Episode 15 – 17 August Green Buildings Part 2
Great examples of green building worldwide
Now we know the theory of what a green building is, but what does that mean in practice? I did a bit of “Googling”, my best friend, and have a few examples of the best Green designs I want to share with you.
Bahrain world trade center with wind turbine
First up is the Bahrain world trade center. This 240 m tall building won the LEAF award for Best Use of Technology . It is a best striking example for green building I think. Without any doubt, anyone can tell this building is one of the best Eco friendly buildings in the world. 3 wind turbines are placed in the twin tower building making a bridge between two towers. Total energy capacity is 680 KW which is about 13 percent of twin towers overall consumption. And since the turbines are fixed facing the Persian gulf, the wind flow is almost guaranteed!
Solar-powered Kurilpa bridge
Then the Kurilpa pedestrian and bicycle bridge in Brisbane, Australia, is probably the best example of a “green” bridge. It is the largest solar powered bridge in the world. 85 solar panels provide 100% of the bridge’s energy needs – hundreds of LED lights covering a span of 470 meters, so that it’s functional 24 hours a day.
Cecilia Square office building in Paarl
And closer to home, the new Cecilia Square office building in Paarl received a 4 Star Green Star Office Design Rating. Cecilia Square managed to achieve a 55% reduction in energy and a 70% reduction in water consumption by adopting simple measures such as harvesting rain water runoff and using energy efficient lighting. Concrete usage was minimized through the use of “coffered” slabs between the floor levels. Coffered slabs contain empty pockets, rather than a solid slab of concrete. These not only minimize concrete use but also have excellent thermal capabilities – meaning that the building limits the amount of heating and air conditioning required to maintain an ambient indoor temperature.”
Cecilia Square’s Green Star SA certification brings the number of certifications awarded by the GBCSA to 31 and is a first for the Western Cape Boland town of Paarl – another milestone signaling the increasing “spread” of the green building movement in South Africa.
You are not alone, Hollywood Celebrities Build Green Homes
The Green movement has also affected Hollywood celebrities. It seems the Beverly Hills City Council is borrowing a page from the eco-friendly handbook by offering incentives for homeowners to build or remodel in an energy efficient manner.
Johnny Depp converted his Bahamas island home to run on solar hydrogen technology. And Depp’s eco enlightenment may have influenced his “Pirates of the Caribbean” costar Orlando Bloom, because last year Bloom built an enviro-friendly house in London. “It’s as green as I can make it,” Bloom said on green design website Inhabitat. “It’s got solar panels on the roof, energy efficient light bulbs… newer technology, basically everything that is environmentally friendly.”
I like the fact that if the people in the news are taking “green” seriously, it’s bound to rub off on the rest of us!
Tips to make your home an Eco Friendly, Sustainable, Green Paradise!
- There are many little things that you can do right off the bat to make your home as energy efficient as possible. Such as putting weather stripping on your doors and windows can have a significant impact on your energy bills. Apply plastic glazing to windows to increase heat retention. Installing sun shielding shades and blinds are another great way to control the light in your room without using electricity to do it and will also help maintain the temperature in your home so you can use your air and heat less.
- Better late than never, many of the electric suppliers out there are finally beginning to offer green power options. By doing some research on the internet, you can quickly find out if there are any reasonable options in your area and considering switching to one of them.
- Get rid of old incandescent light bulbs. Replace them with compact fluorescent’s and you will save a sizable amount of energy and money over time. Not to mention they will help remove greenhouse gases from the air.
- Turn off the lights. Turn off the television. Shut the refrigerator door. Many of us tend to get into the habit of turning the lights or television on the moment we step into a room. Not that we necessarily need the lights or plan on watching television, but just because it has become an engrained habit to do it. Throw on all the lights and turn on the TV so we have some noise. Try to go without the noise for awhile and you might be amazed at how calming it is for your mind. You may think that you will go crazy without the noise but after a bit you will sense your mind and thoughts slowing down without all the marketing and advertising whoopla being pushed into your thoughts.
- Saving water is becoming even more crucial these days. Saving water usually results in saving energy also, so it is one of the best ways to go green in your apartment. It would be nice if you could install the latest in low-flush toilets but it may not be such a big deal to your landlord. Instead, fill a milk jug with stones and place it in your toilet tank to displace water and use less to fill the tank. There are other smaller things that you can do by yourself if you have the landlord’s permission like installing water-efficient faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads on your taps. Most importantly is watching your own behavior. Spend less time in the shower, turn the water off while you are actually brushing your teeth, don’t use hot water for your laundry. Cold water works just as well and only run your washing machine and dishwasher with a full load.
- Grow your own food. Ok, I know what you are thinking, how can I grow my own food in an apartment? With a couple of window boxes or better yet, a small porch or balcony area you will be amazed at how much food can be grown in various containers. If nothing else, you can at least grow your own herbs to use in your food and as natural first aid remedies.
- Look for reduced packaging. Lots of companies are realizing the need to protect the environment and are using less packaging materials on their products. The less packaging used means less garbage filling up our landfills.
- Try not to use plastic bags. Plastic bags are used so carelessly in society and they continue to be one of the worst things for the environment. People have hoards of these things collected in their garages and storage bins that will never get used and will eventually end up dumped somewhere. At the very least, reuse them as much as possible. They are great to use as garbage bags for small garbage cans or to take your lunch to work with you.
- If you still like to read the old fashioned newspaper instead of following the news on television, radio or internet, reuse them. When you are done with it, use it as extra padding in gifts or things you are mailing. And don’t forget newspapers provide a streak-free shine on all your windows and mirrors including your cars.
- Add some houseplants to your apartment. Just two plants per hundred square feet in your apartment spread out over the rooms will clean out toxins in the air better than any air freshener or disinfectant spray will.
Do you have a tip I can share with the listeners on how to “green” their living space? Drop me a line!
And remember take care of the earth, and she will take care of you.