Egypt set to open its first solar farm – and it’s the largest in the world

August 2, 2018 by  
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Egypt has long relied on environmentally taxing fossil fuels. Over 90% of electricity is generated from oil and natural gas, and the country subsidizes fossil fuels , making them a cheap option for its 96 million citizens. However, Egypt’s government plans to change courses and put itself on the clean energy map with the inauguration of the world’s largest solar park. Dubbed the  Benban complex , it is under construction in Egypt’s Western Desert and set to open next year. Located 400 miles south of Cairo, the $2.8-billion project will single-handedly revolutionize energy supply for the nation, and none too soon. The World Health Organization recently named Cairo the second most polluted large city on the planet. The Egyptian government, in response, aims to nearly halve its natural gas consumption and provide at least 42% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by the year 2025. Investment in Egypt’s  clean energy  market has increased by 500% since the announcement. Related: The largest solar farm apiary in the US opens this week The country’s prospects look good, says Benjamin Attia, solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie , an energy research and consultancy firm based in the United States. “I can’t think of another example where so many big players have come together to fill the gap,” he stated, referring to the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in supporting the Benban complex. The IMF has backed a reform program that aims to rescue the country’s economy, and scaling back fossil fuels is one part of it. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi has unequivocally encouraged the country’s environmental push, inaugurating other big electricity projects, including the creation of wind power farms in the Red Sea’s Gulf of Suez. Several nations have aided with the initiative, including the United States, which is helping to train hundreds of employees in wind and solar energy at local technical schools in Egypt. The Benban complex’s 30 solar plants will be operated by 4,000 workers and generate as much as 1.8 gigawatts of electricity, which will in turn provide energy to hundreds of thousands of residences and business operations. + Benban Complex + WHO Via The LA Times

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Egypt set to open its first solar farm – and it’s the largest in the world

Translucent concrete walls dramatically light up Jordans Capital Bank

May 23, 2018 by  
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Translucent concrete walls add drama and beauty to a recently completed Capital Bank in Amman, Jordan. Located on ritzy Cairo Street in Abdoun, the new Capital Bank VIP branch marks the first worldwide use of LUCEM Lichtbeton , a type of concrete with translucent properties. When backlit with LEDs or sunlight, the LUCEM translucent concrete panels create a stunning display of light and shadow for an elegant effect befitting the bank’s “boutique” character. Architect Saja Nahashibi , founding partner of PARADIGM DH, Amman, collaborated with German company LUCEM to develop the Capital Bank VIP branch. Taking inspiration from the surrounding architecture, the building sports a contemporary design and is clad in Taffouh stone. The architect minimized openings in the facade to preserve the privacy of the neighbors as well as the bank employees and customers. Transparent concrete panels were applied to the 46-foot-tall stairwell, which is made up of 30-millimeter-thick LUCEM light concrete panels mounted on a steel structure above undercut anchors. “The design was based on the idea that nature flows through the staircase in the form of light and shadow plays,” says LUCEM. “With the use of translucent light concrete, the architects and lighting planners are setting a striking example of how external walls can dissolve the contradiction between massiveness and lightness through translucency .” Related: Casa Bruma’s blackened concrete pavilions create a serene retreat in Mexico The concrete’s translucent feature comes from the integration of millions of embedded optical fibers, which transmit light through the material. When sunlight or LEDs shine on the material, the light that passes through makes the concrete appear translucent, creating a dramatic play of light and shadow. The silhouettes of people in the building are also projected through the panels. When not backlit, the LUCEM translucent panels look like light concrete or natural stone to match the color of the bank facade. The translucent LUCEM light concrete panels were also paired with LUCEM PURE concrete panels without optical fibers in order to maintain a consistent appearance. + PARADIGM DH + LUCEM Images via LUCEM

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Translucent concrete walls dramatically light up Jordans Capital Bank

One in four of world’s largest cities under water stress

February 15, 2018 by  
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Cape Town, South Africa is rapidly approaching what has been called “Day Zero,” the moment when the diverse metropolitan area of nearly 4 million runs out of clean drinking water . While Cape Town has taken drastic measures to conserve water , it is simply not enough to avoid the imminent crisis. And now, as government and residents prepare for the worst, it’s important to understand which other major cities around the world are also at risk. Lack of water is truly a global problem; one in four of the world’s largest cities are currently under “water stress,” with that number expected to rise due to climate change, human activity, and population growth. Water shortages have the potential to aggravate already unstable political and economic conditions, which is of particular concern in cities such as Cairo . Currently confronting violent extremism and managing ongoing political tension, Egypt is also rated by the World Health Organization as ranking high among middle-income countries on the number of deaths related to water pollution. This is tied to increasing pollution in the Nile River. The United Nations estimates that Egypt will suffer critical water shortages by 2025, exacerbating the potential for conflict. Similarly, São Paulo and Moscow are plagued by pollution due to poor public policy decisions. Fortunately, this means that the problem may be fixable, however entrenched it might be. Related: Venice’s canals go dry following weeks without rain Coastal cities like Jakarta and Miami are facing unique water problems as both attempt to pull freshwater from aquifers. Due to lack of public access to piped water, residents of Jakarta have dug illegal wells, draining the underlying aquifer and actually causing the land to sink. As a result, about 40 percent of Jakarta now lies below sea level. While Miami may not be sinking, its freshwater reserves are suffering from seawater contamination as a result of rapid sea level rise and wetland habitat destruction. Even cities like London are facing a water-scarce future, with severe shortages expected by 2040. Governments can make the necessary policy changes to solve this problem, but they must act quickly. The water crisis is already upon us in many cities. Via BBC News Images via Depositphotos (1) (2)

