Turkish environment minister touts ‘Climate Resilient Cities’

Turkish environment minister touts ‘Climate Resilient Cities’

Turkish environment minister touts ‘Climate Resilient Cities’ at G20 meeting 

Murat Kurum says integrated plus harmonious policies, strategies needed during environment ministers session

Turkey’s environment and urbanization minister praised “Climate Resilient Cities” on Friday during an address to a high-level G20 meeting.

Speaking at the Cities and Climate Action session, Murat Kurum defined climate resilient cities as those that use natural resources effectively, ensure the balance between production and consumption and develop and implement participatory policies.

Kurum was in Naples, Italy to attend a meeting of environment and energy ministers from the Group of 20.

He said for these kinds of cities, integrated plus harmonious policies and strategies are needed.

Emphasizing that in addition to increasing the resilience of cities, durable infrastructure applications are one of the important issues for adaptation to climate change at the local level, Kurum said it is extremely important to accelerate durable infrastructure investments and to use resources efficiently.

Noting that the transformation of cities should be placed at the top of priorities to be successful in combating climate change, Kurum said: “As Turkey, we know that determination in this matter is important to be successful. We are taking steps to ensure the highest level of cooperation on a national and local scale.”

Turkey is expanding its smart city and zero waste practices with regional and local action plans that were started in the Black Sea region, said Kurum.

“As the Ministry, we have accelerated our efforts to reduce energy consumption in our buildings,” he added.

“We carry out all our construction activities with this sensitivity, in our 2.5 million houses we have built so far and 300,000 urban transformation houses that are currently underway,” he said.

Kurum added that Turkey chooses natural materials, install solar energy systems and implement systems that produce their own electricity in all of its urban transformation projects, social housing and public buildings.

Published on Yani Safak News

A stadium that is the first built in World Cup history meant to be torn down

A stadium that is the first built in World Cup history meant to be torn down

Posted by Zeena Saifi, CNN on 18 July 2021, is the story of Qatar’s Ras Abu Aboud stadium that is the first built-in World Cup history meant to be torn down after the games. Would the same authorities, at this conjecture, have second thoughts?

Qatar’s Ras Abu Aboud stadium is the first built in World Cup history that was meant to be torn down  after the games

It was once a quiet waterfront, only enjoying the occasional sounds from the nearby Gulf shores. Now, it’s a dizzying burst of color and life — soon to be filled with up to 40,000 screaming fans.

It is Qatar’s Ras Abu Aboud stadium — the first built in World Cup history that was meant to be torn down.

Molded out of 974 shipping containers atop Doha’s port, the Ras Abu Aboud will host seven matches up to the quarterfinals of the 2022 World Cup.

All the containers are made from recycled steel, and the number — 974 — symbolizes Qatar’s dialing code.

It’s both a symbol of the country’s sustainability pledge and a reflection of its identity.

After the tournament is over, many parts of the arena — including all the removable seats, containers and even the roof — will be dismantled and repurposed for use in other sporting or non-sporting events, either inside or outside of Qatar.

“The 40,000-seater venue can be dismantled in full and transported to be built again in a different country; or you could build two 20,000-seater venues,” Mohammed Al Atwan, project manager for Ras Abu Aboud told CNN.

“Really, all parts can be donated to countries in need of sporting infrastructure. This is the beauty of the stadium — the legacy opportunities are endless.”

Along with the opportunities he says it offers, Qatar is hoping the stadium will be a trailblazer for future football tournaments.

Sustainability challenge

FIFA report in June estimated the 2022 World Cup to produce up to 3.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, that’s 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 more than the 2018 tournament in Russia created.

Nonetheless, the Gulf state is committed to delivering a carbon-neutral World Cup through offsetting emissions — before, during and after the event.

Organizers have promised sustainable building methods during the construction of the tournament’s infrastructure, such as the Ras Abu Abboud stadium, adding that they have procured “building materials that maximize resource efficiency and reduce emissions, waste and impacts on biodiversity.”

The SC says it is committed to keeping sustainability a main focus throughout the tournament — an example of this is planting trees and plants around the World Cup’s infrastructure to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

The onus, however, isn’t just on the organizers. Qatar says it will give recommendations to attendees and participants of the tournament on how they can reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions, including from travel, accommodation and food and beverage.

