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Renewable Energy: The Latest Architecture and News

Geothermal Energy: Using the Earth to Heat Buildings and Generate Electricity

Unlike the air, the temperature in the subsoil varies very little during the year or according to geographical position. A few meters below the surface, the ground temperature is between about 10 to 21°C (50 to 70°F) depending on the region. Dig deeper, and the temperature increases between 20 to 40 degrees centigrade per km, reaching the Earth's core, which approaches 5000 °C. In fact, thinking about how we inhabit a sphere that is orbiting through space with a glowing center can be distressing for some. However, it may be helpful to learn that using Earth's forming energy to generate electricity is a sustainable and efficient way that is already common in some countries. At the same time, we can also take advantage of the mild temperature found a few meters under the ground to acclimatize buildings, whether in hot or cold climates.

How to Overcome the Challenges of Designing with Solar Technology

Solar technology has enormous potential, but it has been underutilized. To get an idea of just how underutilized it is, consider that every 24 hours the amount of sunlight that hits the Earth could provide energy for the entire planet for 24 years. Of course, it is necessary to collect it properly, through photovoltaic systems. With the climate crisis increasingly present in our daily lives, causing growing concerns about obtaining energy from renewable sources and reducing carbon emissions, using the sun's possibilities to generate clean energy seems to be a path of no return. But there are still some difficulties that reduce its use, such as obtaining economical solar products, aesthetics, availability of these products, regulations, and even installation issues.

Building-integrated photovoltaics, or BIPVs, offer the design and construction industry solutions to typical challenges that hinder adoption of solar energy. Below, we list the main challenges of incorporating solar energy into projects and how they can be overcome.

Solar Panels in Residential Projects: Efficiency Without Compromising the Aesthetics

Including sustainable strategies in architectural projects is not just a trend, it is a necessity. Each day we become more aware of the importance of responsibly managing natural resources and understanding the environmental factors involved in designing a project.

Solar energy is one of the most commonly employed strategies in residential architecture, both active and passive. Many countries around the world offer incentives to encourage the use of solar systems, and the benefits of installing these systems can be seen in a short period of time, with a reduction of up to 95% in the monthly energy expenses, which makes this strategy one of the most attractive of all sustainable solutions. Furthermore, the average lifespan of a solar panel is 25 years, operating entirely on its own and requiring only basic cleaning once a year.

Solar Panels in Residential Projects: Efficiency Without Compromising the AestheticsSolar Panels in Residential Projects: Efficiency Without Compromising the AestheticsSolar Panels in Residential Projects: Efficiency Without Compromising the AestheticsSolar Panels in Residential Projects: Efficiency Without Compromising the Aesthetics+ 15

Net-Zero Buildings Are Critical to Staving off Further Climate Change

A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that global warming of 1.5°C (2.7 °F) is essentially inevitable in coming decades. The question now is whether the world can prevent further, more destructive warming of 2°C (3.6°F), or, even worse, 3°C (5.4°F), which is what current policies put us on a trajectory to experience. Our economies can only put another 420 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere if we want a good chance of keeping a temperature increase to 1.5°C instead of 2°C. At our current pace, the world’s carbon budget will be used up before 2030. We need to phase out fossil-fuel use, build thousands of new clean power plants -- and swiftly move to power our homes, offices, schools, and transportation systems with clean energy.

Net-Zero Buildings Are Critical to Staving off Further Climate Change   Net-Zero Buildings Are Critical to Staving off Further Climate Change   Net-Zero Buildings Are Critical to Staving off Further Climate Change   Net-Zero Buildings Are Critical to Staving off Further Climate Change   + 12

A Guide to Off-Grid Architectures

Anyone who lives in a big city may have dreamed of moving elsewhere and living isolated, in a house among the trees or on a deserted beach. During the pandemic and the endless months of quarantine, many more may have had this same idea. As romantic and seductive as this may seem, however, living deep in nature comes with some important practical challenges. Rarely would anyone give up the little comforts they are used to, like turning on a faucet or charging their cell phone. If the location is, in fact, remote, it may not have electricity, drinking water, gas, sewage, or solid waste collection. But there remain several possibilities for a life with comfort and without neighbors. What are the main solutions to enable this and how can an architectural project provide an off-the-grid life?

