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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).

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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. 🙂

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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:)