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One in four of world’s largest cities under water stress

Artisanal clay pots from Egypt can water your plants for up to a month

March 20, 2017 by  
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Gardeners who travel will love these absorbent clay pots from Egypt. Modeled after the Olla, an ancient ceramic pot prevalent throughout North Africa, the small vessels are designed to water plants for weeks at a time–using nothing but gravity. Clayola founder Rami Halim says 20 liters (5 gallons) of water can sustain six to eight plants for up to a month. The Clayola pots, connected via a pipe to a water source placed at a slightly higher elevation, are pushed into the soil until the colorful tops are flush with the surface. A small siphoning pump gets the water flow going and then gravity takes over from there. The porous clay vessel acts like a sponge that slowly releases a small amount of water into the soil – just when it starts to become thirsty. “As water evaporates from a plant’s leaves, it draws water from the soil and as the soil dries up water is drawn from the Clayola to the soil,” Rami said. “In effect the plant extracts the water it needs from each clay pot.” “After a while,” he added, “a plant’s root system will find the source of water and literally hug the Clayola, allowing for maximum water use.” Related: Solar terracotta water filter distills 5 liters of water a day Rami says Clayolas are ideal for travelers. Unlike those of us who tend to either starve or drown plants, this system guarantees “each plant gets the exact amount of water it needs at no risk of over or under irrigation.” And it is said to be 80 percent more efficient than conventional irrigation techniques. Just 3 x 5 inches, the Crayola has a tapered shape that serves multiple functions. Not only does it maximize watering surface at the top, but it also makes it easier to penetrate the surface of the soil. The colorful glazed tops prevent evaporation and enhance the design’s playful aesthetic. There are two reasons Clayola favors employing skilled artisans in Cairo to make their products, according to Rami. “The handmade imperfections are absolutely beautiful,” he said, “and this old world craft is efficient, elegant and produces a surprisingly durable product.” A box of six costs less than $30, plus shipping. For more information, check out Clayola’s Facebook page . + Clayola Egypt

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Artisanal clay pots from Egypt can water your plants for up to a month

eL Seed’s latest calligraffiti covers 50 buildings in Cairo’s “Garbage City”

March 31, 2016 by  
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eL Seed’s latest calligraffiti covers 50 buildings in Cairo’s “Garbage City”

Wildlife rangers killed one of Kenya’s most beloved lions because they didn’t have tranquilizers

March 31, 2016 by  
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Yesterday, a beloved lion named Mohawk was killed by Kenyan wildlife rangers after escaping from Nairobi National Park and allegedly attacking a man. Standard protocol for subduing a wild lion on the loose calls for tranquilizing the animal so that it can be returned to its habitat, but the rangers who responded to calls for help showed up without the proper equipment. Lacking tranquilizers, wildlife rangers turned on Mohawk with rifles, and shot him dead. Read the rest of Wildlife rangers killed one of Kenya’s most beloved lions because they didn’t have tranquilizers

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Wildlife rangers killed one of Kenya’s most beloved lions because they didn’t have tranquilizers

San Francisco resident pays $400 a month to live in a box to avoid ridiculous rent prices

March 31, 2016 by  
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Housing prices in San Francisco are notoriously high, so 25-year-old illustrator Peter Berkowitz designed a box to live in. Measuring just 8 x 3.5 x 4.5 feet, the tiny box takes up the smallest amount of space in his friend’s apartment, and he gets away with paying a fraction of what most renters spend. Read the rest of San Francisco resident pays $400 a month to live in a box to avoid ridiculous rent prices

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Nevis is on track to become the world’s first carbon-neutral island

March 31, 2016 by  
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The Caribbean island of Nevis is on track to become the first carbon neutral island on Earth. Around 12,000 people live on Nevis, and they currently receive about 90 percent of their power via imported diesel – however the 36-square-mile island aspires to transition completely to renewable energy sources in the next ten years . Read the rest of Nevis is on track to become the world’s first carbon-neutral island

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Nevis is on track to become the world’s first carbon-neutral island

SOM reveals design for new sustainable capital city in Egypt

March 24, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of SOM reveals design for new sustainable capital city in Egypt Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Egypt new Capitol city , New cairo , SOM , SOM architecture , SOM Cairo , SOM Cairo design , SOM Design , SOM Egypt , SOM new capitol city , sustainable design , urban architecture , Urban design , urban living , urban planning , urban sustainability

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SOM reveals design for new sustainable capital city in Egypt

Egyptian Windcatchers Cool Vincent Callebaut’s ‘The Gate’ Residence Inspired By Coral Reefs

October 30, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Egyptian Windcatchers Cool Vincent Callebaut’s ‘The Gate’ Residence Inspired By Coral Reefs Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cairo , coral reefs , ecosystem , geothermal energy , green architecture , multi-use , photovoltaics , renewable energy , Solar cells , The Gate Residence , vertical garden , vincent callebaut , Vincent Callebaut Architecture , windcathers

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