Archive | Homes & Buildings

'Green' Roofs Covered with Plants May Counter Global Warming

EAST LANSING, Mich., Sept. 24 (UPI) — A Michigan State University study has determined “green roofs” — those covered with plants — could help fight global warming.

The scientists, led by horticulturist Kristin Getter and Professor Brad Rowe, found replacing traditional roofing materials with green plants in an urban area with a population of about 1 million, would be equivalent to eliminating a year’s worth of carbon dioxide emitted by 10,000 mid-sized sport utility vehicles and trucks.

The researchers said their study is the first of its kind to examine the ability of green roofs to sequester carbon, which may impact climate change. Getter and colleagues say scientists have known green roofs also absorb carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, but nobody had measured the impact until now.

The scientists said they measured carbon levels in plant and soil samples collected from 13 green roofs in Michigan and Maryland during a two-year period. They found green roofing an urban area of about 1 million people would capture more than 55,000 tons of carbon.

The research is to be reported in the Oct. 1 issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Homes & Buildings, Other, People, Science, Space, & Technology0 Comments

British Couple Finds That Their Garden Moved Next Door

HAZEL SLADE, England, Sept. 22 (UPI) — A British couple said they discovered the garden of their former home had been stolen and installed in the yard of their next-door neighbor.

Phil and Linzi Wood, both 28, said they put the five-bedroom home in Hazel Slade, England, on the market when they moved to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands and later learned from Phil’s mother that their garden, which included a path, shrubs, plants, pots, hanging baskets and a garden shed, had been turned into an empty plot, The Mirror reported Tuesday.

Linzi Wood said she returned to England to investigate and discovered all the items from the garden had been moved to neighbor Brian Johnson’s yard.

“I got the next flight home and couldn’t believe my eyes,” she said. “Our garden had vanished. Then I glanced next door and saw where it had gone. The slabs, plant pots, plants and the garden shed — he’d got the lot. Most of what I said to him was unrepeatable. I think I was just screaming, ‘It’s mine, it’s mine.’”

Wood said Johnson was apologetic and claimed to have purchased the garden supplies as a package without realizing they came from the house next door. She said he initially promised to return the items but he has since refused to speak with the family.

A police spokesman said the matter is under investigation.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Homes & Buildings, Other0 Comments

Residential Zoning & Municipal Governments: Blocking Green Energy Adoption

An interesting article was published earlier this month in the Star Tribune. Focused on efforts local to suburbs in Minnesota, the article discussed how some plans to erect green energy structures have been foiled – by zoning laws.

The article’s author, Laurie Blake, first discusses Larry McGough’s difficult position…

Larry McGough’s desire to fit a solar panel on his boat lift and a horizontal wind turbine on his house has Maple Grove considering changes to its zoning code.

Numerous inquiries such as McGough’s — regarding the installation of wind turbines, solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling — have prompted Maple Grove to clarify codes regulating green energy systems, said City Planner Peter Vickerman. “With tax credits that help offset the cost of such systems and an increase in the general concern about impacts on the environment, it seems likely that the market demand for such systems will only increase in the future,” Vickerman said.

[...]

McGough, who in 2003 installed underground geothermal heating and cooling for his house on Eagle Lake, supports the city’s updating of its zoning codes for alternative energy.

He would like to capture north winds off the lake to generate electricity and reduce his electric bill.

“I have been asking for clarification on the wind turbine issue for about a year now,” McGough said.

“I am looking at the house-mounted type with no blade. The current ordinance only addresses free-standing towers.”

The city also lacks codes to address his installation of a solar panel on his boat lift. His lift battery kept dying, so he put on a solar panel to charge the lift.

In response, the city is considering giving approval to solar panels under two square feet in size, with no review.

But in general, the Planning Commission may move cautiously on the changes. Chairman Larry Colson has proposed that the city initially require each new installation to have a conditional use permit that would be reviewed by the commission.

“People will not necessarily know we are considering this,” Colson said. “The time they get excited about it is when their neighbor puts one up.” It will be easier to finalize policies once there’s feedback, he said.

The Failure of Local Government?
It is my opinion that many local governments are failing to keep up with the times.

When Federal Stimulus packages applaud the adoption of being environmentally aware – how can local governments ignore or in some cases prevent citizens from constructing green energy equipment on their own land?

