When considering utilization of wind or solar energy, the image that most often comes to peoples mind is that of conventional solar panels and wind turbines. Consequently raising the question of assessing the required space for the installation and operation of these solutions.
However, time has moved on and along with it new ways and form-factors have been developed for the implementation of these sustainable energy sources within urban areas. Taking both of these technologies into a new direction, by rethinking the way we build and live. Combining the concept of architecture and sustainable energy, has led to the design of amazing new buildings that generate a significant sur-plus amount of electricity while providing increased living comfort.
On a global scale, several projects have been developed within this philosophy. A prime example of which, is the joint development project between Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta and Norway’s research centre on zero emission buildings. Designing and building a house which produces three times the amount the energy it consumes. It even incudes its own sauna and swimming pool. The designer also states that the addition of an electric car is also ideal by charging the car with the sur-plus produced energy.
With the current prognosis that by 2050 66% of world population will be living in urban areas, and the fact that 75% of the current carbon footprint is related to city’s1, concepts like these are no longer to be considered a niche, but actual feasible solutions that we should embrace in order to create a healthier and more sustainable living environment for the future. By integrating sustainable energy production with the concept of housing, cities in contrast have the ability to become inter-connected energy producing hubs.
Related projects on a more grand scale have also been undertaken. Showcasing the extent to which these sustainable solutions are applicable. The Bahrain World-Trade Centre, which was build in 2008 for example, consists of two seperate towers built in aerodynamic accordance with the regional Persian gulf winds. The design which was inspired by ancient Arabian wind towers, helps to funnel strong winds allong three wind turbines. Annually providing the equivalent amount of energy to sustain 300 households.
By looking at regional conditions and circumstances, specific structural designs can be employed, while implementing matching sustainable solutions to achieve the most energy efficient outcome. Current, alongside new sustainable energy generating technologies will enable the construction of complete city’s which are able to provide in our ever-increasing global energy demand. Thereby not only solving spatial issues regarding the implementation of conventional sustainable energy solutions, but also freeing up an substantial ammount of public space, which in turn can be used for recreational purposes alongside the production of food. Thus also contributing to the improvement of urban living conditions.
By taking on a different view on how a city can function, we can create an environment that works in accordance with our modern day needs. Furthermore, by revaluating the combined concepts of form and function, we have to ability of shaping an enviroment that facilitates in overcoming planetery boundaries and meet in our future energy demands.
More pages on the subject:
1. United Nations – World Urbanisation Prospects https://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/publications/files/wup2014-highlights.Pdf