Venlo, the Netherlands, is joining the sustainability movement with its new municipal building.
World Architecture News reports the building, designed by Hans Goverde of Kraaijvanger • Urbis, will have two terraced green houses. The green houses will act like green roofs in that they will provide natural insulation and use storm water runoff.
The building will be the centerpiece of a larger development of sustainable buildings based on the "Cradle to Cradle" principles of William McDonough & Michael Braungart.
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"Cradle to Cradle" is a set of principles that, "...an industrial system that "takes, makes and wastes" can become a creator of goods and services that generate ecological, social and economic value." Venlo demonstrates these principles by collecting storm water runoff for the green house, and using the underground parking garage to help maintain building temperatures.
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Another example of "Cradle to Cradle" is the green roof on Ford's Rouge River plant in Dearborn, Michigan. The 10 acre green roof on the main assembly plant, in combination with porous pavement and swales, greatly reduced the storm water runoff that was regularly polluting the Rouge River, and save Ford over $35 million.
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As the economics of sustainability are borne out, and buildings such as Venlo's municipal building are constructed, we will begin to see more green roofs, cleaner air for cities, and an overall improvement of environmental conditions.