If the green building sector has shown the industry one thing, it is the extensive list of ways excess carbon emissions can be dealt with. While some more creative proposals offer to suck carbon from the air with algae or the like, other, more commonly used practices include the implementation of cleaner energy generators such as solar and wind power so as not to add to the carbon problem.
While those ideas are working – and working well – for many, others just aim to block the need for carbon-emitting practices out.
The incorporation of Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) envelopes into development projects offers to create a completely separate interior microclimate that is essentially independent of its exteriors.
In what has been labeled by WAN as ‘China’s greenest architecture’ the Parkview Green FangCaoDi in Beijing implements just such an envelope over its mixed-use facilities, which include grade-A office space, a six star hotel and retail.
The development earns both the distinction of being China’s greenest site and its LEED-CS Platinum certification by tackling carbon reduction from all fronts in a holistic manner. This includes the adoption of certain passive design elements and across-the-board recycling measures.
The development is the brainchild of architectural firm Integrated Design Associates with Arup providing structural services, façade, fire, building physics, geotechnical, MEP and traffic engineering.
Its intelligent envelope boasts both passive and active heating and cooling systems. An earth pre-cooling system allows exterior air to be channeled underground, naturally cooling it before it enters the interior spaces, with chilled ceiling radiant cooling and under-floor air conditioning also included in order to keep cooling costs and energy use at a minimum.
This is further complemented through hybrid ventilation, which includes operational windows and natural ventilation. Heating costs, both monetarily and in terms of carbon output, are reduced by 80 per cent due simply to the building’s strong and tight insulation.
In terms of recycling, designers tackled this issue on two fronts – materials and water.
A majority of the building materials have been recycled through collection from demolition sites. A majority of the EFTE and steel work is made from recycled material and all plants on the development are native and sustainable.
Both grey water and storm water are recycled and conserved. Further waste waters, including rain and sink water will be treated and used for landscape irrigation.
Combined, the development comes together to create a green oasis inside a bubble of sorts, blocking out the Beijing pollution and, more importantly, choosing not to add to it.