Archive for the ‘water’ Tag

Recycling Water, Wind, and Air

The CH2 Building with its shutters open for ventilation

The CH2 Building with its shutters open for ventilation

Some buildings have taken the initiative to make themselves much cleaner. A new and rarely discussed method of placing sustainability in buildings is drainage sewer water recycling. The Council House 2 (CH2) in Melbourne, Australia provides a solid case study for drainage water recycling. The building actually extracts street water falling into the sewers and recycles it into a usable water source. The building has its own water filtration located in the basement. Instead of using the city’s water main, the CH2 will use the recycled water for the toilets. Officials said although the water could be clean enough for hand washing, Australians would still find it controversial. “There is still a stigma around that, I don’t think Australians have got over it yet, even though many other countries do it,” said Rob Adams, the council design and culture director.

The building also has unique features to help with the earth’s natural lighting and heating. The windows are set to open at different times during the night to allow cooler air in, and the shades are set to allow a certain brightness of light in all day. The system is responsive and intelligent in its own right. “Each staff member will control their own desk lighting and air flow,” according to

In addition, “On the roof, six canary-yellow wind turbines have sparked curiosity among Melburnians and visitors to the city. The turbines are powered by motors from commercial washing machines.”

The building is the first to receive a 6 star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia. These features are a good model for sustainability, but does it come at an added cost? The project allocated AU$11 billion or 21% of the AU$51b price tag. It may seem like a steep price to pay, but the expectations may prove otherwise. The council believes it can make up the AU$11b in as little as 10 years through savings on energy and water, as well as an increase in staff production. “[…] a healthier environment, including fresh air and non-toxic furnishings and paint, would cut sick leave,” and increase staff morale.

Most interestingly, the amount of parking was quite controversial for the building’s 500+ employees.

The building also includes, controversially, 20 car parking spaces on the mezzanine level. “There was lots of discussion about that,” Mr Adams said. “But it has been built so that, in a few years, if we decide we don’t want it any more we can convert that space into something else.”

That’s building for future flexibility. For further information on this building, please take a look at the article from

Max Stember-Young, Rutgers University Student Intern, VERTICES LLC


Bringing Cities to life with Plant life

A prospering garden in the heart of Cleveland, Ohio

A prospering garden in the heart of Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland has had its fair share of downtime in recent years, but now it seems small community efforts are helping to recreate the image of the city- and it doesn’t involve superstar LeBron James.

In the West Superior Hill section of the city, Burning River Gardens has been putting small community efforts to work. 15 garden plots were erected last year and now in its second year, 13 volunteers have been assigned garden plots to grow organic only vegetables. Rules strictly forbid any unnatural weed killers or fertilizers, making organic food each year and avoiding soil contamination and river contamination (when rain drains the chemicals into the water via runoff).

A community garden such as this one are good ways to bring local food into local homes and therefore create more productive people and communities. One instance pulled from this article I was reading from says one of the gardeners who had a plot offered a nearby homeless man a few dollars a day to water her plant while she was out of town, but the homeless man said he had already been watering them for her.

Despite how little this community garden may be, it offers recreation activities for more community residents on a plot of land that might otherwise go unused. The site is also lined with brick that was left over after a local school had been torn down. A small image of a trickle down effect in the community can be seen from this by connecting different types of people with different activities. Many people being able to say they played a part in a local success, whether it be the person who donated the bricks, the homeless man watering the vegetables, or the person who finally eats a ripe product of the garden (they’re eating local).

Community gardens are just a small example of community interaction methods that can be employed in nearly every city, suburb or rural area. Small actions like these gardens reproduced many times will have an exponential effect on the livability, likeability, and overall quality of urban areas for future living. You can start by planting just one seed today.

Max Stember-Young, Rutgers University Student Intern, Vertices LLC

All resources drawn from: