The words we use actually makes a difference; And this remains TRUE when we discuss the climate change. Perceiving this, The Guardian (a top-notch news and media house) has changed its stylebook, recommending that its writers, reporters and columnists stop verbalizing “climate change” and rather use “climate crisis, emergency or breakdown”. The words “climate change” sound excessively submissive and doesn’t convey as much exigence or urgency as the words “crisis, emergency or breakdown” does, as per the Guardian’s editor-in-chief.
Owing to this same belief and thought process, there are many industries/businesses where people are looking for and implementing various creative ways to take care of the present and future climate crisis. Let’s look at a few creative solutions being implemented in commercial office space architecture.
1) Bio-solar Leaf – How about we begin with the very modest LEAF, which is a symbol of a rich green earth, and as we all know any place with lots of trees is a place with clean air. Obviously, the reason behind is the photosynthesis that we all have studied in our childhood. Now, let’s move to next level which is the Bio-solar Leaf, an innovation from the CEO of Arborea, Mr. Julian Melchiorri. The technology makes use of phytoplankton and microalgaegrowing over panels, very similar to the solar panels and will do the work of almost 100 trees that too while making use of the space of a single tree. Very similar to the natural leaf, the bio-solar leaf will take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen.
2) Skyscraper Wind Turbines – It appears to be a smart idea—why not channelize our very own wind by uniting skyscrapers or even high-rise buildings and wind turbines? The same idea was actually put to use by the architects of the Bahrain World Trade Center. The trade center which comprises of two 42-story buildings became host to three wind turbines. The trade center is meeting its energy needs from this age-old yet innovative turbine technology.
3) Green Roofs –It’s a relatively common technique being utilized by many industries across the globe, like – cascading roof top of the Chicago City Hall building, a huge roof top farms of the Brooklyn Grange in NY, a sloping moss and sedum growth on a roof top of a skatepark at the StreetDome in Denmark, etc. The reason behind this green revolution on rooftops is simple – INSULATION. The flora helps these buildings to remain cooler in summers and warmer in winters, thus causing great reduction in utility bills. The technique became an instant hit in New York and a bill has been approved stating that all the commercial and residential buildings must have plants, solar panels and/or wind turbines on their rooftops.
4) Smart Glass–Technology is changing for every sphere of life but it seems our glass windows have not evolved to that extent. A glass pane appears to be an artless innovation that is working, so why fix what isn’t broken?With regards to putting brakes on the climate crisis (yes, we are following the Guardian), there may be something to improve on glass fronts as well.
Think about this: Most of the energy that we lose in our buildings is through the windows. When compared to a wall of same size, a glass pane gains or losses, almost 10 times more energy. That is where the need and use of smart glass comes in. Industries can make use of “Electro-chromatic glass”, which can easily be programmed by a device as simple as a mobile handset to tint the glass to control the entry of sunlight, so the interiors need less AC to remain cool. A buisness in San Francisco “The W Hotel” has replaced their old windows (for the lobby area) with these smart windows. Owing to their benefits other replacements might be on the way.
5) Alternative Cement–For centuries, cement has been used as the chief construction material, however not many are aware of the fact that it has some serious drawbacks. The top most disadvantage on the list is – it is the major source of carbon emission. In keeping with the view of eminent scientists and researchers working under an organization named Drawdown, the cement production causes 5 to 6% of emissions every year. They have a solution to this issue as well; instead of using heated limestone that causes almost 60% of the emissions, alternatives like clays, ground bottle glass, volcanic ash could be put to use.
Need another idea? We have an age-old technology for you – return to timber construction. There are many places in the world with new building codes, enforcing laws for the developers to use high-tech yet timber based construction materials, which are renewable, fire resistant yet are more efficient in capturing carbon instead of creating more of it.