Seeking for a sustainable Iran

Iran is at a point where the majority of urban development that could exist in 100 years hasn’t even taken place yet.. It is a giant opportunity to do good..

Healthy, prosperous and resilient communities develop not as a result of isolated initiatives but through a combination of clear vision and strategic actions. a forward looking governments should increasingly understand the importance of addressing the urgent needs of today, while not compromising the opportunities of tomorrow. Sustainability, the term most commonly used to describe this approach, encompasses a broad framework of interrelated issues that includes (but is not limited to) environmental stewardship, economic growth, public health and social equity. Given the all-encompassing nature of sustainability, A++ tehran is aimed to provide the local market with a broad overview and action items commonly contained within a city-wide sustainability strategy. A++ goal is to represent, locally recommended and replicable strategies that have successfully contributed to city-led sustainability efforts across the world providing ideas and inspiration for a community seeking to develop or expand upon sustainability initiatives mainly Encouraging Green Building Standards for New and Existing Buildings.

Green buildings, when part of a broader sustainability plan, consume less energy, produce fewer emissions, protect occupant health, minimize waste and create jobs. By adopting green building standards for public buildings, cities lead by example and help to create a market for similar standards across a community. it is possible to choose to apply standards to new construction or extend requirements to existing buildings based on certain requirements (i.e. age and size of a building).

A++ goes Green…

A++, has made a step forward to to its effort in communication and its awareness of the need to build a more sustainable world.

From today, the site of the studio will also be reached through the new extension “.green” de facto abandoning each geographical identification in favor of a broader and international vision. A++ and its green philosophy are today shaping each and every design of ours, and ever more leading our thoughts towards a new and renovated future of architecture and design.

see you on a2plus.green !!

a step closer to sustainable island as property developer breaks new ground

Al Hamra Real Estate Development has held an official ground-breaking ceremony for Falcon Island, a luxury AED1 billion residential development that will soon be home to one of the most exclusive and environmentally-friendly pieces of real estate in region.

“With exquisite European architecture, some of the finest interiors anywhere in the world, and stunning green spaces, nothing else in the GCC will compare with what is on offer at Falcon Island. It will also completely redefine the real estate landscape in the northern emirates,” said Al Hamra Real Estate Development General Manager, Benoy Kurien.

“This is something we have been doing for over a decade, and the ground-breaking of Falcon Island is not only another proud moment in our history, but it is also symbolic of new ground we’ve been treading in the property market in Ras Al Khaimah,” he said.

Built to the highest international standards and with LEED Platinum Certification in mind, the 150 exquisite properties that will be built on Falcon Island will offer unrivaled waterfront living and world-leading energy-efficiency specifications, as well as excellent value and a return on investment to rival anything that is on offer in the big cities, said Mr Kurien.

“The prospects of owning a LEED certified property in a booming property market where average sale and rental rates across UAE have been increasing by around 30 and 25 percent, respectively, is one of the key reasons why the first phase of Falcon Island has sold out. LEED properties are 30 percent more valuable and retain more of that value.”

“A second off-plan phase has been released and is also selling out fast, and shows that there is real confidence in the Al Hamra Village brand and the local property market.”

Net Zero Metrics

As the “zero energy” and “net zero energy” concepts are relatively new, there are not yet definitive, widely accepted zero-energy metrics. at present there are four ways in which net zero energy may be defined and building designers, owners, and operators should select the metric that best fits their project: :
• Net Zero Site Energy
• Net Zero Source Energy
• Net Zero Energy Costs
• Net Zero Energy Emissions
Site Energy refers to the energy consumed and generated at a site (e.g. a building), regardless of where or how that energy originated. In a net zero site energy building, for every unit of energy the building consumes over a year, it must generate a unit of energy.

Source Energy refers to primary energy needed to extract and deliver energy to a site, including the energy that may be lost or wasted in the process of generation, transmission and distribution. For example, a coal-burning power plant may generate 1 Joule of electricity for every 3 Joules of energy in the coal consumed. If natural gas is used at a site, for every 20 Joules consumed, 1 Joule may be needed to extract and distribute the gas to the site. Metrics for net zero source energy buildings account for these factors, though exact metrics can vary depending on site and utility factors.

