FuturArc News Roundup
September-October 2015 News Roundup
Developments in Green building initiatives in cities
Australia: Adelaide Airport to install vast rooftop solar system
Adelaide Airport has announced the installation of a 1.17-megawatt solar PV system, which will be one of the largest rooftop solar systems in Australia.
The system, to be built across 8,000 square metres of the airport’s short-term car park roof, is expected to cut energy use and carbon emissions by 10 percent. It represents a 1,000-percent increase in solar energy capacity for the airport, and makes it the largest private-sector solar system in South Australia.
Construction on the new solar system is expected to start in December and to be completed by April 2016. i
Australia: Green Building Council of Australia certifies 1000th Green Star project
On 29 October, Australia’s property and construction industry celebrated an extraordinary milestone as the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) certified its 1000th Green Star project.
“Since Green Star was launched in 2003, the GBCA has certified more than 14 million square metres of building and precinct space,” said the GBCA’s chief executive officer, Romilly Madew.
“Through innovation, technology and knowledge sharing, the industry has delivered 1,000 remarkable, sustainable Green Star projects all over Australia. Of these 1,000 projects, more than 8.1 million square metres is office space—the equivalent to all the existing Premium and A Grade office space in the Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide CBDs combined. ii
Australia: New South Wales Government to split Sydney into six districts
The New South Wales (NSW) Government plans to introduce an independent planning body that will divide metropolitan Sydney into six districts.
As Planning Minister Rob Stokes announced, the soon-to-be-established Greater Sydney Commission will take control of planning decisions from Sydney’s 41 local councils.
The Greater Sydney Commission will include a commissioner for each of the six districts nominated by their councils; three government heads from the departments of planning and environment, transport for NSW and NSW treasury; an environment commissioner; an economic commissioner; a social commissioner; and a chairperson.
The new commission will also assume decision-making power on re-zoning proposals from the minister. In addition, it will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the government’s 20-year plan for growing Sydney, which was introduced in December 2014.
The commission is expected to streamline decision-making and create greater consistency among local council areas. “For too long Sydney’s urban planning has operated in silos of councils and government departments, without effective joined-up coordination for the infrastructure our city and suburbs need,” said Stokes. iii
China: Beijing welcomes world’s first smog-eating tower
With China’s chronic smog in mind, Dutch architect Daan Roosegaarde has come up with an innovative solution that will help cities such as Beijing clean up toxic air and harmful pollutants. His team of designers has created The Smog Free Tower, intended to be the largest ‘air purifier’ in the world.
The 7-metre unit will use ionic filters to charge and remove smog particles by blowing fresh air out of the tower's side vents. This will create a high-pressure zone, which will be 75 percent cleaner than the rest of the city.
The technology is similar to that used in hospitals. “In a few hours it will clean (air) in a small space; if you leave it on for a couple of days it cleans a small neighbourhood,” Roosegaarde said. It is also highly energy efficient, using about 14,000 kilowatts of power—less than a kettle, added Roosegaarde.
In Rotterdam, the tower will be powered by wind energy, while elsewhere he hopes it will run on solar-generated electricity.
Made out of strong durable steel, the tower can be shipped and set up in a matter of days. iv
Global: Fibreglass switches to formaldehyde-free binder
"As of October 2015, every fibreglass insulation company in the United States and Canada has phased out the use of formaldehyde-based binders in lightweight residential products," stated Jim Vallette of Healthy Building News.
The use of fibreglass insulation has long been controversial among Green builders, with one of the main objections being the formaldehyde-based binder that held it all together in batts. The industry and the American Chemistry Council will say that it is natural, does not get through the drywall and the finishes, and that it even contributes to a sustainable future for wood products by gluing wood chips together into particleboard. But it is, in fact, a toxicant and a carcinogen, and the Green builders have been pushing back for years. v
Global: World Green Building Week 2015 wraps up
Fom 21–27 September, Green Building Councils from across the globe came together to celebrate World Green Building Week 2015. Advocates from more than 100 countries, representing more than 27,000 organisations, hosted more than 200 events, ran campaigns and celebrated under the theme Powering Positive Change. The World Green Building Council also launched resources to support global leaders in accelerating Green building for everyone, everywhere.
“Around the world, companies, cities, countries and consumers are embracing Green building to improve our lives both today and tomorrow,” said the World Green Building Council’s CEO, Terri Wills. “Green building today generates significant economic, social, health and well-being benefits—for example, simply improving a building’s air quality can increase employee productivity by 11 percent. Also, as buildings comprise 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, Green building can dramatically improve our lives in the future by reducing emissions and the related risks from climate change, enabling people and planet to thrive together.”
