Green Architecture is an inherent part of the RUrban Design program but there should be a concerted effort to work more closely with these experts in order to utilize green architecture in as many of the commercial properties of the Proposed Projects as will be possible. This should include any and all such commercial buildings built within the community developments to include malls, office spaces and office buildings, operations centers and even the larger sites wherever possible.
The introduction of such technologies in an overall facility design are unprecedented and may serve to provide enough interest to allow for a greater influx of outside economic support through tourism and environmental and sociological studies and presentations through a series of conferences and other meetings to draw tourists and professionals alike. Further, when these designs are coupled with “unique” structures such as (even partially or largely) underground industrial parks and business complexes, malls and other larger commercial structures, they can be more seamlessly integrated and better blend in with the local environments.
Integrated Energy Systems
It may not be viable to retrofit all of the existing construction and commercial structures with fully Integrated Energy Systems, but many of the current technologies are capable of being installed as an integral part of the new designs and new construction of certain buildings. By integrating these systems, the buildings will be able to produce some, if not all of the electrical energy that they use directly on site. This precludes the need for an electrical grid that is unstable and vulnerable to attack even in the most advanced nationsi. The electrical power generated however, can still be metered so that it will function well within any limitations of the current regulatory bodies.
For larger sites such as high rises and other commercial and/or industrial centers, there are a wide array of portable, in-line electrical power generators that can be used in combination with the Substations or mini-power plants to produce most of the electrical requirements of the building right on site for Point of Use Power. This alleviates the need for the ever-vulnerable, expensive to maintain and questionable power grid in its current form.
Additional systems offered as part of this proposed project can also be integrated to power lighting, water systems and other low-amperage, non-critical systems. All of this can still be tied into the grid, again, allowing for a complete metering of the electrical power generated and used, while at the same time relieving the current strain on the baseload capacity of the current power generating stations. These systems may require the installation of large, commercial batteries, but again, there are a sufficient number of these technologies currently available on a commercial scale to make this a viable approach.
Another creative approach has seen the introduction of waterfalls inside and outside of the high rise buildings. These water falls are controlled by twelve-volt Direct Current systems which alleviates the need for expensive inverters or other equipment for the generation of power. These waterfalls proceed to turn a series of water wheel generators that generate either direct current power for lighting and other auxiliary systems or are utilized to charge batteries and other power backup systems that will store energy that can be used to supplement the electrical power supplied from the grid, substations or other exterior sources. Many additional technologies are also in the works, but most require further testing.
Among some of the most promising of these new technologies, is the clear glass system with glass ground from Graphite that can then be made into single or double pane windows, allowing for each and every window in any building to serve as a solar collector. Additional advances in solar technologies have seen the introduction of roofing tiles that serve as solar collectors while at the same time providing a decorative, protective finish for the homes and smaller commercial buildings. While not all of these technologies are commercially available, the utilization of these techs can begin within the Community Developments and the Community Service Centers with no disruption to the existing population and integrated into more densely populated areas gradually, again, without any major disruption to existing services.
One of the central focuses of the Community Developments and more specifically, the Educational Institutions, should be the continued research, development, experimentation and introduction of new and increasingly innovative technologies that will allow for the homes to become their own source of clean energy and potable water, perhaps even inclusive of solid waste management as well. While such a concept may seem far fetched at present, there are already a great many existing technologies that provide for such homes and other structures to be built even today.
Integrated Waste Management and Reclamation
For those commercial and industrial facilities that will produce a substantial volume of waste, the portable Helioconverters can be installed either as an integral part of the construction or as a standalone unit, resting in the loading docks like any other cargo trailer and some very large waste disposal units or dumpsters. The waste generated from the structure can be inserted directly into the Helioconverters and, based on the individual needs and requirements of any particular site, the byproducts can be used on site or delivered to a more centralized processing facility. While there are a great many new and innovative technologies for wastewater management and even for the utilization of wastewater, none are currently at the stage of development wherein they would be viable options for installation in new construction, though they should be ready for mass production and commercially available within the next few years.
