11-30-2006 11:58 AM CET - Energy & Environment

The 'ICEAlity' of Sustainable Building is Natural for some Architects

Press release from: The International Center for Environmental Arts (ICEA)

An exhibit on ecologically friendly architecture in Germany just began a world tour. It highlights the country's position at the forefront of a growing 'ICEAlity' movement in green building techniques started by the US Network for EXPO2000, Worlds Fair held in Hannover, Germany.

The German architect and engineer Werner Sobek has made quite a splash with his home, called R128, which he completed in 2000. The house -- perched on a hillside in Stuttgard -- is made entirely of glass, allowing unobstructed views over four full stories. It also relies exclusively on infrared sensors instead of handles, with doors popping open and faucets shutting on and off at the wave of a hand.
But while R128 has received plenty of press coverage for its radical design, the architect himself stresses its importance in another area: as part of an increasing trend toward 'sustainable' German architecture
R 128 is one of nine buildings featured in the exhibit "Made in Germany: Architecture & Ecology", which opened in Barcelona on July 6, and will travel to 14 other cities before it closes.
The buildings featured range from personal homes, such as R128 and a solar-housing settlement near Firebug, to a daycare center whose roof collects rainwater used to flush the toilets, to a 'zero energy' subterranean train station (lit by cathedral-like skylights at ground level). There is also a "zero emissions factory," a high rise that makes use of thermal energy, and the "Heliotrope," a solar-energy powered building that rotates to follow the sun.
Combining old and modern
As diverse as they are stylistic, the buildings in this exhibit share a strong penchant for using renewable energy sources, like the sun, wind, and thermal air. Some architects returned to old-fashioned building-preserving techniques, such as enhancing the use of trapped air for insulation, while
others relied entirely on cutting-edge building components and newly developed engineering methods.
One thing these buildings do have in common: it took a client with interests in furthering the cause of 'green' architecture to get the job done. This is because, while it may pay off in the long run, ecological architecture is usually expensive to build.
"Solar components pay themselves off in about 15 years, and photovoltaic roofs for generating electricity can pay off in around 20 years, but only because of strong state subventions," says Prof. Fried Ranft, of the Aachen based ecological-architecture firm Casa.
Ecological building is a growth industry, Ranft says. This is because "people realize it pays off, cost wise. Plus, they feel good about themselves, they feel good in their home."
Sobek, who built R128, refuses to say what it cost for him to build. But he does say that the design stemmed from his desire making "ephemeral architecture," -- architecture that can be removed by future generations without leaving any waste behind.
In 2002, a similar exhibit in the United States -- called Ten Shades of Green -- featured nine instances of ecological architecture from around the world. Of these, four were German. This overwhelming presence is a testament to a general interest in conservation in Germany, and to considerable government financial support.
German policy – in the form of legislation, R&D investment, and financial advantages for builders encourages the use of renewable resources. One key to this is the Renewable Energy Sources Act, supports builders seeking to make use of regenerative raw materials – i.e, installing a boilers that use scrap-wood pellets instead of oil. Low cost loans and other perks are funded on many levels, from state and local all the way up through Europe-wide programs.

According to the German Environment Ministry, renewable energies are responsible for around 2.9 per cent of the total energy provision in Germany today. The stated aim is to double the share of renewables in the energy supply to 4.2 percent by 2010, from its level of 2.1 percent in 2000, and the share in gross electricity consumption from 6.3% in 2000 to 12.5% in 2010.
But while good for the environment, ecologically-friendly buildings are not automatically beautiful or interesting to look at. However, this is not the case with those in the exhibit.
"When most people think of German architecture, they still think of Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe. We wanted to show that German architecture has gone beyond Bauhaus," said Dr. Barbara Honrath, of the Munich Goethe Institute, which organized the exhibit.

The 'ICEAlity' of sustainable building is taking shape in Cleveland, Ohio with the historic 'ARK in BEREA' as the first structure in Cuyahoga County to incorporate environmental art and sustainable German building concepts from the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It inaugurated the green building trend that is now sweeping America. Other projects are The Cleveland Green Building Coalition, a direct spin-off from the EXPO2000 Worlds Fair. Other major aspects from EXPO2000 are the renewable energy windmill /project display in downtown Cleveland, Bill Mason as Task Force Leader and the ZERI Project at the Great Lakes Brewery.

"When most people think of German technology, we wanted to show that The International Center for Environmental Arts (ICEA) has been leading the way for Cleveland and the World into the 21st Century for the past twenty years!" says David Jakupca, ICEA founder and recognized Spiritual Father of the Environmental Art Movement.

International Center for Environmental Arts (ICEA)
P. O. Box 81496
Cleveland, Ohio 44181 USA

Phone/fax: 440-891-8376
Email: ICEA2000@sbcglobal.net

Pris Reagan/ Media Contact

The International Center for Environmental Arts (ICEA) is a force for socially responsible activity. ICEA's mission is to "Assist in understanding of the relationship between Humans and their Environment through the Arts". ICEA was founded by David and Renate Jakupca in 1987 to meet the compelling needs of ordinary citizens for access to current, balanced, understandable information about complex global issues. Over the years, ICEA has gained a reputation for excellence based upon a unique library of specialized, current information on global importance and a wide range of imaginative programming and collaborations with other organizations to meet the needs of a broad constituency. With affiliates across the globe, ICEA supports research, information sharing and effective action promoting a sustainable Culture of Peace.

ICEA is a place where people are encouraged to develop their own unique individual skills and talents for themselves, their community, nation and the world. The center provides a healthy holistic environment to aid people in their social, emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual as well as artistic growth.

Sustainable business leadership training programs are available to corporate and community organizations. Consultants and Speakers are available for all topics relating to the Humanities, Arts, and the Environment.

This release was published on openPR.
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