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Friday, August 29, 2008

Shanghai Green Roofs Grow!

Shanghai gets it! In an article in China Daily, it was reported that "The Shanghai landscaping administration bureau said more than 95,000 sq m of rooftops have been covered in grass and shrubs, very close to the annual target of 100,000 sq m. The city's annual construction of green areas will be about 200,000 sq m this year, the bureau said."

This is fantastic news. Shanghai's air pollution is the third worst in China, only behind Guanzhou and Beijing. The overall commitment to improve the cityscape with green roofs is real, although annual budgets aren't very high. From the article, "The city will spend 5 million yuan ($710,000) this year on the campaign."

Like other government sponsored green roof projects, like those of Chicago, the focus is primarily on government buildings. What is positive to note is scale and commitment of putting green roofs in Shanghai. Again, from the article, "Since the campaign began in 2003, at total 500,000 sq m of Shanghai's rooftops have been covered, more than 80 times the size of Fuxing Park, a popular recreational area in downtown Shanghai."

Let's hope that with the rapid construction in Shanghai, builders and government can work together to get green roofs on as many buildings as possible.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A New Green City for China, Interview Part II

As I have written in the three previous articles (here, here, and here), Dongtan is going to be "...a city powered by local, renewable energy, with super-efficient buildings clustered in dense, walkable neighborhoods; a recycling scheme that re-purposes 90 percent of all waste; a network of high tech organic farms; and a ban on any vehicle that emits CO2."
To get more information about the project, I have conducted an interview with Arup, the city designer. This is the second of two articles with details from the interview.

So, how does this type of dream city actually get built? The simple answer is money. HSBC and Sustainable Development Capital LLP (SDCL) are going to provide the majority of financing for the development. Both of these companies are natural contributors for this project.

From the HSBC website, "The HSBC Group is named after its founding member, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, which was established in 1865 to finance the growing trade between China and Europe." SDCL, from its site, "SDCL has an exclusive focus on projects which it considers: Have a positive environmental and social impact; Can create attractive levels of return on investment (commercial sustainability); and Are potentially transformational."

Continuing with the theme of balance between sustainability and Chinese design, it also helps to consider the philosophy of Mao Tse-tung, which considered nature an obstacle, and that of Hu Jin Tao, which declared the necessity for ecological balance and sustainability. In both cases, Dongtan will be the area to find that balance, both to sustain a growing population, as well as maintaining the highest ecological standards possible.

The final question I asked was whether Arup was persuing other similar projects? They highlighted two projects, Wanzhuang, in China and Treasure Island Community Development (TICD) in San Francisco. In both cases, sustainability, renewable energy, and ecological protection are the main drivers in the development.

I congratulate all of the parties involved in the Dongtan project and give my best wishes for their success. Further, I would like to thank Arup and its Press Office for being so generous with their time. As the project progresses, it is my intent to provide updates. Additionally, I will do the same for Wanzhuang and Treasure Island.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A New Green City for China, Interview Part I

As I have written in two previous articles (here and here), Dongtan is going to be "...a city powered by local, renewable energy, with super-efficient buildings clustered in dense, walkable neighborhoods; a recycling scheme that re-purposes 90 percent of all waste; a network of high tech organic farms; and a ban on any vehicle that emits CO2."
To get more information about the project, I have conducted an interview with Arup, the city designer. This is the first of two articles with details from the interview.

As previously mentioned, the development is being led by the Shanghai Industrial Investment Corporation (SIIC). My first question was why China wants to build a "green" city, with all of the sustainable elements. The answer can be found in a speech by Chinese President Hu Jintao, at the 17th National Congress. While I am not fond of communist propaganda, he does mention several times the need to improve environmental conditions and reduce pollution.

The second question was why Arup was chosen. While the SIIC didn't comment specifically, Arup has over 30 years experience working in China and also uses a system called Integrated Resource Management (IRM), which is a tool to optimize land use. This tool accounts for water, waste, energy, and living space necessary on a given piece of land. In this case, Dongtan is projected to hold 500,000 people at capacity.

