Tag Archives: eco-development

Green Building Products

Green Building Supply

There’s no doubt that the sun is very powerful indeed – we’ve been using it for the drying of clothes and cooking of food for years. However, in recent years, new technology has allowed us to really harness the power of the sun and use it for the generation of domestic and non-domestic power. Although the sun is around 150 million kilometres away from the earth and just a small fraction of its energy actually reaches the earth, this amount alone is enough to meet all of the world’s power needs many times over.

Rebates and Government Grants

To encourage the use of solar power, there are a variety of government grants available, depending on your country of residence, to help you install solar power systems. Solar panels are not difficult to maintain and with the correct care, can last you a lifetime. Following the initial installation phase, you may look forward to receiving a healthy reduction in your energy costs in the years to come. Photovoltaic panels are usually installed to supply energy back to your local grid system. The energy you use during the hours of sunlight is deducted from that which you produce and the surplus fed into the grid and credited to your account.

Range of Green Building Products

Green Products Image Grey Water Filter

Grey Water Filter

The range of products now readily available in the market has grown tremendously in recent years but it will require a little extra research to find those that suit your project. A typical shopping list of green building products will include:

  • solar panels or components
  • photovoltaic panels
  • sun control shade systems
  • non-toxic building materials
  • smart-power meters
  • cabinet coatings and laminates without formaldehydes
  • low energy light fittings,
  • laundry and grey water recycling system
  • low odour eco-friendly oils and paints
  • eco-friendly termite control
  • rainwater tanks
Green Products Image Rainwater Tank

Rain Water Tank

Green architects specialising in energy efficient building design or simply offering green home plans, should be able to provide you with a list of green building supply companies offering a range of products suitable for installation into their building design. There are many websites offering green building products to cater for your needs.

Switch to Renewable Energy and Save Money

Across the globe, millions of homes and businesses are making plans to switch to renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and solar hot water systems. In doing so, they can harness the planet’s natural resources, reduce their dependence on expensive and depleting fossil fuels and save on running costs for their homes and businesses. In particular, solar energy is becoming a very popular option for the powering of homes and wind power is gaining in popularity for commercial or remote area sites where the wind is strong.

To meet this significant increase in worldwide demand, green building supply companies are proliferating – resulting in a larger selection of green building products, sustainable materials and environmentally friendly options. The majority of manufacturers or agents selling these products will be able to advise you on the best choice for your project, according to your budget and preferences. Your architect should also be able to advise you about green building certification once you have completed your building project.

Eco-Development Website

Image eco compound

Eco-compound Using Green Building Products

If you are looking for a green building supply company – take a look online, visit the many websites available and compare the choices, the range, guarantees offered and prices. Refer to this eco-development website for a suggested list of suppliers and products used in an award-winning eco-compound created for two families in Western Australia.

Ask For Recommendations

Ask for referrals: if you know someone who has recently undertaken a successful green project, for example installing photovoltaic panels or a solar hot water system, ask them who they used. With a little research, you could soon be on your way to reducing your carbon footprint and making a real difference to our planet by joining the worldwide trend to using green building supply products. In addition to restricting use of  toxic substances indoors, with attention to your outdoor landscape you can create a healthy eco-system for birds and frogs.

Image Green Building Products Eco System

Healthy Eco-System

For more information on energy efficient architecture and how to build a green building, check out the green home building books and dvds available in the solar-e shop.
The more you know about the principles of low energy building design, the more appreciative you will be of the design process. We highly recommend the user-friendly green building design guide “Low Energy Buildings in Australia”.




Green Architects

As we all become more aware of green issues and the impact that that our lifestyles and consumption patterns have on our environment, many people are examining their living patterns and the way their homes are constructed, in order to reduce their energy demands.

Green Architects Professional Training

As this interest has increased, the architectural profession has responded with specific environmental architecture training courses to enhance the skills of those interested in becoming green architects.

Natural Comfort

When new buildings are designed by experienced green architects, using the latest energy-efficient principles, owners enjoy reduced energy consumption and a more naturally comfortable environment. Owners of non-energy efficient buildings may ‘retro-fit’ their existing buildings to reduce energy loads and achieve greater comfort.