Once the spectacle is over, Qatar says it will offset any emissions generated during the tournament through building two mega solar power plants over the following 10-15 years, and by proactively supporting sustainable and low-carbon events in Qatar and the region

The reusability of the stadium’s parts is a reflection of that effort.

“Sustainability and legacy have always been at the forefront of Qatar’s planning and preparations for the World Cup,’ said Al Atwan.

When coming up with the stadium’s design, Al Atwan said movability was the main consideration for choosing shipping containers as the building blocks.

Containers are designed to be transported, either by air or sea, but when joined together to form a whole, they transform into a sturdy structure.

That ended up reducing the waste created on site during construction, says Al Atwan, adding that the Ras Abu Aboud Stadium has set a benchmark for sustainable and green mega-sporting event infrastructure.

Unlike the other seven Qatar 2022 venues, Ras Abu Aboud’s temporary nature meant that fewer building materials were required, keeping construction costs down and shortening the time needed to complete it.

Construction on the 4.8 million square feet (450,000 square meters) site commenced in late 2017 and is scheduled for completion by the end of this year, according to organizers.

Cooling sea breeze

When a fan steps outside Ras Abu Aboud, they’re met by Doha’s West Bay skyline. So when the sun goes down, a symphony of color — exchanged between the shimmering skyscrapers on one side and the stadium on the other — reflects off the shores and lights up the city.

And that proximity to the water doesn’t only offer attractive views.

All of Qatar’s World Cup stadiums are equipped with highly efficient cooling systems that maintain a comfortable atmosphere regardless of the hot temperatures outside.

But Ras Abu Aboud doesn’t need one because it gets a natural cool breeze from the sea nearby.

“Post-2022, the redevelopment of the site could take many forms and its legacy plans are still being finalized. It could be redeveloped into a public green space or used for a mix of commercial and residential projects,” said Al Atwan.

“It’s prime location means it’s suited to many projects and has an exciting future,” he added.

That future is not only physical, Al Atawan tells CNN. “Mega-sporting events like the FIFA World Cup have the power to inspire, prompt innovation and push existing boundaries to achieve new levels of success.”

Read: World Cup 2022: Qatar is ready as it strongly contests accusations of workers’ rights abuses

UNEP guide calls for ‘green-blue’ building solutions

UNEP guide calls for ‘green-blue’ building solutions

Perhaps more so than most sectors, construction could significantly benefit from a shift towards more sustainable practices. But because all construction endeavour starts with a design phase, 

Don Wall writes in Canada Construction Connect that the UNEP guide calls for ‘green-blue’ building solutions. For it advises for natural solutions to climate-related building design problems—no more minor. Let us see what it is all about.

The picture above is for illustration and is of UNEP – UN Environment

UNEP guide calls for ‘green-blue’ building solutions

UNEP guide calls for ‘green-blue’ building solutions
NELSNELSON WIKIPEDIA C.C. 3.0 — A new UN Environment Program document calls for natural solutions to climate-related building design problems. Retention of existing wetlands is recommended; pictured, an engineered wetland in Germany.

A new guide to climate-resilient building around the globe documents the escalating property and human costs of climate disruption, highlights the need to develop green and blue infrastructure solutions and targets improved knowledge transfer throughout construction.

Released July 6 by the UN Environment Program (UNEP), the document is called A Practical Guide to Climate-resilient Buildings and Communities. A live-steamed global presentation featured the UNEP’s Eva Comba, the report co-ordinator, and lead authors Rajat Gupta of Oxford Brookes University, Mittul Vahanvati of RMIT University and Jacob Halcomb of SEfficiency.

The guide has a heavy focus on climate resistance in developing nations but with transferrable lessons to developed nations such as Canada and the United States and warns that floods and wildfires are creating accelerating risks on this continent as well.

“Why did we decide to focus on the buildings and construction sector? Because buildings can be key drivers of vulnerability when they are ill-suited to their local environment, and when they are strongly exposed to extreme climate conditions they largely contribute to high human and economic losses,” said Comba.

