· January 2013

January 2013

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Yesterday evening we moderated an open discussion on the aesthetic integration of sustainability systems into the built environment. Thanks to all who came out and contributed your thoughts; it was an inspiring conversation!

Thanks especially to Emanuele Mattutini, founder of LEAP Architecture, who generously took us through his design process, which is informed by a keen awareness of natural energies and passive strategies.

And thanks to thejamjar Dubai for organizing the evening and to The Archive: Safa Park for hosting us all. What a great space!

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Thanks to everyone who came out on Monday for the opening of The Future of Energy Looks Good at thejamjar Dubai. And thanks to the artist teams whose work is represented in the show. Here are just a few pictures from that night.

Everyone was very engaged with the work, taking the time to ask questions about the concepts and technologies, and reading the full descriptive texts from the binders on the podiums.

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We’re honored to have been included in the esteemed group of inhabitat.com 2013 eco-prognosticators.

Here are our predictions that you’ll find cross-posted there:

With the consequences of 2012’s severe weather events fresh in our collective memory, and yet having survived the momentous transition to the next Mayan b’ak’tun, we will begin 2013 with renewed focus on the real climate change threat to the stability of our planet. Designers will respond ever more directly to the challenges (opportunities) of the fossil fuel divestment and environmental justice movements, and show the world that it is possible to keep 4/5 of our proven reserves in the ground and further decouple GDP from fossil fuel consumption.

The expansion of the WindMade™ eco-label into other renewables will help to bring about a universal consumer awareness movement, making low-carbon retail goods as ubiquitous as certified organic foods. Cradle to Cradle® and similar certifications will make serious inroads into consumer goods at big box stores (such as pet products and kids’ toys), and integrated solar chargers will appear on many more items that would otherwise rely on disposable batteries.

Contemporary design manifestations on pre-industrial (low-energy) ideas will surface. For example, features like root cellars (a natural progression of the local food movement), yakhchal (ancient passive cooling system), and winter gardens (fresh food year-round) may become more prevalent in sleek new residential architecture.

Concentrated photovoltaic multijunction cells will leap past the 50% threshold of efficiency in the lab, and low carbon organic thin films will see groundbreaking efficiency gains and production cost savings, bringing the price per installed watt and payback periods down to levels that will create an historic tipping point.

Based on our experience this past year with LAGI 2012, we can safely predict that university art and design programs will more and more utilize interdisciplinary curricula that combine design with low-carbon engineering innovation.

Crowd-source funding and amortized purchase of renewable energy will continue to grow and we will see an outbreak of renewable energy cooperatives springing up to power neighborhoods. New innovative design solutions will emerge for the aesthetic integration of renewable energy infrastructure into the city and agricultural landscape.

In general, we are very optimistic about the trends for green design. We are encouraged every day by our interactions with innovative designers who are thinking holistically about permaculture and living solutions that can continue to raise our standard of living smartly and in harmony with our natural environment.

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