I say this with a healthy dose of obvious reasoning. I wouldn’t expect a homeowner to erect wind turbines so large that it becomes an eye sore for neighbors. Nor would it make sense to build equipment that if gone unrestricted, would pose a danger to neighbors and children.

However – many DIY projects exist today that allow home owners to build or place small, supplemental green energy solutions on their home or on their property. The key? It is their property and their choice.

In most areas now, major energy suppliers are even allowing alternative energy producers to sell excess energy out to their grid – allowing others to fully utilize all of the green energy produced.

What Can I Do to Help?
The easiest way for any of us to get involved and help the situation is to reach out to community leaders and let them know it’s an important issue. Don’t overlook your neighbors, either. Many neighborhood and community leaders can prepare a compelling case for city or town officials to hear. Don’t stop at a municipal level either! Escalate your desire for green energy adoption by speaking with representatives, state leaders and even national leaders if need be. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets grease – and we’re talking about the production of affordable green energy here.

What do you, our readers think about this ongoing issue? Weigh in using the comments below and let your voice be heard!

Posted in Energy, Homes & Buildings, Wind1 Comment

5 Economic Benefits of Green Building

One of our favorite sites to find tips for living and practicing a greener lifestyle is ecoMYbuilding. At the end of July, ecoMYbuilding published a list that we really felt needed to be repeated – the Economic Benefits of Green Building.

Here’s a list of the five headlined tips – but be sure to read the article on 5 Economic Benefits of Green Building at ecoMYbuilding’s web site. Once there, you’ll see more information on each of the five benefits and can interact with site authors and other readers, too.

The economic benefits of having a green building can be huge! Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy if you have a green building.

1. Water and Energy Savings
You will see drastic reductions in your operation costs that are going to quickly recoup the money you invested and you will continue to see the huge long term savings. Now you can use that money for other things besides your utility bills.

2. Increased Property Values
Since energy costs are at an all time high, the low cost of operating and the easy maintenance of the green building will make for much lower vacancy rates along with much higher property values.

3. Improved Employee Attendance
The green buildings have control of temperature and ventilation along with increased natural lighting. This attributes to a much improved employee attendance and health. It has been found that the improvements to your indoor environment lowers your health care costs along with your work losses.

4. Increased Employee Productivity
Your employee productivity will be much greater because of the positive indoor environmental conditions. They will be sick much less often and will have a better over sense of well-being.

5. Sales Improvements
Studies have shown that there are better sales in building with more natural light and you will find that many retailers are more and more now using day lighting as an effort to bring in the huge sales benefits.

Posted in Buildings, Energy, Homes & Buildings, Other2 Comments

Harvard University to Install Photovoltaic Panels for Solar Electricity

Environmentalists, Cambridge Massachusetts’ residents and the community of Harvard University students, faculty and alumni are excited to learn today that the prestigious university will soon become one of the most energy efficient, too.

According to Boston Globe reports, Harvard University will be installing solar panels along the roof of their largest office building. The panels, which will span a length of more than 240 yards on that roof, are expected to generate more than 7% of the electrical needs by the building’s tenants. The building is commonly known as The Arsenal on the Charles.

The photovoltaic panels are expected to generate more than 635,00kW of electricity each year. The panels are part of a seven year plan by the University to reduce greenhouse gas emissions described in 2008.

For more information on this story, please see these links:

  • Photovoltaic Panels: Solar Power
  • Boston Globe Article
  • The Arsenal on the Charles

Posted in Electricity, Energy, Homes & Buildings, Office, Solar0 Comments

Make Money By Recycling Electronic Waste

As the use of technology increase a new kind waste also increase; electronic waste. Computers, cell phones, mp3 players, and even DVDs are all considered electronic waste. The problem with recycling electronic waste is how to do so properly with out causing more waste in both domestic and foreign landfills.

A new method of recycling electronic waste is by giving it to specialty companies that will exchange money for the waste. These companies will collect different types of waste, inspect, and either re-certify the product for sale in secondary markets or properly dispose of the item. This saves the consumer time and puts money back in their pockets for handling their electronic waste correctly.

YouRenew.com is a company that specializes in recycling electronic waste and frequently promote their services outside of Apple, Inc.’s flag ship store in New York City. Founders Bob Casey and Rich Littlehale believe that they can help curb e-waste by offering incentives and ease of disposal services to consumers looking to get rid of their unused electronics.

Visit the following link for more information on electronic waste recycling and YouRenew’s services.

Posted in Electronic Waste, Electronics, Landfills, Recycling, Recycling & Waste, Science, Space, & Technology, Services1 Comment

Sustainable High Density

Modern urban centers from Manhattan to Hong Kong now boast neighborhoods that house well over 100,000 people per square mile, while providing their inhabitants an excellent quality of life. As world civilization voluntarily and inexorably urbanizes, new megacities will be built everywhere. It is estimated that within the next few decades the number of megacities on earth – defined as an urbanized area with over 10 million inhabitants – will increase from around 20 today to over 400. So what innovations being pioneered today will enable cities like this to provide a high quality of life, and how will cities of such size and density reduce their vulnerability to economic or physical disruptions?

In a way, a megacity is antithetical to the notion of being “off-grid,” yet in important ways it is the megacity that needs to be as self sufficient as possible, since having 100,000 people per square mile (20,000 per square kilometer) means that any resource that needs to be imported, stored or removed is going to have to be handled in very high volumes. Therefore energy efficiency, waste management, as well as energy and water harvesting and treatment are technologies that are extremely important to the megacity – along with smart systems to interconnect all of them. So along with energy and water efficiency, harvesting and reuse, how else can a megacity exist relatively off-grid? Equally important is the closely related question of how can a megacity experience a postive balance of payments – supporting itself economically?

Cities could become food exporters.
(Image: VerticalFarm.com)

To explore this question beyond the usual suspects there are two evolving technologies (both are evolving, not emerging, because both have illustrious histories) that promise to transform megacities in important and very positive ways, one is high-rise agriculture, and the other is massive tunnelling systems.

It is common for the smart growth crowd to say “build up, not out,” but this misses two key points. First, of course, the smart growth advocates tend to forget that the smartest growth is unplanned. Centrally planned growth tends to actually promote sprawl, because those of us who don’t want to live in towers simply buy land and build homes on the far side of whatever “greenbelt” they manage to decree. But more on point, building up instead of out ignores building downwards as well. Some of the greatest urban gridlock ever seen has been ameliorated by tunnelling – anyone who tries to get to Logan Airport from downtown Boston during rush hour will have nothing but good things to say about the much maligned “big dig.” It’s too bad we don’t have more big digs – in the heart of urban centers we could put freeways and rail underground, and our cities could reach for the sky, and there would never be a traffic jam.

Tunnelling on a grand scale can seem mundane until you learn more about it – then you realize it is a fascinating field that is advancing at breakneck speed, incorporating new technology across multiple disciplines as fast as it becomes available. From GPS systems that allow a tunnelling machine to always know precisely where it is beneath the earth, to better cutting bits, to debris removal conveyers, to conveyers to bring forward shoring material, to worker shelter and control rooms, modern tunnelling machines can exceed a mile in length and cost billions to acquire and operate. The global leader in tunnelling systems is Herrenknecht AG. A good website that covers the world of tunnelling is tunnelmachines.com.

As the megacities of the future are built, tunnelling machines will play an integral part in endowing these cities with efficient transportation systems. Tunnelling underground to create utility conduits to transport water and energy will also be necessary in cities of ultra-high density. Using the volume of underground space to host much of the physical plant of megacities will make the surface areas far less congested, and far more pleasant for people. The underground systems of megacities can include large-scale water cisterns, or even enhanced geothermal power stations to extract power from the heat in the earth’s crust.

The imperative to build upwards is already a part of the new urban vision, but what about high-rise agriculture? The technology to grow food at extremely high volume indoors is already well understood – the Netherlands, for example, is a net food exporter in spite of being the most densely populated nation in Europe. But what the Dutch do using advanced hydroponics and lighting, in greenhouses that glow for miles across the reclaimed polders all year long, might instead take place on the stacked stories of a skyscraper.

One of the pioneers of high rise agriculture is Dickson Despommier, a professor at Columbia University and the founder of Vertical Farms LLC. Most of the technology to operate a vertical farm is already here, as well as much of the infrastructure. A properly designed vertical farm imports grey water (plenty of that in a mega-city) and pumps it to the top of the building, then allowing it to trickle downwards through hydroponic media on floor after floor. With mirrors and energy efficient lighting, along with daylight, a high-rise farm would probably consume, overall, less energy and water per calories grown than a greenhouse, since heating would be far more efficient in a multi-story structure. Despommier estimates a high rise farm on one city block (30 stories, 100,000 square feet per floor) could produce enough food to meet the needs of at least 10,000 people (possible much more, read “The Vertical Farm” .pdf, 2004). Every type of produce except for grains is potentially cost competitive to land-intensive traditional agriculture.

