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Energy: The Latest Architecture and News

Dark matters: A Call for Less Light

Train station, Lisbon / Portugal . Image © Nina Papiorek Photography
Train station, Lisbon / Portugal . Image © Nina Papiorek Photography

With buildings glazed on all sides and very brightly as well as monotonously lit rooms, it's no surprise that we long for indoor and outdoor retreats that are less bright. Places with shade from glaring sun, dimmed rooms and exciting contrasts act on the eyes like a welcome oasis. High energy consumption and globally increasing light pollution show how acute the problem of too much light is and the alarming rate of contribution toward climate change. For a better future, it is imperative to explore ways in which we can design and focus on using darkness.

Former residence Tamesaburo Imoto, Nagoya / Japan.. Image © Henk KoscheLouvre, Paris / France. Image © Nina Papiorek PhotographyPalomba House, Lampa / Chile. Architecture: abarca+palma. Image © Pablo Casals AguirreRhön Dark Sky Reserve, Germany. Photography: Florian Trykowski. Image © Rhön GmbH+ 9

Steps Taken by EU in 2021 Towards A Sustainable Built Environment

Early last week, the European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe announced the 40 shortlisted projects of the EU Mies Award, a prize that commends excellence in architecture, highlighting its contribution to sustainable development. In this context, and two years after the European Parliament voted to support the Green Deal, we review the steps taken by the EU in 2021 towards achieving its sustainability goals and shaping a resilient built environment.

© Jannes Lindersmaterieunite (Terni, Italia). Image Courtesy of The New European BauhausXifré’s Rooftop: “Floating” Wild Garden (Barcelona, Spain). Image Courtesy of The New European BauhausMelopee Multipurpose School Building by Xaveer De Geyter Architects. Image © Maxime Delvaux+ 5

Reaching for Zero Energy in High Density Housing

© Bruce Damonte
© Bruce Damonte

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Buildings contribute nearly 40% of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, so the push is on to “get to zero” on many fronts. What happens when ambitious goals like zero energy meet a conventional building industry that’s structured on repetition and cost, in a market that struggles to keep up with massive demand? This is often—too often—our challenge.

Edward Mazria With Some Good News About Combating Climate Change

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

The news about real action on climate change tends to track toward the gloomy. It is easy to despair, given the severity of the problem and the time left to properly address it. But there is progress being made in the built environment—just not nearly fast enough to offset emissions elsewhere. In recent years the sector has added billions of square feet of new buildings, but seen energy consumption for the entire sector actually decline. A good chunk of the credit for that accomplishment can go to architect Edward Mazria and his dogged advocacy organization, Architecture2030. Mazria and his team, along with collaborators all over the world, keep doing the unglamorous work of revising building codes, working with mayors, governors, elected officials in Washington (and officials in China), forging new alliances, all while deftly working around the climate obstructionists currently occupying the White House. Recently I talked to Mazria, who spoke from his home in New Mexico, about his take on where we stand. Some of the news, alas, is pretty good.

How Material Simulation During Design Ensures Accurate Construction Performance

With the amount of information and technology we currently have, whether from academic research or from the manufacturers of construction products themselves, there is very little room for empiricism and experimentation when we design on the most diverse scales. Even worse is when design specification misconceptions can pose huge costs and headaches. However, long before construction and occupancy of the building, it is possible to clearly understand how the construction will function thermally, its photovoltaic power generation capacity, and even how much power will be required to cool and/or heat it. There are software, tools and applications that allow you to quantify all these design decisions to avoid errors, extra costs, unnecessary waste generation, and ensure the efficiency of all materials applied.

Snøhetta Completes Powerhouse Brattørkaia

Located in Trondheim, Norway, Powerhouse Brattørkaia, the world’s northernmost energy-positive building, designed by Snøhetta challenges the traditional notions of construction and puts in place new standards for buildings that produce more energy than they consume.

© IVAR KVAAL© Synlig.no© IVAR KVAAL© Synlig.no+ 23

2°C: A COTE|LA SYMPOSIUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE

The 2°C Symposium is an opportunity to learn essential technologies, strategies and tools that address climate change at a critical time for our collective future.

SPARK Architects' 3D Printed "Big Arse Toilet" Transforms Waste into Energy in India

In support of World Toilet Day on November 19, SPARK Architects launched their prototype for a 3D printed toilet module titled, "Big Arse Toilet" alongside a slogan stating that "Sparks gives a sh*t." Though the pun-filled humor is definitely attention-grabbing, the project tackles serious issues of hygiene and sanitation as part of the UN initiative to eliminate open defecation by 2025. With the perpetuating cycle of malnutrition, disease, and poverty, poor sanitation is the leading cause in nearly a third of the deaths in low- and middle-income regions in several countries such as India.

Easily transportable, the toilet module converts human waste into biogas into electricity using a micro combined heat and power (CHP) unit. Essentially producing "free" energy, SPARK's proposal combats the issue of open defecation and uses the abundant natural waste in remote communities in Indian villages where there is low accessibility to electricity.

Courtesy of SPARK ArchitectsCourtesy of SPARK ArchitectsCourtesy of SPARK ArchitectsCourtesy of SPARK Architects+ 10

Pasadena Heritage Craftsman Weekend

In its 27th year, Pasadena Heritage will present the Annual Craftsman Weekend on November 9-11, 2018. The Weekend will feature house tours of notable Craftsman properties, along with bus and walking tours of the surrounding neighborhoods. Other events scheduled include a Show and Sale with exhibitors of antique and contemporary furniture and decorative arts, a silent auction, workshops and presentations. In addition, Pasadena Heritage will be offering exclusive receptions at historic locations throughout the weekend.

Helsinki Energy Company to Go Entirely Energy Neutral

In the quest for carbon neutrality, the City of Helsinki in Finland announced its action plans to minimize greenhouse gas emissions substantially by 2035. The city’s fully owned energy company, Helen Ltd, a producer of district heating, power, and district cooling, aims to augment this policy by converting its largely coal and natural gas energy production processes to climate-neutral energy production, thereby eliminating carbon dioxide emissions fully by 2050.

This New Documentary Series Seeks to Bring Knowledge to Architecture Students

Architecture, Form, and Energy is a documentary series featuring 6 interviews with architects and intellectuals from the United Kingdom, United States, Malaysia, and Mexico. The series seeks to disseminate information that inspires contemporary architectural evolution, from the impact of climate on a place, finding inspiration in nature, the relationship between form and energy, selecting the right materials, and appropriate technological application.

Form Follows Energy

Architecture is energy. Lines drawn on paper to represent architectural intentions also imply decades and sometimes centuries of associated energy and material flows. “Form Follows Energy” is about the relationship between energy and the form of our built environment. It examines the optimisation of energy flows in building and urban design and the implications for form and configuration. It speaks to both architectural and engineering audiences and offers for the first time a truly interdisciplinary overview on the subject, explaining the complex relationships between energy and architecture in an easy to follow manner and using simple diagrams to show how

The Architecture of Chernobyl: Past, Present, and Future

Abandoned amusement park, Pripyat. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/oinkylicious/2329332355/in/photolist-4xQrmF-Zy21ao-Kk1D9g-Gb2HP2-Gbd54x-JowQgL-Gbd2dH-kmncdm-HhH4ar-vjHaG4-UEr5H6-a18skw-4Jfgyq-a15xDt-b8aKqR-79Cs8L-7f8k5o-6mTumV-AchudK-nMskBH-21Paa6J-YtFY7A-Zym38a-GqNxX-Zu4Rj7-Zvy49y-o4Cvtz-GvJskr-Zvy4ZV-a18r3j-nMrmxp-22mw4E4-a18sfj-9pfhyd-a18srJ-6mTu12-8AFucS-6mTu6v-6mXBWu-a18q1b-6mXBNJ-a18rMf-a15AuP-a15Aor-aR4JPT-CJcGwg-d7Z5uq-GqPr6-GqKb1-a15B3P'>Flickr user oinkylicious</a> licensed under <a href=' https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a>
Abandoned amusement park, Pripyat. Image © Flickr user oinkylicious licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

April 26th saw the 32nd anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, with the explosion of the Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine causing the direct deaths of 31 people, the spreading of radioactive clouds across Europe, and the effective decommissioning of 19 miles of land in all directions from the plant. Thirty-two years later, a dual reading of the landscape is formed: one of engineering extremes, and one of eeriness and desolation.

As the anniversary of the disaster and its fallout passes, we have explored the past, present, and future of the architecture of Chernobyl, charting the journey of a landscape which has burned and smoldered, but may yet rise from the ashes.

Reator 4, Chernobyl has been encased in the world's largest movable metal structure. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/entoropi/35375407185/in/photolist-VU1d6x-ikWQJ1-TsSEwh-9qYCRm-9r6pCQ-5m9uAf-hQxGTt-9qW5dX-9qZ86h-ikXxJp-VGwNBV-9r3mCk-9qW8b4-JnBeTu-JEs1bN-JPwDqi-5m9uKY-VTZpwk-9qW1gt-pquPBw-o5xhEA-o5CtPv-ikXzoX-9qYYe5-9qW5Cv-ViPtB3-a1f2LP-24v4vJn-ikXG5T-ikXae5-ikXbbA-HS2sCx-ikX47f-JFgyt9-ikWQvz-JFuDgD-4JaWEF-9qYUAA-4JaXwp-ikX25w-ikX5uL-9r3dEz-21K4gzj-VLhgQ8-9qZaH1-9qVN4v-9r3vVX-9qYCb9-qVuDsv-9qW9kr'>Flickr user entoropi</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a>The unfinished 5th reactor at Chernobyl. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/spoilt_exile/35540029246/in/photolist-W9xWuW-8EJWzQ-8EFKjR-nYASP9-b5mfSF-KaKzfq-JoyU1p-LeqYKQ-db7Rjb-g9sy6Z-eFjTwt-8EJRUJ-9HxbYc-9ChyMP-eFqD41-9r6syY-b5jZX8-8E3Gq8-UBvtEu-eFjVJH-2cMJbu-S1h3Ni-G8UJNf-HbTHda-oDXEJ-SSthoT-JFpB8R-oDXyo-76kFmX-sfX8km-atjDdx-8EJBQm-GbcxvD-GbcuAR-FL67kj-FfKC19-G8UGMb-Gbchbv-25mkvaF-FBeQuK-HgSNsj-8EJX9S-5m9vfu-22Epjzj-fai36Q-8EJP1W-4jMERm-JFuDgD-YYzhkv-eFqCuS'>Flickr user spoilt_exile</a> licensed under <ahref='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>Abandoned swimming pool, Pripyat. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/22746515@N02/26563907296/in/photolist-GtmYaE-eLaenJ-eeUnTA-SF9h32-Bo4Gq1-7f8nJw-uQ48C-6qxrvs-9BV2oD-HFWifd-6qxqAm-eLaehW-4JEQH3-RX8AcC-SNS9DU-RPNywP-TC6jR6-7FU6vg-D3PFi5-UYXshy-eLaeey-SSsDqz-V3p7Lt-TNWtAx-TNRUWT-TKSjx9-V3se2D-TKVEVC-TKWHey-6w9yh1-TNqymV-TNVDBr-RX6McY-V3r94z-TNpNft-RzXz6U-6jNwgu-TNsYHr-UN3K7h-UQEByr-V3rvgz-UYsKFu-UQKsgt-TKrHko-UMYEZY-9dGEHv-XRsh7D-7f8k5o-XArcfz-UsfA6W'>Flickr user Bert Kaufmann</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/'>CC BY-NC 2.0</a>Abandoned amusement park, Pripyat. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedakotakid/6216419723/in/photolist-atjM1p-9qZbyw-fai36Q-VU1fxr-fahXd9-o1wcX3-Dy5et5-VU1d6x-ikWQJ1-TsSEwh-9qYCRm-9r6pCQ-5m9uAf-hQxGTt-9qW5dX-9qZ86h-ikXxJp-VGwNBV-9r3mCk-9qW8b4-JnBeTu-JEs1bN-JPwDqi-5m9uKY-VTZpwk-9qW1gt-pquPBw-o5xhEA-o5CtPv-ikXzoX-9qYYe5-9qW5Cv-ViPtB3-a1f2LP-24v4vJn-ikXG5T-ikXae5-ikXbbA-HS2sCx-ikX47f-JFgyt9-ikWQvz-JFuDgD-4JaWEF-9qYUAA-4JaXwp-ikX25w-ikX5uL-9r3dEz-21K4gzj'>Flickr user thedakotakid</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>+ 18

Solar Squared: A Glass Block That Generates Electricity

Renewable energy experts from the University of Exeter in England have developed a glass block with built-in solar cells. The idea is that with the spread of technology, it is possible to build a house or a whole building's facade using blocks that generate energy.

The product has been named Solar Squared, tests done at the university have shown that they guarantee thermal insulation and allow natural light to enter the building.

Student Design Competition: Innovation 2030

Architects play a crucial role in addressing both the causes and effects of climate change through the design of the built environment. Innovative design thinking is key to producing architecture that meets human needs for both function and delight, adapts to climate change projections, continues to support the health and well being of inhabitants despite natural and human-caused disasters, and minimizes contributions to further climate change through greenhouse gas emissions.

New Book Calls for an End to Our Fetish for Conditioned Skyscrapers

Professor Alan Short of the University of Cambridge has published a book advocating for the revival of 19th-century architectural ideas to address the crippling energy use of modern skyscrapers. The Recovery of Natural Environments in Architecture proposes an end to the architectural fetish for glass, steel, and air conditioning, instead drawing inspiration from forgotten techniques in naturally ventilated buildings of the 1800s. The book is a culmination of 30 years’ research and design by Prof. Short and his colleagues at the University of Cambridge.

Cambridge research seeks to end the architectural fetish of glass and steel skyscrapers © Flickr user tomhilton. Licensed under CC BY 2.0Professor Short argues that skyscraper design must depart from its current reliance on glass and steel, and begin to harness natural ventilation. Boeri Studio's Bosco Verticale. Image Courtesy of Paolo RosselliProfessor Alan Short calls for an overhaul of artificial ventilation in skyscrapers. Image Courtesy of University of CambridgeEnergy demands from a recent skyscraper boom in China has led to energy controls on millions of inhabitants © Flickr user obscurepixels. Licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0+ 5

Snøhetta Designs World’s Northernmost Energy Positive Building in Norway

A country known for economic dependency on its rich oil deposits, Norway is now looking toward the future of energy production: net-positive architecture. Taking the lead in this initiative, developer Emil Eriksrød has commissioned American-Norwegian firm Snøhetta to design Norway’s first energy positive building, Powerhouse Telemark, a 6,500 square meter (70,000 square foot) office building located in the tiny Norwegian town of Porsgrunn, home to just 35,000 people. When completed, it will be the world’s northernmost plus-energy building.

Snøhetta Designs World’s Northernmost Energy Positive Building in Norway© Loft Visual Group/Snøhetta© Loft Visual Group/Snøhetta© Loft Visual Group/Snøhetta+ 11