“On the other side we also see that smartly designed and constructed buildings can ensure the safety and well-being of the residents and they can actually protect them against climate change impacts.”

UNEP’s new Practical Guide to Climate-resilient Buildings and Communities warns of heat islands in large cities, where density without adequate shading and other mitigation leads to higher temperatures.
FILE PHOTO — UNEP’s new Practical Guide to Climate-resilient Buildings and Communities warns of heat islands in large cities, where density without adequate shading and other mitigation leads to higher temperatures.

Comba noted a World Bank study showed that investing in more resilient infrastructure could save humanity more than $4.2 trillion, and another recent study indicated that adopting the latest building codes produced by the International Code Council will save on average $11 per dollar invested, “which makes it a very cost-efficient adaptation measure,” Comba said.

There were 91 million people affected by natural disasters across the globe in 2019, and US$210 billion in global losses from natural disasters in 2020.

It’s expected 1.6-billion urban dwellers will be exposed to extreme high temperatures by 2050 and 800 million people living in 570 cities will be vulnerable to sea level rise and coastal flooding by 2050.

Comba said the actual adaptation costs for the developing world alone are estimated to be currently at $70 billion per year, and it’s a number that is going to increase to reach an estimated $300 billion per year by 2030.

Gupta referred to record-setting heat episodes in Canada and the U.S. in recent weeks in pointing to the need for heat-mitigation strategies even in temperate climates. The need is heightened in high-density areas, he added.

“This gets even more exacerbated because of poor building design and operation because the buildings are not designed to manage heat,” he said.

“We also have in cities what we call the urban heat island effect where you have higher temperatures in the city than the rural areas and this can further be exacerbated by the housing density and the housing quality, so building design matters.”

Offering comment from a Canadian perspective, Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), sent a statement noting that enhancing climate-resilience is imperative for all buildings in cities large and small.

“Last month’s heat wave in British Columbia is just one example of how the built environment must adapt to face more extreme weather events and keep people healthy and safe through unforeseen weather events.”

The federal government and agencies like the CaGBC have a major role to play through adopting and promoting green building programs and standards such as LEED and the Zero Carbon Building Standard, Mueller said.

He also praised the guide’s espousal of nature-based solutions (NBS), which he called an area of tremendous potential.

“Nature-based solutions, tied to low-impact development and green building practices, can help to mitigate risks,” stated Mueller.

Referring to NBS, the report argued the vulnerability of an individual building is greatly influenced by its broader context. Green-blue solutions will mean an increased focus on preserving and enhancing ponds, wetlands and riparian zones.

NBS to combat heat vulnerability can have broader co-benefits such as flood management, drought management, dust reduction, improving biodiversity, increased health and well-being of residents, and improved air quality.

Gupta discussed how trees and other buildings can provide shading and that vegetation and buildings on sites can capture and direct wind flow for natural ventilation or cooling effect.

Designers need to minimize east-west-facing wall lengths and develop high albedo (reflective materials) strategies to cool roofs, added Gupta.

The UNEP has prioritized passive design solutions over those that require more technical or complex inputs such as mechanical heating or cooling systems.

Halcomb expanded on one theme of the guide, which is that resilient people beget resilient buildings.

“They really come together, hand-in-hand, and attention should be paid to the needs of the inhabitants and building users of all ages, genders, financial means and physical ability,” he said. “Risk reduction and adaptation really benefit from whole-of-life thinking.”

Follow the author on Twitter @DonWall_DCN.

Most buildings were designed for an earlier climate

Most buildings were designed for an earlier climate

Most buildings were designed for an earlier climate – here’s what will happen as global warming accelerates

By Ran Boydell, Heriot-Watt University

Climate change will affect every aspect of our lives – including the buildings we live and work in. Most people in the US, for example, spend about 90% of their time indoors. Climate change is fundamentally altering the environmental conditions in which these buildings are designed to function.

Architects and engineers design buildings and other structures, like bridges, to operate within the parameters of the local climate. They’re built using materials and following design standards that can withstand the range of temperatures, rainfall, snow and wind that are expected, plus any geological issues such as earthquakes, subsidence and ground water levels.