The implications of building upwards and downwards, employing novel technologies ranging from enhanced geothermal to high-rise farming, hold forth not only the oft-wished for promise of attracting humanity’s billions off the land and into densely populated megacities, but also the promise of cities that live nearly off the grid, cities that may, despite their magnitude, require very little from the rest of the world. Cities that might actually export power and food.

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Geothermal, Homes & Buildings, Other, People, Science, Space, & Technology, Transportation, Waste Management, Water Efficiency2 Comments

Green Neighborhood Design ala "Prefurbia"

After spending 25 years designing over 600 communities in 45 states and 10 countries, we wrote the book Prefurbia to make an awareness for those involved in the processes of land development about new ideas, techniques and methods that we had discovered relating to suburban site design. In addition to these new methods, the book explains problems with the current regulatory systems, mostly caused by our minimums based regulations, and ending with an example of a new type of “rewards based” ordinance.

No matter how great it may be, any development plan is secondary to the presentation. The site plan is only part of the process to approval – the best site plan is only as good as the presentation to convince council or planning commission for a “Yes” vote.

These critical public meetings are the most important part of the entitlement process – no “Yes” vote: no deal – simple as that! Each presenter deals with the dog-and-pony show in their own ways with an endless variety of styles (or lack of style).

All of these public meetings have one thing in common –the neighbors (if any) will be there to oppose to the new development. Perfurbia is written from the perspective (needs) of these various parties with the process to approval, the planning commission and council members, the developer, and the design team.

In the old days there were three factions – the developer presenting the plan, the neighbors opposing the plan, and the council listening to both sides. If the development was high profile, someone from the local press might also show up to write an article about the controversy. The planning commission and council are fully aware that all plans will be met with neighbor opposition and they will have to listen to their lengthy complaints along the route to approving (possibly) the developer’s plan. In the past the citizens sitting on these boards would most likely dismiss Elwood and Betsy Smith’s complaint on how a development in their back yard would invade their privacy, and would vote in favor of that new master planned community instead.

Today there is often an additional audience – the entire region of neighbors – when the meetings are televised. The televised council listens to the neighbor’s objections, no matter how absurd they may be, then answers to the camera – the general community watching at home with answers that show they really care about every citizen’s opinion. The televised council member must never appear too much in favor of the developer as it can be misconstrued as not caring about the citizens they represent.

A televised Council member hears the Smith’s complaint and may look into the camera with a very concerned look explaining on how maybe we have too many new homes in this town and proceed to tell viewers that the developer might want to consider a buffer and dropping density. What is happening is that concerns go from developing economically sensible neighborhoods, perhaps to: “please elect me Mayor when I’m on the ballot.”
post resumes below image

Coving reduces surface runoff, enhances privacy, and
exchanges road surface for increased lot sizes, allowing
higher density without punishingly small homesites.
(Image: Rick Harrison Site Design)

The design catalyst for Prefurbia is “coving,” a method created in the mid-1990’s that relies on new technologies to create a more efficient pattern of land development compared to conventional and traditional methods. Without lengthy explanation (the book is the best source for explanation) a by-product of Coving is that for any given density, the length of street is typically reduced by 25% with a corresponding increase in average lot size. Another side-effect is that the lot sizes vary greatly and rapidly from minimum to maximum to create the effect along the streetscape to pulloff the art of coved design.

With the new “green” movement towards environmentally responsible development – coving can be the perfect solution as a reduction in the run-off from paved surfaces combined with the increase in organic area is a perfect foundation for Green Design.

In the early years of Coved design, virtually all the work was done in the USA. Our first large site plan done outside the States, was in Freeport, Bahamas. We designed Heritage Village, which began as a TND layout (by another planning firm) and ended up with our new method of Coving. In 2000 when we were first contacted to design Heritage Village we asked about doing presentations to the city council and planning commission to help move the approval process along. We were told that the development company and the regulating entity were the same, if they liked the plan it would be built! That is exactly what had happened.