The event was held along the same week as Climate Week NYC, further highlighting Green building as one of the most important solutions to combat climate change. The week also marked the 70-day countdown to the inaugural Buildings Day at Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris on December 3. vi
Global: WorldGBC awards BCA CEO with Chairman’s Award 2015
The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has conferred its prestigious Chairman’s Award 2015 to Dr John Keung, chief executive officer of the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Singapore, to honour his energy and passion in advancing the global sustainability movement. Since its launch in 2011, Dr Keung was among the first nine individuals to have received the award and the first recipient from Southeast Asia. He accepted the award at the WorldGBC Congress held in Hong Kong on 29 October 2015. He was nominated by the Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC), a member of the WorldGBC since 2009, which has been working closely with the BCA to Green the local built environment through a variety of initiatives and programmes.
Dr Keung was one of three recipients accepting the award, which recognises visionary leaders in the global sustainability movement. The other two recipients were Paul King (former CEO of the UK Green Building Council) and Ed Mazria (Founder of 2030 Districts). vii
India: 400 railway stations set to go Green
Railway stations in India will go Green in the next six months. The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) will be coming up with a star-rating system for 400 railway stations that have been identified to be redeveloped by the present government. “We are working with the Ministry of Railways to develop special rating system for 400 stations. This will ensure that these stations go Green,” Dr P C Jain, chairman of IGBC, said.
“These rating systems, which we plan to develop in the next six months, will be applicable to existing railway stations in Gujarat and other parts of the country. So we are very hopeful that in the next one year these stations will turn into an experience for the travellers,” said Dr Jain.
Under the said project to redevelop and transform the railway stations into energy-saving, Green units, there is a plan to install solar photovoltaic panels on the roof of the railway stations, which will generate electricity. Other plans are to install LED lights, provide added ventilation, set up cleaner toilets and rainwater harvesting systems. viii
Philippines: APEC selects Philippine city as Low-Carbon Model Town
Mandaue City has been named this year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Low-Carbon Model Town (LCMT), implementing the blueprint to promote low-carbon technologies to manage growing energy consumption and mitigate the adverse effects of greenhouse gas emissions in the region.
The city emerged as the winner of the initiative out of three candidates for its “comprehensive plan involving land use, green building and transportation,” said Department of Energy OIC-Secretary Zenaida Monsada in a briefing following the 12th APEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting (EMM12) held in Mandaue City.
“This entitles Mandaue City to a feasibility study grant that would determine policy programme measures to realise its targets for Green technology opportunities particularly in buildings, urban planning and transport sector,” added Monsada, the chair of APEC EMM12.
Funding and technical assistance for the feasibility study will be provided by the APEC Energy Working Group. Other nominees for the LCMT project are Krasnoyarsk City in Russia and Subang Jaya in Malaysia. ix
Singapore: The Architecture & Building Services 2015 Series
The Architecture & Building Services 2015 Series (ABS 2015 Series) was held on 29 September at the Sands Expo and Convention Center at the Marina Bay Sands Singapore. The event presented six architectural and building services shows and four key conferences for these industries. The opening ceremony was led by Baey Yam Keng, parliamentary secretary, ministry of culture, community and youth, member of parliament, Tampines GRC, deputy chairman of government parliamentary committee for communications & information.
ArchXpo 2015, together with International Facility Management Expo 2015, LED+Light Asia 2015, Safety & Security Asia 2015, Fire & Disaster Asia 2015 and Work Safe Asia
2015 presented a comprehensive and integrated platform for all building needs in one event. The collaboration of six flagship exhibitions was conceptualised with the strategic purpose of creating an integrated premier sourcing platform for the architectural and building management industries. The three-day event, which spanned more than 8,000 square metres, showcased the latest high quality technologies, products and services presented by 162 exhibitors from 20 countries. x
Vietnam: First LEED building project to be realised
An apartment project that meets the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards, the US’s most popular and widely-used Green building rating system globally, will be implemented for the first time in Vietnam.
Phuc Khang Corporation, the project’s investor, and Green Consult Asia under the US Green Building Council inked a contract on 20 September to develop the nearly VND1.3-trillion (USD57.2 million) project in District 8, Ho Chi Minh City.
Phuc Khang Corporation General Director Luu Thi Thanh Mau said the Diamond Lotus project would be blanketed by greenery with its apartments designed to welcome direct sunshine, wind and fresh air.
Covering 1.68 hectares, the project includes three blocks connected at the top by a 5,000-square-metre sky park. xi
Text by Karen Baja Dungalen