When any of those parameters are exceeded, chances are some aspect of the building will fail. If there are high winds, some roof tiles may be ripped off. If, after days of heavy rain, the water table rises, the basement might flood. This is normal, and these problems cannot be designed out entirely. After the event has passed, the damage can be repaired and additional measures can reduce the risk of it happening again.

But climate change will breed conditions where these parameters are exceeded more often and to a far greater degree. Some changes, like higher average air temperatures and humidity, will become permanent. What were previously considered once in a century floods may become a regular occurrence.

Some of these impacts are fairly obvious. Houses will be more prone to overheating, putting the lives of residents at risk, which is what has happened during the recent “heat dome” over North America. Flooding will happen more often and inundate greater areas, to the point that some places might have to be abandoned. The village of Fairbourne in Wales has already been identified as a likely candidate. Failure to act on both of these threats in the UK was highlighted in a recent report by the Climate Change Committee.

To some extent, these impacts will be localised and containable, with fairly simple remedies. For example, overheating can be reduced by shading windows with awnings or blinds, good insulation, and ample ventilation. Perhaps more worrying are the insidious effects of climate change which gradually undermine the core functions of a building in less obvious ways.

Termites and melting asphalt

More intense wind and rain will cause external cladding to deteriorate more rapidly and leak more often. Higher temperatures will expand the regions where some insects can live. That includes timber-eating termites that can cause major structural damage, or malaria-carrying mosquitoes which living spaces must be redesigned to protect us from.

Most buildings were designed for an earlier climate
A wooden window frame being decomposed by termites.
Termite damage on a wooden window frame. Attapon Thana/Shutterstock

Materials expand as they get hotter, especially metals, which can cause them to buckle once their designed tolerance is exceeded. For one skyscraper in Shenzhen, China, high temperatures were partially blamed for causing the structure to shake, forcing its evacuation, as the steel frame stretched in the heat. Extreme temperatures can even cause materials to melt, resulting in roads “bleeding” as the surface layer of bitumen softens.

Subsidence – when the ground below a structure gives way, causing it to crack or collapse – is also expected to happen more often in a warmer world. Buildings with foundations in clay soils are particularly vulnerable, as the soils swell when they absorb water, then harden and shrink as they dry out. Changing rainfall patterns will exacerbate this. Over the next 50 years, for example, more than 10% of properties in Britain will be affected by subsidence.

Concrete cancer

Perhaps the biggest concern is how climate change will affect reinforced concrete, one of the most widely used materials on Earth. Used in everything from skyscrapers and bridges to the lintels above windows in homes, reinforced concrete is made by placing steel rods within a mould and pouring wet concrete in. Once dry, this produces incredibly strong structures.

But a warmer wetter climate will play havoc with the durability of this material. When the steel inside the concrete gets wet it rusts and expands, cracking the concrete and weakening the structure in a process sometimes referred to as “concrete cancer”.

Most buildings were designed for an earlier climate
Crumbling reinforced concrete exposing rusted steel grid.
Once rust sets in, reinforced concrete can disintegrate. Arayan Rattanaphan/Shutterstock

Buildings in coastal areas are especially susceptible as the chloride in salt water accelerates rusting. Rising sea levels will raise the water table and make it saltier, affecting building foundations, while salt-spray will spread further on stronger winds.

At the same time, the concrete is affected by carbonation, a process where carbon dioxide from the air reacts with the cement to form a different chemical element, calcium carbonate. This lowers the pH of the concrete, making the steel even more prone to corrosion. Since the 1950s, global CO₂ levels have increased from about 300 parts per million in the atmosphere to well over 400. More CO₂ means more carbonation.

The tragic recent collapse of an apartment building in Miami in the US may be an early warning of this process gaining speed. While the exact cause of the collapse is still being investigated, some are suggesting it might be linked to climate change.

The local mayor, Charles Burkett, summed up the bewilderment many felt:

It just doesn’t happen. You don’t see buildings falling down in America.

Whether or not the link to climate change proves to be true, it is nevertheless a wake up call to the fragility of our buildings. It should also be seen as a clear demonstration of a critical point: wealth does not protect against the effects of climate change. Rich nations have the financial clout to adapt more rapidly and to mitigate these impacts, but they can’t stop them at the border. Climate change is indiscriminate. Buildings are vulnerable to these impacts no matter where in the world they are, and if anything, the modern buildings of developed countries have more things in them that can go wrong than simpler traditional structures.

The only option is to begin adapting buildings to meet the changing parameters in which they are operating. The sooner we begin retrofitting existing buildings and constructing new ones that can withstand climate change, the better.

Ran Boydell, Visiting Lecturer in Sustainable Development, Heriot-Watt University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation

Construction is feeding a global sand crisis, says new study

Construction is feeding a global sand crisis, says new study

A growing global population increasingly living in cities has led to a spiralling rise in the extraction of sand and aggregates, with serious environmental, political and social consequences.

Sand and coarse aggregates form the backbone of the modern world and, through land reclamation, the ground on which we live, of the materials we take for granted: concrete, glass and asphalt. A point in case, Archinect News looking at Construction is feeding a global sand crisis, per a new study confirms it.

Construction is feeding a global sand crisis, says new study

By Niall Patrick Walsh 

Photo by Vlad Chețan from Pexels

A new scientific paper has warned of the looming environmental and social consequences of the world’s appetite for sand. The study, headed by Aurora Torres at Michigan State University’s fisheries and wildlife school, notes that the global demand for sand and gravel is set to double by 2060, driven by the construction and expansion of cities and infrastructure.

The study, published in the journal One Earth, notes that “sand, gravel, and crushed rock, together referred to as construction aggregates, are the [world’s] most extracted solid materials. Growing demand is damaging ecosystems, triggering social conflicts, and fueling concerns over sand scarcity. Balancing protection efforts and extraction to meet society’s needs requires designing sustainable pathways at a system level.”

In total, around 50 billion tons of sand, gravel, and crushed rock are used by humankind each year. As a key ingredient in the production of concrete and glass, sand plays an important role in the construction of almost every component of the built environment, from buildings and walls to bridges and tunnels.

Construction is feeding a global sand crisis, says new study
Extract from study: Global annual material extraction in 2011 and projected extraction for 2060. Adapted from OECD.

As a global shift from rural to urban areas continues, it is expected to that eight cities the size of New York will be built each year for the next thirty years. As a result, global use of sand, gravel, and crushed rock is set to dwarf the use of all other solid materials on Earth, hitting over 50 gigatons per year by 2060. Torres’ study also makes the ironic point that coastal responses to climate change, which will involve significant construction and upgrading of sea walls and flood defenses, will also contribute to an increased demand for sand mining.

Despite our reliance on sand, the global supply network is poorly regulated and managed, leading to a lack of data and understanding over the quantities and impact of the network on both the environment and social fabrics. To overcome this, the latest paper departs from its predecessors, which tended only to focus on excavation sites, and instead undertook a broader overview of the network. “We take a broad look at the physical and socio-environmental dimensions of sand supply networks,” Torres told Gizmodo, “linking extraction, logistics, distribution, economics, policy, to gain an understanding of the stresses on both nature and people.”

Construction is feeding a global sand crisis, says new study
Extract from study: The global construction aggregates system represented as a generalized qualitative material flow analysis system

The paper sets out some of the environmental and social hazards associated with the sand supply network as it exists today. For example, sand mining can lead to riverbed collapse and increased erosion along coastal settlements. In parts of India and Vietnam, this phenomenon has forced coastal populations to move inland to larger urban areas, which only adds further to sand supply needs. The paper also describes the risk of conflict associated with sand mining, which has already triggered conflict and displacement in Singapore, and a dangerous black market in Southeast Asia. Gizmodo notes that sand mining gangs have also depleted enough sand to cause 24 Indonesian islands to disappear from erosion.

To combat these issues, the paper calls for more regulated, monitored networks to manage global sand resources. The authors also note the need to decrease our reliance on sand, whether through crushing rocks to create more a sustainable alternative to sand, or a requirement by governments that the rubble from demolished buildings is recycled as a replacement to new concrete. The authors also point to the need to embrace alternatives to concrete, such as hempcrete and timber, and call for the construction of buildings with a longer operating life. 


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