Our next attempt of the Coving outside the USA were not so easy. In Mexico City we were told to keep the minimum and maximum range of lot sizes under 20% – a regulation which essentially kills the use of coving to be efficient, however later we found the Monterrey region of Mexico more progressive to work with.

In Puerto Rico, the horizontal regulations were no problem to work with, but the vertical (slope) regulations were problematic in Coved design in steep slopes. These slope regulations did not have alternatives which would have made more sense – they were untouchable. On relatively flat sites – no problem, steep sloped sites are very difficult to comply with (not impossible but difficult) when coved.

Since then we wrongly assumed that planning outside the USA could have similar problems with restrictions that were absurdly prohibitive for designing great neighborhoods. In Puerto Rico, when we asked to sit down with the government officials to change policy to create better neighborhoods, the developer said – no. At the time we did not understand why it was so critical that we were rejected to suggest changes.

It was only when we worked in Bogota, Columbia that we realized their systems may not be so backwards after all… Last year we were hired to do some significant planning work in Columbia. My first request was that we meet with the authorities to show them new ways to design neighborhoods and start working on changing the regulations, and were given (like Puerto Rico) an absolute – NO!

Unlike Puerto Rico, the basic setback and engineering minimums were not as restrictive and did not limit the design process. We then asked to present the plan to the authorities – and were told that was not necessary. Being it was Columbia you can imagine that at first we thought: Cartels? Corruption? The reality was much simpler. Since our plans met the minimums (they actually exceeded them), they were automatically considered approved! Imagine that – no neighbors to complain! If everything conforms – it should be approved – right? Just plain old common sense! That was exactly what was going on in Puerto Rico – in Mexico City, in fact in many countries we would think were backwards were in fact very forward thinking. Developers who follow the zoning – who follow the minimums do not need public meetings!

When you think about it, in this country if the development being submitted meets or exceeds the zoning (and the subdivision regulation minimums), why does it need to go through any of the public approvals at all? The American Developer often faces months or years of delays, enormous interest payments, the tens of thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars) spent on consultants and legal help for plans that conform. Instead that massive sum of money could go towards making a better neighborhood, better architecture, better landscaping, less environmental impacts! What a concept!

Reducing minimums would still require public meetings, however. The public would still have plenty of input when the regulations and zoning changes. Those types of meetings should be public to get citizen input. If the developer is proposing something that goes below minimums or does not conform to zoning, then it is reasonable to go through the more time consuming process that we currently have.

So this brings up the question – how would the developer introduce something different to the written law? This could be a particularly bad problem under typical PUD (Planned Unit Development) regulations which typically give blanket changes to the minimums when alternative designs are not covered by straight zoning. This PUD Pandoras box, once opened can have devastating results when the staff and neighbors both agree that the plan is simply not good enough.

When the developer thinks the plan is just fine a battle of wills ensues that can last years of revisions and legal battles – in the end these expensive delays increase lot costs – the home buyer ultimately pays. The problem is that most PUD’s are simply too vague.

If a PUD ordinance, or any special ordinance such as Cluster Conservation, or Coving was specifically spelled out – developers would get rewarded for great plans complete with open space and connectivity(typically density and setback relaxations). Simple and somewhat easy to administer.

Perfurbia’s hundreds of new concepts, methods, and industry bullet points are a wealth of information useful to anyone involved with land development. But what we began to realize after writing Perfurbia, is a new thought – how did we take something so simple and let it get so out of control?

These “third world” countries that are so progressive as to actually allow developers who comply with the rules to quickly build their neighborhood – maybe are not so third world after-all. Perhaps we have the regulations and systems as it exist is to keep the system “busy” with many billable hours. Imagine if we could simply get a plan stamped and the next day construction could begin. How many billable earning hours are eliminated, how much less construction and land holding interest saved? That would be very hard to calculate, but it’s most likely significant.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it…
Al Gore – “The Inconvenient Truth”

The inconvenient truth won’t win me many friends in the consulting industry who’s income depends upon generating billing time (meetings), but can we afford to continue down the path we are presently in?

Rick Harrison is the President of Rick Harrison Site Design (www.rhsdplanning.com), and author of Prefurbia, published by the efforts of Sustainable Land Development International, www.sldi.org and available directly from www.prefurbia.com.

Posted in Architecture, Art, Conservation, Engineering, Homes & Buildings, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Landscaping1 Comment

'Energy Tower' Combines the Old with the New

When innovative buildings pop up in the news, no one is ever surprised to hear that the next architectural wonder will be built in the UAE. Dubai, Bahrain, and Abu Dhabi all seem to be competing in the green building department.