Good Energy: Renewable Power and the Design of Everyday Life

Smart design can make solar, wind, and geothermal energy beautiful, affordable, and accessible to all. Thirty-five projects from around the world that demonstrate how clean, healthy energy is within reach in every sector and field. Projects include homes for all income levels and climates, schools, parks, offices, and even power plants. Harmonizing nature, technology, and space, each project in Good Energy shows how design can improve planetary well-being while producing cost savings and creating green jobs.

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In today's climate, energy and how we use it is a primary concern in the design of built spaces. Buildings currently contribute nearly 40% to global carbon emissions and with a projected growth of 230 billion square meters in construction before the end of 2060, the focus on construction decarbonization efforts should be paramount.

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 Does Photovoltaic Energy Work?

Once restricted to space stations and satellites, photovoltaics are now gaining popularity and becoming an increasingly viable option. Every day, the sun releases an enormous amount of energy, far more than the entire population consumes. Being that the sun is a sustainable, renewable, and inexhaustible source for generating electricity, not using it seems almost counter-intuitive, especially considering the social and environmental impacts of other forms of energy generation. But the technology to create electricity from the sun is by no means simple and still has some limitations, the most significant being price. The following article attempts to explain some basic concepts about this process, and to highlight important considerations for designing a solar energy system. 

Superspace Designs Energy-Harvesting Balloons for Abu Dhabi

Superspace has designed a system of energy-harvesting balloons for Abu Dhabi. The project, titled “solarCLOUD” formed part of the LandArt generator competition and is intended as the city portal of Masdar City. The system consists of a group of solar balloons woven with solar fabric, creating a shaded park during the day while tracking and harvesting solar energy. At night, the system settles down to become a kinetic light art show.

Rwanda’s Bugesera International Airport to Set Records for Sustainability

Rwanda’s largest publicly funded project, Bugesera International Airport is on track to be the first certified green building in the region. A few pieces of this net zero emission complex include: a 30,000 square metre passenger terminal, 22 check-in counters, ten gates, and six passenger boarding bridges. Funded by Public Private Partnership, the project is cost estimated at $414 million USD. The international hub was only one of several initiatives discussed by the Africa Green Growth Forum (AGGF) in Kigali at the end of last year.

LAGI 2019: Design the Future of Renewable Energy

The LAGI 2019 competition offers designers and creatives the opportunity to re-imagine energy infrastructure and demonstrate the beauty of a 100% renewable world.

The Trends that Will Influence Architecture in 2019

It is, once again, the time of year where we look towards the future to define the goals and approaches that we will take for our careers throughout the upcoming year. To help the millions of architects who visit ArchDaily every day from all over the world, we compiled a list of the most popular ideas of 2018, which will continue to be developed and consolidated throughout 2019.

Over 130 million users discovered new references, materials, and tools in 2018 alone, infusing their practice of architecture with the means to improve the quality of life for our cities and built spaces. As users demonstrated certain affinities and/or demonstrated greater interest in particular topics, these emerged as trends. 

Land Art Generator Initiative 2019 - Masdar City

LAGI 2019—Return to the Source—invites you to create an iconic work of art for a landmark site within Masdar City, Abu Dhabi. Your artwork will use renewable energy technology as a medium of creative expression and will provide on-site energy production consistent with the master plan of the city.

Learn more at https://landartgenerator.org/competition2019.html

LAGI 2019 presents a new kind of challenge from the Land Art Generator initiative. This year’s special edition is sponsored by Masdar and is in partnership with the 24th World Energy Congress, the largest and most influential global energy event—a forum for innovation and dialogue on energy issues for

Land Art Generator Initiative 2019 - Masdar City

LAGI 2019—Return to the Source—invites you to create an iconic work of art for a landmark site within Masdar City, Abu Dhabi. Your artwork will use renewable energy technology as a medium of creative expression and will provide on-site energy production consistent with the master plan of the city.

Olson Kundig's Hydro-Solar Generator Proposal Could Power 200 Melbourne Homes

Seattle-based Olson Kundig has released details of their second-place winner from the 2018 Land Art Generator competition, set in Melbourne, Australia. The “Night & Day” scheme combines solar energy with a hydro battery, generating enough power for 200 Australian homes, 24 hours per day.

The St Kilda-situated infrastructure proposal doubles as an artwork and pedestrian bridge, with a flagship 5,400-square-meter solar sail suspended above the St Kilda Triangle in Port Phillip city. After sunset, further electricity is generated through two turbines capturing the kinetic movement of water released through them.