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Sustainability 

Rain Collector Skyscraper Edition

rain_collector_skyscraper_cartoon

via designboom

Everyday we live in a world where we must adapt to atmospheric elements that have an effect on our daily routine (like this past weekend in Toronto). We take out our shades when it’s sunny, throw on a sweater when its a little windy and throw out the ever reliable umbrella when it rains. From solar panels used to harness those rays of sunshine to massive wind turbines to convert the wind into a renewable energy source, our civilization has learned to adapt to the elements and harness their natural power.

Using this philosophy, Ryszard Rychlicki and Agnieszka Nowak, Polish Architectual Students of H3AR (a previously talked about group here at Vidafine), developed the ‘capture the rain’ skyscraper. This building has a roof and external shell made up of a gutter system that aims at collecting as much rainwater as possible (The average daily consumption of water per person reaches 150 litres of a day – which includes water for showering, washing hands, toilet water, drinking water, and cooking water). Of the 150 litres, 85 litres (just over 50%) can be replaced with rainwater – a staggering fact that we as socially aware individuals should look more closely at. When over a billion people worldwide lack clean drinking water, how can we sit on our hands and simply flush our toilets with water that is cleaner than the drinking water that a significant portion of our world consumes? Coupled with the fact that since 1900, the consumption of water in the Western world has increased by 1000% and individuals in North America consume five times more water than people in developing countries, we should celebrate the efforts of architects who formulate brave new designs focusing on combining sustainability efforts and modern design.

rain_collector_skyscraper_city

Designers are often focusing on compact objects that provide a wide range of functionality. The Swiss army knife is a knife but also a spoon. The iPhone is an iPod but also a phone. The ‘capture the rain’ skyscraper is a beautiful architectural building but also a rainwater collector. It only makes sense and a judging committee thought so too, awarding the architects a special mention for their proposal into the 2010 Skyscraper Competition.

rain_collector_skyscraper_diagram

The difficulty in seeing such proposals come to realization, much like many things in life, comes to a budgetary concern. Investment in such a building, I would imagine, would be hefty and the trade off of spending dollars on a rain collector skyscraper versus a typical cookie cutter skyscraper design must be weighty enough to be even considered. However, understanding that tenants would save tremendously in water bills (Breaking News: Rainwater is free…for now) in the long run might have construction companies take a closer look at such a design. While investment might come at a heavy price, we are investing not only in our environment, but in our future.

rain_collector_skyscraper_funnel

rain_collector_skyscraper_stats

If we had more buildings designed in such a fashion, perhaps we’d stop singing “rain, rain go away, don’t come back til’ another day“ and start doing more rain dances instead. In the meantime we’ll have to stick with the singing, but it’s great to see architects really take a look at incorporated sustainable efforts in their designs. What do YOU think?

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Comment
  • ecee

    as the saying goes, 'you won't know what you're missing, until it's gone'… I can see projects similar to this becoming more prevalent in the short future as people are becoming more socially conscious and proactive in their quests to 'save the world'.

  • http://www.vidafine.com ben

    “how can we sit on our hands and simply flush our toilets with water that is cleaner than the drinking water that a significant portion of our world consumes?”

    true, so true…

  • http://www.vidafine.com ben

    really liked how the first graphic depicts the functional aspects =)

  • http://www.facebook.com/eugene.loo Eugene Loo

    I hope so. Really i think it always comes down to a cost/reward issue.

    Projects such as these (I'd imagine) are very expensive to produce and often businesses can't see the potential/quantify the monetary rewards from building such eco-friendly buildings. How can you 'put a price' on the environment?

  • http://twitter.com/m_girl07 Manley H

    I think it's change going in the right direction and people are starting to see that we need to be more aware but I feel that it's still not getting to some people. Maybe this will open our eyes a little bit =).

  • Alan T

    “greener” projects and new alternatives will probably become more prevalent only when it's economically sound to do so, which is too bad :(

  • Alan T

    oops totally shoulda read your comment before i posted

  • http://www.facebook.com/eugene.loo Eugene Loo

    Agreed. The more demand there is for these type of 'green products' the more designers will 'supply' them. According to the theories under economics, once supply/demand meet an equilibrium there will be a stable output/price. The higher demand/greater supply pushes down prices even more.

    I hope we see this happening sooner rather than later.

    As a regular joe/joanna, what do you think we can do really push this as an agenda for our politicians/corporations to consider?

  • ecee

    haha don't worry about commenting here and there! we love discussion and debate :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/eugene.loo Eugene Loo

    Manley, you're right. “…it's still not getting to some people.” How do we make this issue relevant enough so people understand and care?