The eventual goal is for buildings to generate much of their own energy. Burj-al-Taqa (translated to mean energy tower), which will hopefully break ground in Dubai soon, follows this principle and will supposedly be completely self-sufficient.

Plans for its creation began in 2007 when the German architect Eckhard Gerber, dreamt up the design. Virtual images of the building popped up in hundreds of articles and we all wondered if this candle-shaped building would revolutionize the green building industry.
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The proposed Burj-al-Taqa zero-energy skyscraper.

A couple of interesting differences between this burj and all the rest, is its cyclindrical shape and the building materials used-both meant to help dissipate the heat. The tubular design is meant to minimize the surface area exposed to the sun while the special vacuum glazing used on the glass covering the entire structure will also help keep the heat out. This type of glass was only recently made available.

Burj-al-Taqa’s architects are also learning from history: Ancient Arabian houses used energy efficient technologies at a time when there were no other alternatives. (It is ironic how many buildings are reverting back to older technologies these days.) These old homes used a natural air conditioning system that sucked cold air into the living space via lateral vents which in turn forced the hot air out into the 120 degree summer heat.

The Spiegel describes how Burj al-Taqa hopes to use a similar process with their in-depth article: “The negative pressure created by winds breaking along the tower will suck the spent air from the rooms out of the building via air slits in the façade. The plan is for fresh air to be pumped into the interior of the building by means of a duct system at the same time.”

It doesn’t stop there. Seawater running through the cellar and under each floor will cool the air, while a large wind turbine on the roof of the 322 meter building will help generate enough electricity to power the skyscraper. Massive photovoltaic facilities will help charge the rest of the power grid.

After construction, burj-al-Taqa will be the 22nd tallest building in the world, but if all goes well, it will tower above the rest when it comes to energy efficiency.

Editor’s Note: For more on buildings like the burj-al-Taqa, a very interesting website we have uncovered is the skyscraper category of “Jetson Green,” dedicated reporting on innovative green building design.

Posted in Buildings, Electricity, Energy, Energy Efficiency, History, Homes & Buildings, Other, Wind2 Comments

Outdoor Air Conditioning

Sitting on a beach is the last thing most of us think about in the cold month of December, but it is an appealing escape. Beaches are the most popular destination spot and who could blame the millions of tourists whose tension is washed away by warm waves, exotic drinks and sunny skies. Nothing is ever perfect, though. The ocean may be too cold, and the sand is often scalding hot. It is just the nature of the beast and humans have to accept the fact that we cannot control everything. Yet, designers in Dubai may disagree.

The Palazzo Versace Hotel, breaking ground on Dubai’s coastline, is planning on creating its very own climate. The hotel’s sand will never burn sensitive soles thanks to a network of heat absorbing pipes under the beach and 820sq foot refrigerated pool will always refresh guests trying to escape the rising temperature. Not only that, but whenever temperatures become uncomfortably hot, fans may be placed around the hotel’s beach to force a cool breeze towards lounging guests.

Making outdoors indoors…

In addition to the one-of-a-kind beach, the 10-story hotel will incorporate indoor pools in some of the 213 rooms. For a more detailed list of the hotel’s guest features click HERE.

It comes as no surprise that environmentalists are not happy with the situation. It is also a slap in the face to countries facing the current economic crisis. A climate controlled beach seems like a waste of money, and the energy required to control an outside environment is immense. Not only that, but it is not even necessary: certain variables may be unappealing but they add to the charm of visiting a natural area.

Soheil Abedian, founder and president of Palazzo Versace, argues that luxuries like this can also be sustainable. Rather than forcing cool air onto the sand which requires more energy, for example, the heat will get sucked out. Unfortunately, the exact plans for the project are still unknown.

Dubai is already home of the world’s top resorts and countless luxury hotels, the most famous of which is Burj al’Arab-the first hotel ever to boast a 5 star rating. Abedian is simply following UAE tradition and attempting to compete with countless other hotels that have offer such amenities as private butlers in gold plated rooms that can cost up to $40,000 a night. He hopes that the climate controlled beaches will provide the edge to lure high class tourists through his hotel’s doors which are planned to open in 2010.

via The Australian News

Posted in Energy, Homes & Buildings, Other2 Comments

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