What do you know about energy saving design?

Recently I was researching about energy saving desing projects and it seems like those projects become more and more popular in Europe. One of the reasons to do energy saving renovation and design is to make building more self-efficient, and in some cases even make building to produce energy insetad of using it. In Copenhagen energy saving renovation is on the top of the list of Climate Plan 2025, the strategic document for city development. The main goal of the Climate Plan is to reach zero level of CO2 emissions by to 2025, so Copenhagen can be the first CO2 neutral capital in the world. Construction industry and building maintenance have a big impact on the environment and results in large amount of CO2 emissions. That is why energy renovation and design play a crusial role in sustainable development. To clearify a bit more about different factors in energy saving design I will talk about 3 realised projects that show different approaches to how to build and renovate for better environment.
Project 1 Upcycled Family House, built in 2013
by Lendager Architectslocation: Nyborg, Denmark
upcycle house_1 upcycle house_2 upcycle house_3 upcycle house_4

(Illustrations: Lendager Arkitekter)
The main focus in house design is to use recycled and upcycled building materials, ranging from old shipping containers, recycled wood and gypsum sheets, paper from recovered newpapers, aluminium facade plates made from cans, used car tires etc. By using recycled materials we can reduce the potential environmental impact up til 25 percent compare to a house built with commonly used materials. This approach shows quite clear that recycled materials can be durable and environmental friendly, and with a good design also reduce the construction costs. However not all of the solutions used in this house design are possible to use somewhere else due to availability of materials.

Project 2 Lichtaktiv Haus, rebuild as a Model Home 2020
by Ostermann Architecten
Location: Hamburg, Germany
lichtaktiv haus_1 lichtaktiv haus_4 lichtaktiv haus_5 lichtaktiv haus_6
(Illustrations: velux.com, inhabitat.com)
Energy saving approach converted this typical one-family house into a CO2 neutral house. The house uses solar energy with PV and solar thermal collectors, natural ventilation and passiv solar warming with help of a large amount of glass, that also gives plenty of daylight. Energy comes also from heat-pumps, and in total gives 16 kWh/m2/year, that fullfills the standards of livability for 2020. The house was built as an experimental model and its development and construction was supported by range of companies, like Velux, Sonnekraft, HL Teknik etc. Lichtaktiv Haus shows how smart design together with sources of renewable energy enable a holistic approach in energy saving renovation.

Project 3  “Green Towers” Deutsche Bank Headquarters, renovated 2011
by Mario Bellini ArchitectsLocation: Frankfurt am Main, Germany

db office_2 db office_3 db office_4 db office_5db office_6
(Illustrations: Mario Bellini Architects)
A pair of reflective glass towers is the most recognizable symbol of the bank in Germany. The building was build in the 80’s and undergone complete renovation in 2011. Energy modernisation included change of facade materials, heating, water and lighting systems. The facades have been reglazed with opening windows that turn it into a climate facade. The windows opening parallel to the façade are equipped with motorized scissor hinges – making it possible to have natural ventilation. That is how the towers perform now: 67 % less energy used for heating and cooling, 55% less electricity consumption, 74% saving in annual water use, 89% less CO2 emissions (that by the way corresponds to the amount of CO2 emissions of 6 000 cars each driving 12 000km) and 98% of used materials are recyclable.
As you can see there are different approaches in energy saving design, but there are two main goals behind this: to reduce carbon footprint (that is good for the environmental, ressource consumption and people health in general) and to pay less for heating, electricity, warming, cooling etc. (that not only saves our money, but also gives us a good reason to change our behavior).


Random Copenhagen

 Today I was at the central station. Get surprised. Well, there’s always something interesting happening.

Frankly, what comes in your mind speaking about central station? what kind of people are there, what is the speed of this Brownian motion, and what is the degree of this everyday chaos? Just imagine it and then..
That what I saw!
Beautiful isn’t it? You are welcome to share pictures of your central station.

I also want to show you some random pictures of Copenhagen .
For example some people came with wheelbarrows to the park to mark the beginning of the planting season.
They even have a motto.

And if you go a bit further, you will see this.
What a beauty, isn’t it? I’m very much in love with this city.
Share something beautiful that is around you.

Danish urban design


It was a beautiful day today, warm and sunny. I went around Nørrebro in Copenhagen, where I live, and took some pictures of vibrant urban life. Here are some shoots.

The place where I live is very alternative and people have very different lifestyle here There is no any similar quarter with the same buildings, people background. Every 500m it seems that you are in  a totally different place. Many foreigners, hipstersstudents, young families with children of all races and creeds. There is a pile of snack places with very different food, which are kept by the locals.
Recently, there were developed many public spaces, made by famouse danish urban designers. For example The Red Square, with all shades of red on the pavement, on the walls, on the swings and so on. Life on the area is in full swing.
Literally next door is another park , which was conceived with the young living in the nearby quarter, that is the most criminal in the area. Park is brightly painted, stocked climbing wall, bars, skate pool, etc. m. There is full of people on of all ages in a sunny day.

