Saturday, October 28, 2006

Eco Friendly Airports

The recently opened Suvarnabhumi International airport Thailand and the Madrid Barajas Terminal 4 International Airport in Spain are some of the few brand new airports that are leading the way in Eco-friendly and Sustainable Airport Facilities in the world today.

The Suvarnabhumi International is one of the first airports of its size that uses water cooled down by heat exchangers at a cogeneration plant as a coolant for its airconditioning system.

This cost saving technology seems to be a better alternative for the airport,rather than the norm of using expensive standard heavy duty cryogenic chillers.

The simplicity of the Suvarnabhumi Airport cooling system technology seems to be similar to the water cooled Chilled Beam technology.

Perhaps the soon to be completed new Ikeja Domestic terminal should utilize such affordable technology as the chosen method of cooling down the airport in the future.

The Madrid Barajas Terminal 4 International Airports bamboo ceiling feature and extensive use of natural lighting I think also makes it Eco-friendly-Sustainable candidate. The bamboo ceiling feature that gives the ceiling this "Sine-wave" effect .

According to the technical specifications on the Estudio Lamela on
of the project architect's website "... The ceiling finish to main roof is bamboo planks 100mm wide with 50mm gap (varies with geometry).

Bamboo treated to Spanish M1 standard for fire protection. Ceiling of lower passenger areas is made up of circular lighting disks (woks)
1,500mm diameter at 1,800mm centres suspended from galvanised steel frame..."

Bamboo being a fast growing flexible and strong natural material has been presented in a very amazing way as shown in the photos, you could not even tell its ordinary bamboo.

Photos courtesy of Estudio Lamela,Wikipedia,Shutter Photography

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Standardising Traditional African Building Construction

The mud brick building even as rudimentary as it looks,is probably one of the most affordable and sustainable methods of construction.

The abundance of this material "Clay" makes it very popular and affordable for low income people living in hot dry climates of Africa to use as versatile building material, Hence there is a need to have accurate building standards when building with this material.

Two organisations namely La Voute Nubienne which is covered on the Nubian vault article, has already developed its own building models and is in the process of launching its open source information databases according to an article covered in Timbuktuchronicles.

These information databases will provide free floor plans, building descriptions, drafts/photos and commercials calculations, materials etc.

Photos courtesy of La Voute Nubienne

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Mwanza Rural Housing Progamme

According to their website the Ashden Awards for Sustainable energy "...rewards and promotes excellent local sustainable energy solutions in the UK and the developing world..."

"...By rewarding the best, we raise awareness of the huge potential of local sustainable energy to both tackle climate change and improve the quality of people's lives. We aim to encourage its wider take-up across the world..."

One of the 2006 finalists for using agricultural residues to fire high-quality bricks for low-cost housing is the Mwanza Rural Housing Programme (MRHP), Tanzania.

"...An innovative brick-firing technology that uses rice husks, cotton waste and coffee husks instead of wood to fire bricks for house building.

This technology has led to the construction of 100,000 new homes for the people of Mwanza whilst at the same time saving an estimated 1,500 kilo-tonnes of wood in five years..."

Photos courtesy of

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Nubian Vault

One of the La Voute Nubienne Organisation's main objective is to educate and promote the traditional technology of constructing low cost mud brick houses in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa.

In an article featured in the organisation has established a VN technique aimed at standardising the construction techniques of Sub-Saharan mud brick houses. They also offer logistics and financial advice to potential builders on the benefits of constructing such buildings in the rural areas.

Photos courtesy of

Monday, October 09, 2006

Bangkok Bio-Solar House

In an article featured in the Inhabitat, the blog writes about a Thailands first Bio Solar House.

Sustainability is wholly integrated with home life with Thailands first Bio-Solar House, a completely self-reliant abode in Bangkok where nothing goes to waste.

The brainchild of Soontorn Boonyatikam, a professor of architecture at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand who is also the designer and occupant, the Bio-Solar House was developed in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team comprised of students and faculty from architecture, engineering and science departments.

Although the exterior features of the house differ little from the average middle-class Thai dwelling, its true powers lie in the installed functionalities that course through its interiors.

This concept I think could also come in handy with many housing schemes in Africa that produce a lot or recyclable waste that could be put to good use.

Photo Courtesy of