One item that will make this city unique is that Arup has provided a design specification for types of buildings. The specifications allow designers, architects, and developers to provide structures that reflect the Chinese character of Dongtan, while creating a sustainable, green living space. Many of these buildings will also have green roofs! Green roofs reduce utility costs, storm water runoff, as well as CO2 and air pollution. Green roofs also can provide aesthetic benefits for those living in and around the buildings. Since no building will be much over eight stories, these roofs should be visible from street level.

The next article will cover questions regarding financing partners, the potential for similar projects, as well as the public response. Many thanks to Arup for participating in the interview process.

Click here to read the second part of the interview.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A New Green City for China, Dongtan Videos

Below, you will find a three videos about Dongtan, the city in the previous post, "A New Green City for China." Don't forget to also read the interview articles either (Part I, Part II)!

The first video is part one of Alejandro Gutierrez, Program Designer at Arup, talking about Dongtan. The second video is the second half. They are a little hard to hear, but worth the effort.

The third video is a fly-over video, providing an artists impression of what the city will look like.

Please note that I am working on a series of interviews with Arup to further explain the project.






Friday, August 8, 2008

A New Green City for China

**Be sure to read the update with Interview 1, Interview 2, and videos. **
Shanghai has a growing population, heavily polluted air, dirty water, and power shortages. But just a short ferry ride away is a wild-life preserve that will soon become its first green city.

Dongtan, which according to Business Week, "About the size of Manhattan, Dongtan aims to be energy self-sufficient using a combination of wind, solar power, and biofuels." The design is being done by Arup Group, out of London, with Alejandro Gutierrez as the Project Designer. Peter Head is the Project Director, and Roger Wood is the Project Manager. The final customer is Shanghai Industrial Investment Corporation (SIIC), and they will be making the final decisions. Cheap? No. 100% Free. Trade stocks for free on Zecco.com. The Free Trading Community. www.zecco.com

According to Gutierrez, as quoted in Wired Magazine, Dongtan will be "...a city powered by local, renewable energy, with super-efficient buildings clustered in dense, walkable neighborhoods; a recycling scheme that re-purposes 90 percent of all waste; a network of high tech organic farms; and a ban on any vehicle that emits CO2." Of course, many of these buildings will have green roofs! Water Barrels and Storage

Because this is such an interesting topic, Arup has agreed to be interviewed about the Dongtan project. My goal is to bring you the details of this emerging and fascinating story! Green roofs are going to be a part of this major endeavor, and I predict it will only help their popularity.


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Friday, August 1, 2008

Mexico's First LEED Gold has a Green Roof!

The first building in Latin America to be LEED Gold Certified is the HSBC building in Mexico City. This is quite a point of pride for Mexico, as the building is the first in Latin America, and it is also good for the people of the city. FREE SHIPPING on orders over $50.00 at InhabitLiving.com

Green roofs help reduce CO2, storm water runoff, the heat island effect, as well as reducing fine particulate air pollution. Additionally, the green roof on this building is the largest in Latin America, helps reduce utility costs by up to 25%. $20 Off AeroGardens

For HSBC, this building is not a one-trick pony. According to the HSBC 2007 Sustainability Report, "The Group seeks to achieve, by 2011, a minimum of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design) gold certification or the equivalent for 50 of its major buildings."

Congratulations to HSBC for their commitment to LEED, green roofs, and sustainable building.

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Beijing is Trying to Control Pollution with Green Buildings

In a previous post titled, "Bejiing Worst Smog in a Month - Green Roofs Can Help!" I wrote how the Chinese government is concerned that the 2008 Beijing Olympics will be spoiled by air pollution.

That concern is becoming a reality, with the government expanding its restrictions to a broader geographic surrounding Beijing. Aside from these restrictions, the government is taking positive steps to improve air quality through green buildings.

National Public Radio (NPR) did a story about green buildings and green roofs in Beijing. You can listen to the story here. It outlines that China surpassed the US in becoming the world's single largest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2) and "The government has set ambitious goals for reducing emissions and increasing energy efficiency by 2010."

To that end, the Chinese government is focusing on its buildings, as they consume half of the electricity in China. It is well known that green roofs can aid this effort by reducing utility costs by up to 25%. Additionally, the green roofs on these buildings well help reduce fine particulate air pollution and reduce CO2 levels in the city.

These steps toward energy efficiency and pollution control are noteworthy. In addition to green roofs and green buildings, China would do well to improve the pollution controls on their factories and power plants.