Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Inspirations for Green Habitat

1. Cheap water treatment - the river's way
Rivers clean their water all the time by a combination of gravity and a swirling motion, called the vortex. Watreco is using a simple vortex generator to remove air and lime from water. Thus producing bacteria free and soft water. Concrete when formed in this water performs much better. Less water is required for irrigation. Ponds and lakes can be cleaned this way.

2. Glass as a building material
Glass as a building material is extensively common in modern architecture. But producing glass is a very energy intensive process. On the other hand, a huge pile of glass ends up in the landfills. Recycling of glass is also very expensive.

Heating up a blend of glass with carbon dioxide injection creates glass foam which is light but very hard material. It has outstanding compresive strength, an ideal abrasive, a powerful insulation, excellant sound barrier, allows no water seepage and provides a hydroponic growth medium. Hence it can be an excellant building material. Pittsburgh Corning is doing the same.

Building Material - http://pittsburghcorning.com/default.aspx
Abrasives - http://www.goearthstone.com/earthstone.asp

They are being used as pre-fab foundations, walls, roofs (structural as well as insulation). No water permeates through them, no vermin, no fungi and insulative properties outweighs existing materials in cost and performance.

Thus it creates a carbon sequestering construction process.

3. Buildings inspired by termites
Termites control air and humidity in their nest through laws of physics. Their meticulous structure design helps them to constantly maintain a temperature of 27 degree C and 61% humidity. The height of the mound, the length and width of the air channels, the position towards the sun and the choice of building materials together create this genius.

A swedish architect, Anders Nyquist, motivated a team to design a mathematical model that built on the termite mound principles and can offer predictable results to building designers. The technique was applied to the construction of Laggarberg School in Timara by Sundsvall.

4. Build like a zebra
A zebra with its black and white strips is very efficient in maintaining its body temperature through air circulation. 

How can this be used in heating and cooling of architectural space?

The Energy and Resource Institute, India while building their new office building used similar inspirations and hence operate without the need for air conditioning. On the south, the building has a double wall, which is made of black kappa stone on the exterior. Thus the heated air rises up and forces convectional currents from the north.

5. Plant air purifiers
ANDREA is a living plant purifier created by a French designer, Mathieu Lehanneur. It purifies air by enhancing the metabolic activities of a plant. Although it can use all plant species, some of them are more effective. For example, peace lilly, madagascar dragon tree, etc.