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Sustainable City Masdar

The sustainable city of Masdar, designed to house 50,000 people and covering an area of 7 sq. km. on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, will be the world’s first carbon neutral city.

Whilst we in Australia are still debating how to tackle Climate Change and implement policies to shift from carbon-guzzling fuels to alternative energy, in a most unlikely place in the world, the United Arab Emirates is well on its way to making this shift. Based on policy decisions made years ago, the UAE already has real programs for a carbon neutral sustainable city at an advanced stage of implementation.

The State of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, launched their Masdar ‘Carbon Neutral’ City Plan and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (‘MIST’) in 2007. Four years later, sustainable city Masdar, with MIST (associated with USA’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology) at its centre, is under construction.

Masdar Institute of Science and Technology

Image Solar Panel Roof MIST

Sustainable City Solar Panel Rooftop

MIST, with onsite student accommodation facilities, solar, geothermal and construction prototype practice facilities was designed by Lord Foster (Foster & Partners Architects UK) has been completed. Abhu Dabi’s Future Energy Company (FEC’) Headquarters, also designed by Foster, is now under construction.

Sustainable City Promises

Image of model Masdar Sustainable City

Residential Quarter Model by Aedas Int'l

The water use savings for Masdar are huge. For a city of 50,000 people the sustainable city designers promise 8,000 cu m3 of desalinated water use compared to 20,000 cu m for a conventional city: a saving of $2 billion in oil use over 25 years.

Additionally, the design offers 99% recycling of city/construction waste and a car-free person-mover automated transport system with 200m maximum  walking distance from domicile to public transport.

Whilst China’s Dong Tan Eco-City has yet to get off the drawing board, the Masdar development is in its second stage.

Alternative Energy Companies Hub

Construction of a hub of 1,500 alternative and sustainable energy and associated technologies companies, including company giants like Siemens, are taking space around the administrative core of the city.

Benefitting From Results

It is the FEC management and the Masdar Institute that methodically plot the technological space and the standards that define this carbon neutral city. Their aim is to develop methodologies, intellectual property and hardware which Masdar FEC’s management will sell to the rest of the world:

Reproduce Masdar Elsewhere

The management of MIST distils the results of field testing from their various initiatives, including the use of materials and their  industry applications to define guidelines based on these results.

Abu Dhabi intends to leverage the knowledge gained in developing this sustainable city with a minimum carbon footprint, by building other sustainable communities elsewhere.

The Masdar project is developing through a six-pronged development structure consisting of:

1.    Masdar Institute of Science and Technology,
2.    Masdar Research Network,
3.    Innovation and Investment,
4.    Special Projects,
5.    Carbon Management and
6.    Masdar Zone Development

What Australia Can Learn From Masdar

There are lessons here for Australia, specifically ‘how to implement and quickly achieve real results,’ in a situation where we are running out of time.

This article written by Sasha Ivanovich FRAIA

SIA Architects Pty Ltd



Sasha recently returned from a four week study of the City of Masdar as the recipient of the Commonwealth Endeavour Award and hosted by Aedas International in UAE and supported by RISE.

What is Eco-Development?

Garry Baverstock
Co-Founder & Director, solar-e.com
Email: g.baverstock@solar-e.com

World Population

With the world’s population growing currently at around 85 million per year, human habitation is set to double in the first half of the 21st Century. But there are other factors that may step in to curtail this chilling estimate such as:

  • Increased mortality due to disease and starvation.
  • Rising ocean levels and climate change damage
  • Better education of women
  • More focused government policy / aid
  • Economic sustainability
  • Cultural adjustment

By readjusting for these factors, credible predictions place the world’s population likely to peak at approximately 8 billion (current global population is nearly 6 billion). So population increase on planet earth could grow to 12 billion by 2050. As Dr David Suzuki has rightly pointed out many times in his public talks around the world, there are too many people, but more importantly too many consuming people. 20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of the the worlds resources. The majority (80%) have to live on 20% of the worlds resources. Clearly this is unsustainable and unreasonable. In fact it is inhumane when one considers that most people are subsisting day to day. It is destined to worsen before matters improve. Eco-development could be an important part of the eventual solution.