Wet Roofs are a means to introduce both “Vertical” and “Footfarm” farming technologies on to new and existing roof tops, though they should not be limited merely to the roofs of new or even existing structures. These concepts may be difficult for some to comprehend at first, but they actually provide a host of benefits in addition to the provision of fresh produce, herbs, spices and other goods. They greatly reduce runoff from the rains, reducing the risk of flooding in areas where they are in common use, most notably within the inner cities where open ground for natural drainage is scarceii. To a somewhat limited degree, a substantial portion of roofs and building walls, covered in natural growth, will also help to reduce the levels of pollution in the city air as well.
The vertical and “foot” farming technologies allow for the local, organic growth of a wide variety of herbs, spices and smaller, more manageable plant life to support a varied and healthy supplemental addition to any kitchen. The produce can be used for public cafeterias within the office buildings themselves, or distributed as social assistance, or even sold on the open markets.
The “Earth Ships” are the brain child of Dr. Michael Reynolds, a (genius) creative specialist in experimental architecture and design. While some of the designs are more functional than others, and some more practical than others, there is no doubting the efficaciousness of his workiii. Such is the effectiveness of his work, that he has managed to successfully plant and grow tropical fruits and vegetables in the very hot and arid (in summer) and extremely cold and dry (though sometimes snowing, in the winter) deserts of New Mexico in the Southwestern United States of America. These homes often provide their own electrical power generation and water storage facilities, trapping rainfall more often than not, and are designed in relation to the local environment and conditions. Many of his homes are built in a very harsh, desert environment with temperatures exceeding one hundred degrees Fahrenheit in the summertime and dropping down well below zero degrees Fahrenheit in the winter time. Despite all of this, he has no heating bills, no air conditioning bills and lives there comfortably year round.
When combined with the Permaculture development, these and other innovative technologies and designs can be implemented within the Community Developments and Community Service Centers to provide an example of what can be accomplished in a more wholly symbiotic relationship between the human population and the earth that provides for all of us. While not all of these technologies will be immediately welcomed into the larger, more densely populated urban centers, a great many can be integrated into existing communities with virtually no interruption to the daily lives of the current residents.
Innovative Construction Technologies
New and innovative construction technologies are constantly being introduced into the global marketplace. As such, it is seen that a great many of these should be considered based upon pricing and other factors including environmental benefits, resource sustainability and other factors. Some of the ones already introduced into this documentation have already been selected based on their merits and past experiences with the foundation(s) and/or other decisions based on the opinions of the respective experts. However, there is no cause to casually dismiss other options that may prove to be not only wholly sustainable, but potentially beneficial in other ways as well.
Straw or adobe construction may not sound viable or reasonable when thinking in more traditional methods of construction, though such structures have proven more than adequate to provide housing that is not only safe and secure, but resistant against all but the most intense of storms and other disasters. Foot farming is increasingly common along the outsides of even some highrise construction taking place in the world today. It is important to remember, that what was science fiction in our youths, is often scientific fact in our old age. Just because something is different, does not make it a bad thing.
i Electrical Grids and Clean Water Reservoirs are among the sections of utilities and infrastructure most vulnerable and open to attack. While scarcely any preventative measures will prevent massive damage from an extensive Electro Magnetic Pulse or EMP, the reliance upon an electrical grid for the storage and distribution of electrical energy is rapidly becoming antiquated. Every effort should be made to continue testing and experimentation, research and development within the Community Developments for more viable systems that will allow for the homes to be more wholly self-sustaining and generate their own electrical energy and even for the provision of foods, goods and other services.
ii One excellent example of this technology being introduced on a larger scale can be found in Bronx in the State of New York in the United States of America. The program name is Sustainable South Bronx and it is run and overseen by Majora Carter.
iii There is a film regarding the works of Michael Reynolds that is very enlightening … and also serves to explain why more similar projects to this are not undertaken in the more industrialized, Western nations. The name of the film is “Garbage Warrior” and it, like the works of Geoff Lawton with the Food Forest technologies, is well worth viewing.