Net Zero Energy Cost is perhaps the simplest metric to use: it means that the building has an energy utility bill of $0 over the course of a year. In some cases, building owners or operators may take advantage of selling Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from on-site renewable generation.
Many conventional energy sources result in emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, etc.

A Net Zero Energy Emissions building either uses no energy which results in emissions or offsets the emissions by exporting emissions-free energy (typically from on-site renewable energy systems).
Grid Connection and Net Zero

As happens also in our recent development “ falcon Island”, Most Net Zero Energy Buildings are connected to the electric grid, allowing for the electricity produced from traditional energy sources (natural gas, electric, etc.) to be used when renewable energy generation cannot meet the building’s energy load. When, conversely, on-site energy generation exceeds the building energy requirements, the surplus energy should be exported back to the utility grid, where allowed by law.

 

The excess energy production offsets later periods of excess demand, resulting in a net energy consumption of zero. Due to current technology and cost limitations associated with energy storage, grid connection is usually necessary to enable the Net Zero Energy balance. Differences in how utilities and jurisdictions address payment for energy that is exported from the building into the grid can impact project economics and should be carefully evaluated.

 

Energy Efficiency

Regardless of the definition or metric used for a Net Zero Energy Building, minimizing the energy use through efficient building design should be a fundamental design criterion and the highest priority of all NZEB projects. Energy efficiency is generally the most cost-effective strategy with the highest return on investment, and maximizing efficiency opportunities before developing renewable energy plans will minimize the cost of the renewable energy projects needed. Using advanced energy analysis tools, design teams can optimize efficient designs and technologies.

Energy efficiency measures include design strategies and features that reduce the demand-side loads such as high-performance envelopes, air barrier systems, daylighting, sun control and shading devices, careful selection of windows and glazing, passive solar heating, natural ventilation, and water conservation.

Once building loads are reduced, the loads should be met with efficient equipment and systems. This may include energy efficient lighting, electric lighting controls, high-performance HVAC, and geothermal heat pumps. Energy conversion devices such as combined heat and power systems, fuel cells, and micro turbines do not generate renewable energy. Instead, they convert fossils fuel energy into heat and electricity and are can be considered energy efficiency strategies.

Renewable Energy

On-Site Renewable Energy
Once efficiency measures have been incorporated, the remaining energy needs can be met using renewable energy technologies. Common on-site electricity generation strategies include photovoltaics (PV), solar water heating, and wind turbines.

Renewable, on-site thermal energy can sometimes be provided by effective use of biomass. Wood, wood pellets, agricultural waste, and similar products can be burned on-site to provide space heating, service water heating, etc. Biofuels, such as biodiesel, may also be used in conjunction with conventional fossil fuels to meet thermal loads.

Priority should be given to renewable approaches that are readily-available, replicable, and most cost-effective. System maintenance must also be given consideration to over time. Life-cycle cost analysis should be used to evaluate the economic merits of various systems over their usable lifetimes.

Off-Site Renewable Energy

Depending on the metric and guidelines used, buildings may be permitted to use energy generated off-site to offset energy used in a building. If space is limited, a facility owner may install dedicated wind turbines, solar collectors, etc. at a separate location. Most often, however, credit for off-site renewable generation is gained by purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs).

RECs are available from many renewable energy technologies. Large, utility-scale wind farms, solar plants, geothermal plants, and hydropower facilities generate electricity without using fossil fuels or primary energy. The costs of constructing and operating these generation facilities are often paid for by selling the “credit” for generating energy renewably (as well as selling the energy itself). The structure and market for RECs is evolving and it varies regionally.

Allowable renewable energy strategies which include: “energy produced by solar, wind, biomass, landfill gas, ocean (including tidal, wave, current, and thermal), geothermal, municipal solid waste, or new hydroelectric generation capacity achieved from increased efficiency or additions of new capacity at an existing hydroelectric project”.

Cover Photo: Falcon Island’s Photovoltaic Bridge

A++ to develop the first Net_Zero island in UAE

Conceived as Part of the ENERGY BUILDING PROJECT that A++ has started few years ago it refers to the development of a completely sustainable luxury island off the shores of Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates.
The project involves the design and construction of N ° 150 prestigious villas with the highest energy efficiency .
The whole complex will be characterized by the implementation of high sustainability systems , both for the production of electricity as well as for the production of thermal energy.
The villas will be built using a partial pre-cast assembly, performed by dedicated companies in protected environment thereby ensuring effective control of the quality of the implementation .
The villas will be characterized by the use of sustainable materials and technical systems with low consumption and low maintenance.
The island will be powered by electricity generated from a combination of centralized production , by means of a photovoltaic roof built on the access bridge to the island, and localized production by means of panels placed on the roofs of individual houses .
The cooling of homes and public areas will be secured by a centralized system powered by solar energy and distributed through a system of district cooling.
Falcon Island Net Zero Development

Merry Christmas 2013

It has been a long and tiring year, nevertheless our work towards sustainability has given us its fair amount of satisfactions.
We have been given the chance to once again prove our theory in the field in many places in the world by the hands of visionary investors that, if possible, have believed in our new approach to design and construction even more than us.

And once again we have had the satisfaction of being proved right: Thinking sustainability from the first stages of design not only works perfectly towards the quality of the realization, it also yields short, medium and long terms advantages for both the investor and the final user:
The end message of the marketplace is that green homes and buildings are worth more than non green homes and buildings, in every aspect, for good peace of green believers.
For as much positive this result might be, it is not an arrival but a continuation of an ongoing project that reflects a succession of explorations, encounters, and emotions, as well as yearnings as a result of the work of many passionate people, all around the world: architect, engineers, field specialists, researchers, artists, financial advisers, technical experts and simple enthusiasts along with families and friends who have supported ( and tolerated) our work and our dedication.

We are grateful to this people and together with them , we would like to wish you the merriest of Christmas and we would like to share with you our hope for a greener and more sustainable world.

The A++ team.

 

The energy Building Project

it is a revolution in design and construction of sustainable buildings started years ago By the firm with the aims to rethink the process of design and construction to meet the needs of the modern building development.

This resulted in an innovative disciplinary of integrated sustainable design and construction based on the use of a conscious approach that forges the project around the characteristics of the place in which it is carried out in a constructive manner using its constraints and peculiarities, skilfully mixing different processes of design and construction technologies with the use of tested innovative materials;
A realization that is always characterized by the highest energy performance, formal and constructive quality, low cost of construction and operation
This approach assesses and makes use of all available resources, combining ancient technologies together with highly innovative ones. Their choice and composition ensures the creation of an extremely sustainable realization. All the solutions adopted are transparent to the user, who perceives the benefits of comfort and ease of use satisfying, at the same time, the aesthetic and qualitative expectations.

Each project is conceived to be industrialized and completed at the place of its insertion, to fit in the most transparent way to the context.

The economics of an implementation based on this innovative approach will benefit the client and the user throughout its life cycle which provides a very low cost of operation and maintenance. The aesthetic quality and craftsmanship as well as the social and ecological sustainability are intrinsic in the realization of the project because it is designed to adapt to the context rather than to confront with it.

Healing garden – Nature Care

Despite the long history in the health care, only in recent periods the impact of the natural environments on the health was studied systematically. In the mid-1980s, a holistic approach in medicine reappeared this believe that gardens have an important role in treatment. Perhaps the best example of this study was conducted in 1984 by Roger Ulrich. These studies showed the relationship between the period of treatment, drug usage and access to the nature landscape from the window. According to Ulrich, patients who have a sight to nature, recover faster and need to use less drugs.

“Healing Gardens” is a term which refers to the gardens  that are designed to improve diseases and “Healing” in the context of health care is a broad term and concept that does not necessarily refer to a specific disease and the purpose of healing is the improvement in the mental conditions just the same as physical one. At the moment it is difficult to offer a detailed theory for the comprehensive and precise design of perspective for the health and healing promotion. Also the needs of specific patients are unknown. Whether a design will cure all diseases or different designs for different conditions are required? Moreover, which designing elements have positive impact on the patients’ outcome?

What is a Healing Garden?

According to the researches of Ulrich and others there exists a theory that each garden is a healing one. In order to have a better perception of this sentence a definition is mentioned here: “a garden, a healing station, designed to give people a better feeling”. Traditional healing gardens were within or nearby the medical locations. Healing gardens can be found in mental hospitals, schools and centers for the disabled peoples, nursing homes and clinics. Although a famous example of the healing garden can be found inside or near the hospitals and Alzheimer’s Care Facilities.

The usefulness of the healing garden which is built for patients and the disabled ones is a function of the amount of physical or visual access of the users of these spaces, though even in the therapeutic centers a larger population of employees and visitors, such as the patients or residents of that place use the healing garden. On a larger scale, some believe that any garden can be a healing one and the public can use the healing benefits of these spaces. In this scale green spaces with healing effect should be easily accessible for all the people who are in the countryside.

Principles of a Successful Garden

Healing gardens are effective if they have the following conditions:

1. The sense of control

Patients should easily find the garden and have access to it and use its spaces in active or passive way. The various types of spaces allow users to have a choice and sense of control can be created by engaging users in the design of the garden.

2. Promoting Green Materials

Minimizing the harsh spaces and the dominance of the plant material in the garden, the goal is that harsh spaces contain the one third of the occupied space thus with a soft and pleasant view; patient have an improvements in his good sense.

3. Physical movement and exercise

With a proper design, can encourage the patients to do light exercises and design spaces like walking loops and consider some spaces for children in order to reduce the psychological stress and increase physical activities and games.

4. Access to the Nature and Natural Attractions

Various medicinal herbs that get all the senses are the perfect choice for designing the plant parts. (Figure1) Prickly, poisonous plants and the ones attract annoying insects should not be used. Especially for the gardens that will be used for the children and patients with mental illness.

Forrest McDowell and Tricia Clark-McDowell in the book called The Sanctuary Garden: “the key to a (healing garden) is to honor and celebrate our broader human relationshipwith nature and spirit, not just plants” the nature and spirit, not just plants. This book proposes seven design elements as the strategy for design and as a means of identifying and the space.

  • • Special entrance which invites visitors to the garden.
  • • An element for the water and psychological, emotional and physical impacts
  • • Creative use of color and light (to stir emotion or surprise visitor)
  • • Garden integrity to enhance the spirit of garden
  • • The shape and composition of the garden that will attracts birds and the settlement provides a settlement for the variety of birds.

Designing Healing Garden

In order to design healing garden the considerations that are used for other gardens is taken into account design that can be used for other applications. But, the following considerations are used for certain healing environments.

  • • It is essential that the space should be functional because the garden should adapt itself with the of space limitations of the users.
  • • It is important that the design of garden should be in such a way that its physical health and therapeutic benefits can be maintained especially in an organization like a hospital, the maintainability of the garden is important since poor maintenance can reduce patients’ trust to this issue that they are not nursed well.
  • • Healing gardens are created to provide a refreshing environment and to have a restoration impact on the users. If garden is not visually appealing it would not be successful.

Also below designing principles are necessary for the design of healing garden and to create an integrated environment

  • • Simplicity in design of healing garden is an essential element, thus the space is perceived easily. Many people, who use the healing garden, are dealing with great stresses, thus the space should be in a way that does not add to the stress. It should be designed in a variety of shapes, textures, colors and should also have seasonal variations to stir up the feelings. In the case of not providing sufficient relish for the users of space, confusion and distress can be caused.
  • • Creating balance is important, no difference whether symmetric or asymmetric one. So the space can be as a sustained whole.
  • • Use of evidence, emphasis, sample, group planting, in order to emphasize on the importance of space which provides a focal point to help the people in navigation.

Create a hierarchy or a smooth transition from one area to another. This is especially good for creating a good and easy moving stream from a public to privacy place which is important to create a more private place.

In addition to the design principles, the following list of suggestions is provided for roads and levels in the healing garden, which are actually guidelines.

  • • At least 5 feet wide sidewalks for one-sided pass to match up with the rotation angle of wheelchairs. Two wheelchairs to pass, at least 7 feet wide is needed.
  • • make a difference in the texture of the pavement edge to help people who have low- vision, in order to notice the edges of pavement. The raised edges of sidewalks can be dangerous.
  • • The materials that make up much radiation should be avoided. Concrete can cause difficulty for the elderly people. It’s better to use colored concrete.
    • • Pavement slope should not exceed 5%. Transverse slope should not be more than 2%.

Healing garden designed for specific users

Children’s Garden

  • • Entries that are pleasant and welcomed by children
  • • providing separate spaces for preadolescent / adolescent groups, if appropriate.
  • • Create a comfortable social environment with large spaces, for families and staff, to spend time with the kids.

• Where possible, provide great choices for kids thus they can have reaction with nature through the senses and activities.

Garden for treating Alzheimer’s

  • • Sidewalks should be a continuous loop without dead-end.
  • • Create a non-toxic ways.
  • • using herbs and other elements which stimulate, memory, conversations and activity
  • • The use of color, texture and shapes to create a calm environment.
  • • Use of clue such as statues, flowers, water combines to help the navigation of spaces.

Sanatorium Garden

  • • create a natural relaxing space in the garden (Figure2)
  • • Create a quiet space to sit and ponder
  • • To encourage people to touch things in the garden, use the plants and structures with different textures
    • • Create a view of window for the people who cannot go out.
    • • Creating the water combinations. Water is a soothing agent. Water also creates a place for contemplation, thinking or meditation. (see below)

    

 

 

 

 

 

friendship garden

 

garden for dreams and thinking

 

 

 

 

 

Garden for the low- vision and blind people

  • • In order to help them for finding their way the edges of the garden should be smooth and should be layout with right angles. Complex patterns and curves should be avoided.
  • • Use signs to help with navigation. Some guiding examples can be tactile plants or aromatic ones, decorations or furniture, sound factor like the sound of the falling water or wind, pavement materials such as gravel or tree bark.
    • • Use vivid colors and rough materials for the reference point for partially sighted people.
    • • Spreading fragrance in different places of the garden and at different times of the year. Many fragrances can also cause dizziness and prevent the navigation.
    • • Use tissue changes, to represent changes in pavement. (Figure4)

 

 Therapeutic landscape designed for people with vision loss, outside London, England

Conclusion

According to the above mentioned issues it can be perceived that the people’ preferences of scenery emphasize that natural landscapes have qualities which satisfy the biological needs of humans. The innate linkage of human with nature can cause some contacts with the natural world to directly affect the health. In healing garden, activities should also be considered as much as the perception and feeling. Although it is extremely difficult to achieve a balance between experience in the garden and work in the garden but to achieve this balance, the designer should consider that the garden is designed for which group of people and should be aware of their mental abilities. Healing garden should be able to establish a positive relationship with the visitor depending on the stress level of visitors; garden should have different areas with different characteristics: relaxed, wild, diverse with various plants, public space, happy and cultural spaces. Finally, a healing garden, like all parks and gardens should be accessible to all the people.


References

Betsy Severtsen, “Healing garden”, available on the internet: zallio.hollosite.com

Cooper Marcus and Marni Barnes, 1999,”Healing Garden, Therapeutic benefit and design recommendation.”

Jean Larson, Mary Jo Kreitzer, “Healing by Design: Healing Gardens and Therapeutic Landscapes”, InformeDesign, VOL. 02 ISSUE 10

Ulrika A. Stigsdotter and Patrik Grahn, 2003, “Experiencing a Garden: A Healing Garden for People Suffering from Burnout Diseases, JOURNAL OF THERAPEUTIC HORTICULTURE

Ulrika A. Stigsdotter and Patrik Grahn, “What Makes a Garden a Healing Garden?”, Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture

Terry Hartig, Clare Cooper Marcus, 2006, “Healing gardens—places for nature in health care”.