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Five Inspiring Eco-Developments from Around the World

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The creativity of the human race knows no bounds and it’s particularly inspiring when it comes to finding solutions to grave problems such as the climate crisis. In 2018, the IPCC warned that we only have 12 years to avoid climate catastrophe, and time has been ticking since. Mitigating the environmental harm humans cause should be a priority in every industry as we reimagine a world that is built around sustaining the planet. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most magnificent eco-based architectural and developmental feats in five different categories of life, to illustrate how these new concepts can positively impact our environmental efforts.

Eco-Travel: Jungle Bay, Dominica

Travelling is anti-ecological by nature as flying is a huge polluter, with around 2.4% of global carbon emissions coming from aviation. However, some countries are taking active steps to ensure the tourism industry is as sustainable as possible. Dominica is one of these places, funding numerous eco-friendly resorts with their Citizenship by Investment Programme. The Jungle Bay initiative, for instance, is probably the most notable example, boosting the rural economy while giving back to the local community.

Jungle Bay’s focus is “maximum community participation and contribution to biodiversity conservation with minimal environmental disturbance”. They achieve this by utilizing regional materials while helping preserve the local landscape, as well as running beach cleanups. The result is a reduction of their carbon footprint by 30%-40% compared to other resorts. Jungle Bay also manages waste in ecological ways through conscious monitoring and evaluation and actively contributes to biodiversity conservation. It’s really the epitome of what a sustainable resort should look like.

Energy Production: Sustainable CopenHill, Denmark

Energy production is arguably the most talked about issue when it comes to living sustainably. Located in Copenhagen, Denmark, CopenHill is the “epicentre for urban mountain sport”, acting as a sports facility and sustainable power plant. Labelled the “cleanest waste incinerator in the world,” it converts 440,000 tonnes of waste into clean energy every year. This is then used to deliver electricity and heating to 150,000 homes in the country, proving it to be a sustainable success.

CopenHill has been dubbed as “hedonistic sustainability” –– to the naked eye, it looks like a fun sporting resort, with a beautifully intricate design. However, the surprise lies beneath the surface, as it utilizes the land for energy production. And if you’ve not yet had enough of this magnificent place, you can always check out the world’s tallest climbing wall that CopenHill prides itself on.

Sustainable Living: Bosco Verticale, Italy

One of the most interesting concepts when it comes to architecture is imagining what future living might look like. Similarly, to how the brutalist style of the 1950s emerged to solve the post-war problem of lack of cheap housing. Today, architects are trying to find solutions to the issue of ecological disaster.

The beautiful Bosco Verticale (or “vertical forest” in English) replaces standard cladding with flora –– an entire hectare of it, in fact –– including 730 trees, 11,000 groundcover plants, and 5,000 shrubs. It puts greenery at the heart, transforming the building into a liveable forest for trees, but also for humans and wildlife such as birds. What’s more, it improves air quality for the residents and Milan as a whole, while allaying the urban heat island effect and reducing noise pollution. The vertical forest is an elegant amalgamation of aesthetics, practicality, and sustainability.

Future of Work: The Edge, Netherlands

We spend a huge portion of our lives –– a whopping 84,000 hours –– at work. This is why re-thinking our working environments is essential when it comes to designing eco-friendly offices and buildings. Amsterdam’s The Edge endeavours to create the perfect sustainable workspace –– it takes all the wants of the modern employee and combines them with the needs of the planet, all in the form of an ecological yet convenient office.

The entire building is webbed with ground-breaking technology at the heart of a digital ceiling that allows employees to completely control their surroundings. This makes it act almost like an autonomous creature that learns the preferences of the workers and amends the environment based on them. The Edge is powered by LEDs that are only on as necessary, which means merely 20% of the electricity normally used is actually employed. Meanwhile, the outside walls are solar panels that produce more power than the building uses. It’s no wonder that it was awarded the highest sustainability score in history of 98.4% — according to British rating agency, BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method).

Urban Nature: Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

The benefits of greenery are clear and the idea of adding green spaces to urban areas is one of the first priorities for city planners. A common method to approach this is with the concept of a “garden city” –– self-contained communities surrounded by green belts. Singapore, as a highly urbanized metropolis, has been working tirelessly towards becoming a garden city, with their Gardens by the Bay project as the jewel in the crown.

Led by ideas of eco-friendliness and preservation of nature, this public garden boasts an intricate system of waste reuse and water attenuation. There are over 1.5 million plants in its 270-acre mass-garden which is built fully with sustainability in mind. It features mechanical 50-metres tall “supertrees” that act as vertical gardens which generate solar power for the conservatories, provide air-venting, and collect rainwater, while housing numerous plants in the trunk.

Have some inspiration about going green in all aspect of life. Views are my own.

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