London’s Elephant & Castle quarter (not to be confused with the popular North American foodie chain) recently unveiled its plan for the Castle House skyscraper, an eco-residential tower project in South London. Castle House is just one part of the district’s Regeneration Program, which aims to improve the overall living and business conditions of the area. According to Elephant & Castle,
The [regeneration] scheme will be carbon neutral, despite almost tripling the number of homes and businesses in the area, and with a focus on renewable energies including wind and solar power, it will set a new benchmark for green development of the highest eco-standards.
The location of the Castle House and its design were decided after a full site analysis was done to look at internal planning efficiencies, access requirements, and wind. Striving for an Ecohomes (the UK’s version of the American LEED system) rating of “excellent,” the complex (one 43-story high-rise and one five-story pavilion) will feature three nine-meter (30-foot) diameter wind turbines and a combined heat and power plant. Castle House’s carbon emissions are expected to be 15% lower than the benchmarks set by the city and energy costs per apartment are expected to be up to 40% less than the typical UK housing average, according to Multiplex Developments. There will be about 408 apartments in the two-building complex. Construction on the Castle House will begin this fall, and is set to finish by early 2010.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings account for 40% of carbon emissions in the U.S. “What few people realize is that buildings have the greatest impact on climate change — more than transportation and industry — because they consume so much electricity and natural gas, and they’re all powered by power plants that themselves produce carbon emissions,” AIA spokesperson Scott Frank told the Environmental News Network. But while many applaud Elephant & Castle and design team Hamiltons, others fear the Castle House will be an eyesore. Check out BLDG BLOG and Inhabitat for recent postings about Castle House.
Also be sure to check out the American Institute of Architects annual top 10 best Green buildings contest in the United States. This year’s winners ranged from the Sidwell Friends Middle School in Washington, D.C., to the EpiCenter in Boston, Mass., to the Wayne L. Morse U.S. Courthouse in Eugene, Ore. The eco-designs are simple, yet effective. Green concepts ranged from using solar powered chimneys to a cooling system that uses deep seawater. The winners, and details about each building, were featured in an eight-minute video that aired on Current TV last April.
- Nat Geo Expeditions