Dan Hume's Blog

Contextual Research: London Going Green
January 27, 2012, 6:11 pm
Filed under: Extended Major Project

Today I’ve started thinking more about the context of my project. I’ve decided to go with the topic of the environment and sustainability after looking at the Live Earth campaign. I’d like to film my documentary in the same style as I did for the Specialist Project to co-incide with the theme of being discreet. In terms of sustainability and green initiatives, London is one of the most innovative and inspirational cities on Earth.

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of responsibility, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of stewardship, the responsible management of resource use. In ecology, sustainability describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time, a necessary precondition for human well-being. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems.

London has an impressive array of sustainable hotspots as discovered on the Cutting-Edge Green Tour. I’m thinking of going on this tour to discover all these really innovative sustainable places. I think it would be good to get an idea of where all these places are and then use them to put in the documentary.

This is a nice little business set-up  called the KiosKiosk, which is in City Hall. It is a place for small local businesses who normally can’t afford a set-up in a populated area to have a chance to show off their wares and gain customers. It’s an excellent way to promote local creative business start-ups.

This is an impressive looking cafe. It was built as part of a revitalization of a green space near London Bridge. The wood of the building is Siberian softwood, which has all the positive qualities of hardwood but the trees can replenish themselves in just 25 years. It was also constructed in a way to provide extra shade and shelter for people enjoying the nearby lawns.

London Mint Hotel

The Mint hotel near the Tower of London hopes to be one of the most sustainable buildings in London after the unveiling of its green roof and flowering walls.

The living wall is the tallest in Europe, extending the full height of the hotel’s internal courtyard up to the 11th floor.

The walls can be viewed through the glass roof in the reception area and the plants extend upwards from the 9th floor to a green roof.

The green walls will reduce temperatures and water run-off problems. The system is made entirely from recycled plastic and it is hoped this will ultimately work hand-in-hand with a grey-water recycling system.

A total of 4,100 modules were fitted to create the living walls and each module contains 45 planted cells 70mm deep.
Each module is fixed onto a recycled plastic mounting strip and fitted to a steel frame at 500mm centres, which in turn is attached to the rendered wall. The modules were then fixed to the frame, starting from the bottom of the wall and working to the top.

More than 180,000 individual plants were used in the modules and the 40 different species of plants are all evergreen.

Frosts Landscape Construction designed and built the walls working closely on the construction with Bennetts Associates and Laing O’Rourke.

London’s CO2 Emissions

I love this idea of integrating nature into the city. Architecture is a subject I’d like to think about for this project because of all these new innovative ways of providing a more eco-friendly environment. As it stands London’s current carbon emissions are stated in this pie chart.

A breakdown of the biggest contributors to London’s carbon dioxide emissions has been produced by the London Sustainable Development Commission and BioRegional.

Household energy (22 per cent) and personal transport (20 per cent) are the two biggest contributors. But other notable contributors include consumer goods (12 per cent) and food (10 per cent).

According to the analysis, consumption in London results in a total of 90 million tonnes of CO2 being produced every year.


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