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Reaching for a Sustainable World

Mother Nature is degrading due to the increasing exposure to greenhouse gasses caused by flawed human activities. To prevent the Earths demise, society should maintain green and sustainable lifestyles. Sustainability could be achieved if people are able to maintain an ecological balance in the Earths environment, thus avoiding an extreme depletion of our natural resources.1 There are many aspects of our everyday life that could be made sustainable, including our homes. A green building and a city are characterized by their effective and least disruptive use of resources that assure the healthiest form of environment.2 They are essentially architecture that aims for eternity (Christopher Wren), or otherwise meaning they could sustain itself with green resources and encourage sustainability. In order to realize our envisioned green and sustainable world, one must first learn the technology that a green building, and a green city, should possess. For instance, the sustainable city of Masdar in Abu Dhabi is an example of a green city that built their own research center in order to provide their city with the best green technology, even throughout the citys construction. As a result, most of its energy is originated from the 10 MW of solar energy that is able to power approximately 22 hectares of the city. Moreover, Masdar city provides a green public transportation system and paved sidewalks for pedestrians, because private vehicles are forbidden on the site. Lastly, this city is filled with various kinds of sustainable facilities and living buildings that are made out of recycled materials from previous constructions. Additionally, the citys planning is designed in a way that would save energy, such as how all the buildings are built close to each other to provide shade and cool the citys temperature, thus minimizing the use of air conditioners. 3

1 2

Ehrlich, Eugene. Oxford American Dictionary. New York: Oxford UP, 1980. Print.

"WHAT IS A GREEN BUILDING? Fundamental Principles of Green Building and Sustainable Site Design." Governor's Green Government Council. Governor's Green Government Council, n.d. Web. 20 May 2013. < statelocalclimate/documents/pdf/12_8_what_is_green_GGGC.pdf>.

Masdar: The City of the Future. YouTube. YouTube, 26 Sept. 2012. Web. 20 May 2013. < watch?v=NIaz61zpLfs>.

Masdar City
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Masdar City: Aerial View

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Furthermore, a sustainable city should be adorned with sustainable buildings. An immaculate example of a green building is the Vivaldi tower located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This 28 stories building is made by the Foster & Partners architectural group located in the United Kingdom. It is characterized by its use of environmentally friendly resources, such as the steel diagrid with a mixture of opaque and transparent glazing that are used to create the faade. These materials prompt natural sunlight to enter the building during the day, thus minimizing the use of energy for electrical lighting. Moreover, the abundance of sunlight garner heat inside the building, consequently reducing the energy use for heaters during the winter. Moreover, this building is known to utilize environmentally friendly resources, such as wind and geothermal power, which are the two mostly used renewable energy resources in the Netherlands. This means that the Vivaldi tower is not only a green building, but also a living building, which is a term invented by William McDonough to refer the buildings that are able to sustain themselves from the infinite renewable energy resources.4

McDonough, William, Cradle to Cradle, P. 49.

Vivaldi Towers Faade Vivaldi Tower

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There are other ountless of conventional ways that a building and a city could be made sustainable. Nonetheless, the most crucial aspect of making a city green is the promotion of sustainable lifestyle to the citys residents, especially by the government. Changing the mindset of the people to be green will probably be the most difficult phase of making a city truly sustainable. However, the world will only be genuinely sustainable if the entire community care for their environments well being.