Suzuki’s Warnings

At Winthrop Hall, University of Western Australia, October 30th, 2002, Dr David Suzuki made a number of points which demonstrate that political power brokers are getting it very wrong in relation to a number of key issues:

Conservation of our oceans and marine eco-systems
90% of the world’s fish have disappeared. 80% to 90% of newly born fish are harvested. A natural hunter / gatherer sustainable level would be 5%…

Food production
Land degradation, rising salt and drought due to climate change is making it harder and harder for humans to subsist on natural healthy food…

Genetically modified food
The genetic effects on humans could take generations to detect. We are sailing “blind” when we rely on genetic modification. to provide the increased food production needed. Much more research is required before wholesale adoption is planned. Monitoring of effects over generations will be needed before genetic safety of human life can be guaranteed…

Air pollution
Increased levels is causing enormous increases in asthma and respiratory diseases and has become a significant killer of the young in the badly polluted centers around this world…

Weather catastrophes
The increased levels of drought, flood and cyclones is placing enormous economic burdens on many regions around the planet. If not averted soon, climate change effects will become unmanageable. The cost of insurance, capital replacement will become an enormous burden to all societies…

Ecological footprint
The ratio of land required to provide resources to sustain the consumption level of human beings is known as an “ecological footprint” . This consumption could be due to “need” (for survival) or for “greed” (satisfying ones insatiable desire for material well being or wealth).
If all human beings lived like Australians, Canadians or Americans we would need the equivalent of 6 planets to provide the necessary resources!…

Catastrophe Inevitable?

If population continues to grow and the citizens of the developed world do not re-evaluate our priorities, style of living and value system, it does not take a great deal of intelligence to see that this world is heading for disaster economically, socially and ecologically. Urgent action is needed! This is to avoid damage (already irreparable in many cases) and prevent further damage in the future.

Is catastrophe inevitable? Not in the sense of a sudden single event will it be obvious. The gradual degradation of the quality of life and extent of bio diversity will only be realized by our children, grandchildren and the future generations. The consequences of actions (or lack of action) of people living in the 20th century and the early part of the 21st century will be judged as catastrophic or not by them! There is a huge weight of evidence that environmental damage is immense and escalating at an alarming rate.

The ability to avert calamities of the future is completely in the hands of the decision makers of today.

The Five Elements

All indigenous cultures over millennia of evolution of living in harmony with nature got the necessary insight into balanced living. They saw their lives intertwined with the 5 elements:

EarthAirWaterFireEther (love)

Suzuki’s talks highlight the integral relationship with the elements and by trashing or abusing them we are simply being destructive to ourselves. We are part and parcel with life, with no boundaries of past, present or future. One only has to look at life philosophies and mysticism of the American Indian tribes of America, the Aborigines of Australia, the Vedic culture of Central and Southern Asia, and ancient tribes of Africa to see a common sustainable position with nature.

About 7000 years ago all humans lived in balance with nature as hunter, gatherers, small cultivators and herders. Prior to that time the world population for millennia had peaked at a sustainable level of 5 million. By 2000AD this has grown over 5.5 billion!

Perhaps ecological sustainability is indivisible from our past relationship and balance with nature. By destroying indigenous cultures modern societies stand to risk destroying all the valuable secrets of life and human satisfaction through a healthy relationship with the five elements.

Main Challenges

The future of 8 billion people will need to be addressed as soon as possible during the 21st century and the needs, wants and desires accommodated in the development process while protecting Mother Earth.

  • Review material needs for health and happiness
  • Recreate dreams and aspirations for a “better life”
  • Strengthen Cultural bonds and relationship with the earth
  • Attain a stronger spiritual connection to nature and community
  • Re-think the basis of evaluating economic success
  • Re-direct energy supply towards a “solar economy”
  • Establish new, appropriate Urban living patterns

Levels of Protection

In meeting these challenges we must observe a number of layers of consideration. Here is our suggested checklist;

  • International Principles (U.N. decrees)
  • Pristine Wilderness Areas
  • Nature Areas Under Threat
  • Nature Areas For Rehabilitation
  • Reassess Suburban Development
  • Density City Living
  • Eco-Village Developments
    • Tourist Destinations
      • Inland
      • Coastal
    • Suburban
    • Rural
    • Urban
      • City
      • Country
    • Indigenous Communities
  • Urban Nature Reserves and Parklands

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