As global temperatures rise and the threat of climate change heightens, sustainability and carbon-neutral have become buzz words. Individuals and companies are taking actions to help combat the ever-growing threat that global climate change poses and the arrival of COVID puts a new slant on this topic.
Half of the world population has lived in cities since 2007 and by 2050 is predicted to rise to 75 percent. Rising urbanisation has put increased pressure on city centres as living and working become more concentrated, which is contrary to the recent need to adhere to social distancing to slow down and halt the spread of the virus.
During PropertyGuru’s recent webinar, ‘Exploring Efficient Design’, James Pomeroy, Founding Principal at Pomeroy Studio and Pomeroy Academy questioned how to build for the future. He pointed at building onto the water to satisfy urban living since two-thirds of the earth’s surface is covered in water.
Reclaiming land has already been a practice in Singapore to meet demand in this tiny city-state much like Monaco where a project to build onto the sea will help accommodate the growing population and desire to live in this small tax haven.
However, in creating more space to live, Pomeroy stressed that future buildings should not only be carbon neutral but carbon negative to produce power to pass back to the grid. Building onto the water could also generate energy utilising the water’s power to help reduce city greenhouse gas emissions that account for 70 percent despite cities only covering two percent of the land area.
Also attending the webinar was Ron Bakker, Founding Partner, PLP Architecture. Bakker’s thirst for urban development has led him to explore the option of the building using sustainable materials like timber.
Appearing unsuitable for hot and humid climates in Southeast Asia that are prone to termites, Bakker suggested encasing it in glass to lengthen its life illustrating its endless opportunities and durability. Bakker has a real appetite for wood and is exploring the option of creating high rise structures with this material that has better environmental qualities than cement and steel.
Following in a similar vein, the final panelist, Wenhui Lim, Partner at Spark Architects, proposed that future efficiency should be driven by transforming buildings rather than knocking down and rebuilding.
This common practice in old cities such as London protects buildings of historic significance where altering the look is restricted. Retrofitting helps bridge this gap without consuming more precious resources.
This practice forms part of the circular economy emphasising reusing materials much like Bakker’s suggestion that buildings should have more than one use to maximise efficiency. For example, a coffee shop by day and a wine bar by night.
Plus with more employees working from home due to the recent global pandemic, many offices are increasingly inefficient. We should look at ways to maximise their use, giving us more food for thought about how we tackle living in an ever-increasing urban world.
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