A new apartment complex in Germany is intentionally growing an algae farm on its facade, in order to power the building. The hope to use the green slime to produce the building's heat, as well as cool the building. It's a new definition of "green!"
Will we see more green buildings in the future? In the April 25th edition of the New York Times, David Wallis quotes the building's publicist, Rainer Muller, as saying, "Using algae as an in-house energy source might sound futuristic now, but probably will be established in 10 years."
The algae are farmed on adjustable louvers which cover the building's surface and are fed liquid nutrients and CO2.
Wallis quotes architect Jan Wurm as saying, "The part of the light which is not absorbed by the algae for the photosynthesis is converted into heat." It can also be used to heat water, which is stored in a tank underneath the building.
He quotes architect Scott Walzak as saying, "Algae goes through the photosynthesis stage, you get lipids, which is basically a form of oil, and you have to subtract that out of the algae itself. You can think of it as pressing oil out of an olive."
He quotes architect Tom Wiscombe as saying, "In the history of architecture, trying to keep organisms and fungus and mold constantly out" of a building has always been important. "Now we're actually trying to put it back in."
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