For advanced learners
The Green movement is catching on in many pockets of the world. This is especially true in the construction industry. Today's buzz words, which include global warming and zero emissions, are causing everyday people (not just celebrities) to look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Purchasing property that is environmentally responsible is a good investment for those who are concerned about their own health and the well-being of the earth. Based on this trend, entire districts, known as eco-communities, are being designed with green initiatives in mind. Dockside Green in Victoria, BC is one of these communities. Its goal is to become the world's first zero emissions neighbourhood.
If everything goes according to plan, Dockside Green will be a self sufficient community along the harbour front of British Columbia's capital city. The community will be home to 2500 people and will consist of residential, office, and retail space. The plans describe a variety of environmental features, some of which are unprecedented.
Builders of Dockside Green have the environment in mind with every choice they make. They ensure proper ventilation, and guarantee residents 100% fresh indoor air. Interior and exterior building materials, such as paints and wood, are natural and non-toxic. Eco-conscious builders use bamboo wherever possible because it is durable and does not require pesticides to grow.
Energy efficiency is one of the top priorities in eco-communities, such as Dockside Green. Not only do energy efficient appliances and light fixtures reduce the environmental impact of heating and hot water, they also save residents and business owners money. Dockside Green claims that home owners will use 55% less energy than average residents in Canada. Though they are sharing space by investing in condo-style living, residents will have individual utility metres. Studies show that people use approximately 20% less energy when they are billed for exactly what they use. In addition, water is treated at Dockside Green and reused on site for flushing toilets.
Planners of eco-communities such as Dockside Green must take the future into account. Dockside Green plans on reusing 90% of its construction waste. They also plan to continue using local suppliers for all of their transport and maintenance needs. This is a great way to reduce emissions. Dockside residents will be encouraged to make use of a mini transit system and buy into the community's car share program. Finally, plans are in the works for a high-tech heating system that will use renewable biomass instead of fossil fuels.
The first residents of Dockside Green have already moved in. Other eco-communities are also in the works. By the year 2050, Dongtan, located near Shanghai, will be an eco-community for approximately half a million people. This community is being built around an important wetland area that is currently threatened by urban pollution. Abu Dhabi is also gearing up for the future. The Masdar Institute was established in Abu Dhabi to encourage the nation's most intelligent students to become involved in environmental research. The Masdar goal is to create the first ecocity, which hopes to operate as a zero-waste, zero-carbon, car-free city.