refrigerators, air conditioners, foam products, and other items world-wide. Current global HFC emissions are the equivalent of approximately 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually. That is the same as emissions from nearly 300 coal-fired power plants or over 200 million passenger vehicles driven for one year, and…

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Calatrava’s Sundial Bridge Was Spawned by Salmon

Spawned by the need to protect a seemingly insignificant patch of gravel, not many folks know that Redding’s iconic Sundial Bridge rose as a result of an eco-challenge surmountable only by architect Santiago Calatrava’s sensitive and innovative expertise. Abandoned since the long-gone days of mining in Redding, California, submerged quarry beds along the north shore of the Sacramento River have historically served as spawning grounds for Chinook salmon. Four endangered runs form a 300-mile upriver stretch ultimately guiding an annual…

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Masdar City Launches Phase 2 Master Plan

The fascinating cleantech evolution of Masdar City continues! Pushing the limits of urban design and community building, Masdar City is pressing forward in its pioneering quest for the highest quality of life with the lowest carbon footprint. Setting a new international precedent for sustainable urban planning, Boston-based CBT is presenting its award-winning Detailed Master Plan for Phase 2 of the “greenest city on Earth.” Recognizing its “leadership in design excellence, urban design and planning,” CBT’s detailed master plan (DMP) for…

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Masdar City: A Test Case for Sustainable Urban Living

Sweltering in the hot desert sun, Masdar City sits under a global microscope at the nexus of rising clean technology and the development of sustainable urban life in the glaring light of climate change. Conceived on a zero-moisture stretch of barren desert sand in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the zero-carbon, zero-waste settlement of Masdar City has diligently sustained itself through every struggle and step of progress. Masdar City: A Living, Striving Test Case for Earth’s Future As the warming effects of…

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Canada Tops Out World’s Tallest Wood-Frame Building

Celebrating the tallest wood-frame building of its kind anywhere in the world, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr recently attended the “topping out” ceremony of the Brock Commons Residence. The new University of British Columbia student housing tower rises 18 stories to reach a stunning 178.8 feet (53 meters) tall. Under construction at the University of British Columbia Point Grey campus, the CA$51.5 million mass timber structure is a hybrid system comprised of cross-laminated timber (CLT) floor slabs, glulam…

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Stylish Sustainability: Trondheim’s New Student Village

Meaning more than just focusing on the environment, sustainability also means creating a sense of place and belonging. Interpreting this philosophy brilliantly, MDH Arkitekter has nearly completed Moholt 50|50, an award-winning university student village in Trondheim, Norway. Envisioned as a community-focused commercial district featuring distinctive Scandinavian aesthetics, MDH Arkitekter’s minimalist approach and stylish use of natural materials is simply stunning. Trondheim’s Moholt 50|50 A miniature city in itself, the Moholt student village accommodates about 2200 students of the Norwegian University…

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Brush & Wattle — The ABCs of Green Building Materials

The age-old construction techniques employed in traditional brush and wattle structures are time-tested and worthy of great respect. “Touching the Earth lightly,” these techniques are both low-impact on the natural environment and highly sustainable, employing the most natural and abundant of green building materials. Brush, referring to tree branches, twigs, leaves, and bark, has been used extensively throughout history and throughout the world by indigenous people to construct living quarters and animal shelters. Perhaps the most familiar brush structures in…

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Meet Einstein, a New IoT Solution for Smart Commercial Buildings

Artificial intelligence company Verdigris has just announced the debut of “Einstein,” a next-generation Internet of Things (IoT) smart energy management solution. This latest IoT energy management platform from Verdigris is designed to be “the easiest most-scalable connected sensor for complex enterprise facilities.” Using innovative smart sensor and metering technology, Einstein’s continuous stream of energy data is driving smarter, more responsive commercial building operations. Einstein Automates Energy Efficiency Verdigris CEO Mark Chung states, “Einstein makes it unbelievably easy to know what’s…

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Bricks – The ABCs of Green Building Materials

In terms of sustainability and green building materials, brick is probably king. The process of making fired clay bricks has been around for over 5,000 years and just keeps getting greener. Today’s brick kilns use about 70 percent less energy to fire bricks than just 50 years ago. Brick is a term usually referring to red-colored, fired clay units composed of sand, lime, and soil containing clay or shale. Firing bricks in a kiln renders them one of the strongest…

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Cheap Off-Grid Cabin Built For Under $300

Alyssa Craft and Jesse Stafford completed a cheap off-grid cabin-add-on to the trailer they are living in while setting up their homestead in the Western US. The cabin was built to allow them to heat the air around the trailer and prevent the plumbing, and themselves, from freezing during the snowy winter months. The majority of the building materials for the cabin are reclaimed from a demolition project and found by scouring the internet, thus the low cost. Alyssa and…

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Urban SkyFarm Soaring With Sustainability

Revisiting an oldy-but-goody originally published on InspiredEconomist.com Inspired by the ecological system of giant trees, the Urban Skyfarm is a prototype vertical urban farm project. Designed to support local food production and distribution, it also improves environmental quality through water and air filtration and renewable energy production. Urban Skyfarm Places First in Concept Category First Place Winner in the 2013 Green Dot Awards Concept category, The Urban Skyfarm is a vertical farm design proposal for a site located in downtown…

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SolarWindow Window Coating – Versatile Solar Power Generation

SolarWindow™ window coating generates electricity from light, both from the sun, and artificial light, as well. It is extremely versatile, able to be printed onto glass, plastic, or even paper, making it easy to install this wonder material in many places. This coating sets itself apart from others we have featured, as it can be applied on a wider range of surfaces, and the power production can actually be tuned to the specific needs of the building. John A. Conklin,…

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Bamboo – The ABCs of Green Building Materials

Bamboo is a truly remarkable green building material. It’s twice as strong as concrete and slightly stronger than steel. It’s also a renewable resource that needs little energy to grow, prevents soil erosion, provides biomass, offers wildlife refuge, and produces a healthy food supply for both wildlife and humans. Offering significant remediation from the effects of climate change, bamboo produces more oxygen than other plants, and captures higher amounts of CO2. The first harvest can be taken in three to…

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Visit A Small Writer’s Shed & Haven In London

A visit to Surman Weston reveals a delightful small writer’s shed situated in the heart of London. Surman Weston has indicated their firm was “…commissioned by an author and illustrator to design & build a ‘writer’s shed’ in the borough of Hackney. Capitalizing on their multi-disciplinary backgrounds the firm acted as designers, project managers, and lead contractors.” Simply take a step inside to get the feel of this tiny space. The result inspires one to hide inside, lock the door, and…

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