Grafitti art is a quite an issue in the area, it is just everywhere.  Discharged special walls for painting,  “free artists” paint everywhere. In my photo guys are refreshing their graffiti painting and a sceptical girl is watching from the bike stroller. By the way, they are painting on the building site fence and all those drawings are updated regularly.

So how do you like this urban design? Is this something you would enjoy in your living area?
The last picture is me, looking very sceptical. I criticize the design space due to the lack of greenery and an overabundance of hard surfaces: asphalt, concrete, this is not sustainable urban design in my book. 🙂


Therapy Garden Nacadia

Many of us know that a walk through the woods and along the beach works well on our mood and health. We might do not know how it works but all of us can feel it. Some green places are made to investigate how different green spaces can cut the stress level and eventually prevent stress condition, and help to get on track after illness. The places are known as therapy gardens.

In this post I describe a new therapy garden Nacadia that was open in 2011 in Hoersholm, a town north from Copenhagen. I have been in Nacadia in May, with my colleagues that work on the idea to set up a therapy garden in Copenhagen. We all want to see this new green area to get inspired, talk to founders and enjoy the nature. It took us around 30 min by bus to get there but nature surrounding us has changed remarkably. From the dense noisy city we arrived to peaceful fresh smell environment. And I think pictures will speak for it better than words.

Welcome to the green!

Some facts about the place.
Therapy garden Nacadia was designed in the context of research and experience about natural healing. Stress sufferers can take part in a 10-week treatment in the Nacadia to meet an improved quality of life and return to normal life.
The societal direct and indirect costs of the Danish mental health problems cost many billions every year, therefore prevention of the stress is very important. The Nacadia garden can also function as a stress prevention place.

The Nacadia garden was established in the existing arboretum in Hoersholm, where new glass buildings were built and old building was renovated with nice walking terrace around. The place in the unique environment gives great opportunities to shape several rooms with different experiences of nature and natural conditions for many nature based activities. For example there is outdoor fire-place, lake, small river, tree houses, compost station etc.
Inside of the glass houses are different places with nature elements, water and activities that help to relax and feel closer to the nature.
Some pictures around the area.

Inside of the glass buildings.

Here you can sit in silence, listening to the sound of the creek, or digging in the earth, or to meditate by the fire.

Outside on the walking terrace with a splendid view.

Artificial lake that was made in a clearing surrounded by dense trees.

Fire place.

 All in the Nacadia garden made with high quality design and with knowledge of detail.
Personally, I have inspired by special benches that have integrated box with a soil around, so  plants and flowers grow around the seat. It could be a brilliant idea for a city environment as well. 

Nature in the Nacadia garden is very various and gorgeous, and it is possible to experience trees in a different way due to specifically adjoined elements.

I do not know how stressed I was before our visit to the Nacadia garden, but I left the place completely happy:)

Peter Stutchbury

Yesterday I went to the Danish Architecture Center for a lecture by australian architect Peter Stutchbury.
I was so much impressed by his works! In my opinion it is the best combination of sustainable and contemporary architecture I have ever seen! With a high level of quality in every single detail. Amazing work with water surfaces on top and around the buildings. Very inspiring work with climate adaptation of every house he made.
You can see his houses here.

The picture is taken from http://www.ozetecture.org/tutors/stutchbury/projects_Stutch_woolshed.html

Cycling Mileage in Kharkiv, East Ukraine

During my trip to Ukraine (the last 4 weeks) I have taken part in the action “Respect bicycle on the road” in Kharkiv.

It happened that a friend of mine is  an avid cyclist and hence the fighter for the rights of cyclists on the road. It should be noted that cycling in Ukraine is radically different from Denmark or The Netherlands, where I have experienced to bike. In Kharkiv, cycling can be equated to extreme sports. First of all there is no infrastructure for cyclists. Cyclists ride along with cars, and using the same traffic lights on the road. This means that the cyclist begins his movement on the general traffic light, and thus delayed the start. How important it could be one understand from the situation when the car turns right, and thus, starting the first, cut off a cyclist of his intentions to move straight. In this situation, the cyclist is forced to give the way to the car physically, since the collision is inevitable. The solution to rank the bicycle in this case is to set up special traffic lights for cyclists, which turn on the green light for 4-5 seconds earlier, and thus give the rider the opportunity to start moving first.

Here I give a picture of bicycle traffic light in Copenhagen. As you can see bicyclists have their own traffic lights that are placed in the same column but smaller. Some of them have also the bicycle sign above.
And with close-up.

But back to the bicycle trip. So we gathered altogether at the sixth largest square in Europe, that is the Freedom Square in Kharkiv, East Ukraine. The square area is 11.9 ha.
We were around 30 persons. Here on the picture you can see the giant statue of Lenin that gives us guidance for a happy trip! 😉
There are Kharkiv National University, Gosprom Building (the monument of constructivism) and The Military Academy behind the Lenin’s statue.

And we are ready to go!

