BMW-i electrifies this year's Design Awards with a new Urban Sustainability category
For the first time ever, our cities are more populous than the rural areas that surround them, pushing green innovations to the forefront all over the world. Part of Wallpaper* magazine’s annual Design Awards, the BMW i Urban Sustainability Award recognises the new and groundbreaking projects that help keep a city clean and efficient with the smallest ecological footprint possible.
The LEED Dynamic Plaque is a freestanding digital scoreboard that monitors and measures a building’s annual performance in five different categories: energy, water, waste, transport and human experience. Designed in collaboration with IDEO, the LEED Dynamic Plaque’s neat interface shows the building’s latest scores and its total rating, from 1 to 100.
Recently launched in the UK, this little box tells you how much electricity your home is consuming, identifies individual devices and appliances in your home, and lets you shut the offending devices down when they’re not in use. A companion app displays energy usage and costs in detailed charts and tables. Smappee claims that the energy monitor will pay for itself in just over a year and will reduce the electricity bill in a four-person household by an average of 12 per cent.
Situated in a former Chicago meat-packing warehouse in the middle of a food desert (where convenience store fare is more accessible – and more expensive – than healthier options further away), The Plant is an urban aquaponics farm that compromises a fish hatchery, a hydroponic garden, a commercial kitchen and a brewery for both beer and kombucha tea. Everything is recycled – the waste from one part of the farm serves as raw material for another, making it a net-zero energy system. Planned for the heart of the operation is an anaerobic digester, which converts waste into biogas, which in its turn will power a turbine to create electricity. Once the anaerobic digester is installed, The Plant will be completely off-grid.
Environmentally sound but aesthetically unappealing, blue-black photovoltaic solar panels have long had an image problem. Enter CSEM, a maverick non-profit outfit specialising in applied research in technology innovation. The Swiss company has developed architecturally innocuous, visually inoffensive white and colour-customised solar panels with no visible cells, batteries, cables or connections that are all but undetectable to the eye when fitted on an exterior. Adaptable and flexible, the genius of CSEM’s hidden panels is that they can be applied to an existing building or integrated into a new module during construction, on both flat and curved surfaces.
Thanks to a patented technology based on the Peltier effect, the Pelty speaker converts the thermal energy of a single candle into enough electrical energy to power a speaker and amplify music delivered via an MP3 player. Wireless and Bluetooth enabled, artisanally constructed in ceramic and glass but technologically complex, the Pelty is an elegant example of contemporary, eco-friendly design.