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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Guess what powers this building. Algae! Yes, the green, slimy, living stuff!

The world's first algae powered building!
If you are an avid reader of real estate articles or a real estate professional, you would be well versed with how building technologies are changing. We have solar powered buildings, energy efficient buildings and even wind powered buildings. 

But what takes the cake from a mile away is this, a building powered and shaded by algae! Yes, that is not a typo. The green, slimy living mass now powers a building that is slated to open this month!

Splitterwerk Architects have designed just such a structure, dubbed BIQ, which will be the very first of its kind. Covered with a bio-adaptive façade of microalgae, the distinctive building has been designed for the International Building Exhibition in Hamburg and is slated to open this month.

To create the algae façade, the building is covered in bio-reactive louvers that enclose the algae. These louvers allow the algae to survive and grow faster than they would otherwise while also providing shade for the interior of the building. Additionally, the bio-reactors trap the heat energy created by the algae, which can then be harvested and used to power the building. Once the building is completed, it will be evaluated by scientists and engineers to allow for future research and adaptation for future building projects.

The project is a collaboration between Spitterwerk Architects, Strategic Science Consult of Germany, ARUP and Colt International, who are responsible for the louver design. According to Simon O’Hea, Director at Colt, “It’s been a very rewarding scheme to be involved in. We have put a lot of work into meeting the technical challenges and we now have a commercial-scale, effective solution that uses live algae as a smart material to deliver renewable energy. You can’t get greener than that.”

Oh hell yes, we say. You just cannot get greener that! (Say it again please!)

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