Our route led through different parts of the city. Thus we wanted to attract the attention of as many as possible drivers to us. Our motto was for tolerance and respect on the road! But sometimes it was difficult to bike because of high polluted air, bad road condition, and absence of bicycle infrastructure.

But despite this we have no losses and have reached the forest park, where he made a time out. It was a perfect place to make a group picture. So here we go, the bicycle heroes, as I call them in Kharkiv.
And some close-up.

By the way the building behind one of the participants is not a crematorium, it is a very famous Kharkiv Opera House.
I think that the degree of mismatch function and the aesthetic image of the building is on a par with the opera house in Copenhagen.

We made also a stop at the Zerkalnaya Struya (a graceful arbor with a small waterfall at its base):  the symbol of Kharkiv, so this trip was also quite informative and educational for me. On the picture below you can see the friend of mine Sergei and me standing proudly at the foot of that small fountain.

Next we drove through the city center, and luckily for us it was Saturday, so there was no traffic congestion. But I still counted enough violations by motorists to see the relevance of our bike ride. It must be noted that the drivers were very surprised by the number of cyclists, as we followed each other. I think that seeing the number of cyclists in Copenhagen (official statistic says that up to 36% of citizens bike), the drivers would have thought that the world has gone mad.

The journey ended near the stadium Metalist, which is completely reconstructed for the European Football Championship. What?  You do not know that Ukraine will be hosting the Euro 2012? By the degree of  football propaganda in Ukraine it can be compared only to the arrival of General Secretary of the Politburo in some seedy former Soviet republic. In Ukraine, everybody knows about Euro 2012, even the tea leaves in tea.

Thus ended our 2-hour bike ride, sometimes extreme, sometimes reckless, that proved once again that the sustainable development of cities has always depends on the position of the inhabitants, and if we want to improve living conditions in the city,we should start with these small but important bottom-up initiatives: biking, sorting house waste, use the public transport, cooperate with each other to improve green areas etc.

I am very pleased that I met the bicycle activists in Kharkiv, and I want to thank them for the invitation to take part in the trip. It was fun and energetic! I want to wish you a safe bicycling, always a good summer weather, and that the city administration begin to build a bicycle paths as soon as possible for you!
Here’s my comic greetings from Copenhagen. Fight for your rights on the road! 🙂

Sustainable Eco District BO 01 in Malmo _Part 2

February 29, 2012 Leave a comment

I have promised you guys to write more about BO 01 district in Malmö, so I do it now.

The first post about BO 01 was more emotional about my feelings of the place. This part will be more informative and include some opinions of the local residents, that I have interviewed in the spring 2011. And many pictures!

Here on this picture you can see wind protection at balconies, this type of removable glazing is quite popular in Scandinavia.

So from the beginning BO01 area was planned as a housing exhibition of 2001 with aim to create environmental oriented housing district.

There are many ecological principles in buildings, area layout and infrastructure. For example all building were built with no hazardous materials used in the building process, and the building materials should be reusable when the buildings are demolished. The construction companies were directly involved in negotiating the quality program with its environmental targets and requirements.

Catwalk is a very season dependent place: empty in the cold season and overcrowded in the summer. Actually the catwalk functions as a city scale public place where people can take a swim, enjoy the sun, sail around, have a coffee with a friend, take family dinner or just seat by the seaside. It takes 10-15 min by walk from the city center, or 2-3 min by bus, or even faster with a bike. The bus service which connects with several of the main central points in town run in seven minute intervals. However the parking space is quite limited at the area. There is only 0.7 parking space per household that aim to rank pedestrian and bicycle. There is also an electrical car pol available for the residents.

Green elements plays an important role in the area. The area was planned according to the green space and green points factors. First one was developed to require the construction companies to find solutions to increase the amount of rain water infiltration into the ground locally, and the second one aiming to increase biodiversity in the area. Green point factor is basically a list of approx. 30 different measures, such as the planting of rare species, putting up of bird and bat boxes, creation of different habitats for animals and insects in the area. Together with the implementation of an open rain water management system it is resulted in a very high level of biodiversity, especially with regard to equally densely populated city areas.

The quality program of BO01 area implied the construction companies to use different architects for different plots of land, resulting in an interesting and stimulating, diverse city district which invites for walking and spending time in the area.

Energy issue in BO01. An important part of the concept is low energy use in the buildings. Each unit is only allowed to use 105 kWh/m²/year,
including household electricity and is equipped with a meter that displays the electric and caloric consumption. This target was however not achieved in most of the houses, which is mainly due to the fact that the theoretically calculated energy consumption did not prove
realistic in practice since it included a lot of unknown and before not used assumptions.

There are 1,400 m² of solar collectors, placed on top of ten of the buildings complement the heat produced by the heat pump to supply the area. A large wind power station (2 MW) placed in Norra Hamnen (the north harbour) and 120m² of solar cells produce electricity for the
apartments, the heat pump, fans and other pumps within the area.

Waste treatment program in BO01 implies the transformation of the organic wastes into biogas (through a system of the vacuüm
waste chutes where the waste is taken to the biogas plant). The biogas is then used to heat homes and power vehicles.