As governments around the world move to implement green stimulus packages a standout initiatives is in Korea.
The country is spending $38.5 billion on clean technology and environmental restoration. The Korean Presidential Committee on Green Growth says it will deliver 956,000 new green jobs. The four year package is about 2.6% of Korea’s yearly gross domestic product (GDP). Funding goes to rivers, forests, clean transport and bikeways and, green homes and neighbourhoods.
At the same time this strategy is driving private investment. JP Morgan has just announced that it is raising $1 billion to invest in Korean solar, LEDs (high efficiency lighting) and green cars.
Picture: Back to A future, the restoration of Cheong gye cheon. 5.8kms of freeway back to a river.
China is growing and urbanising at an extraordinary rate. With its economic growth there is increased environmental pressure. Among the initiatives to change this – have growth while giving back to the environment – is the Network City by Brearley Architects with GreenMode. Its initiatives include:
- Green roofs and walls plus light coloured hard surfaces and/or vegetation across roads – increasing amenity, cutting heat and consequently power use.
- Building energy efficiency through the use of green roofs and walls as well as solar hot water, efficient lighting and high efficiency appliances.
- The network city integrates commercial and industrial uses throughout its residential, agricultural and recreational areas. This reduces the demand for motorised private transport.
- Throughout the city food production is integrated into the street plantings, arbours, parks and gardens plus, roof spaces and walls. The net impact of creating edible landscapes is to reduce the city’s food footprint.
The improvement is illustrated by comparing it to a standard city of 45,000 people. The reductions, such as halving people’s power and home footprints, are illustrated in the figure above.
Its a well known and obvious fact that when a surface faces the sun it is exposed to more light. Tracking the sun with a solar panel gives you up to 35% or more power over a similar sized fixed installation. But the motors to make this happen impose extra costs.
In the natural world, plants have evolved to follow the sun. So could we artificially mimic a sunflower and use this to point solar panels at the sun? MIT has demonstrated just such a system using a curved arch made from two different metals. Simple systems like this should be cheap and the techniques, known as biomimicry, have many applications beyond just tracking the sun.
But brining the natural world into today’s society is not just about hi tech applications. The picture illustrates living furniture, grow your own garden settings, certainly unique!
Traditional perspectives about renewable energy are increasingly being challenged. China’s wind and solar growth is one example. Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice-chairman of China’s national development and reform commission, talking to the UK Guardian sees 100GW of wind power coming from China by 2020.
That’s 50 to 100 coal fired power plants worth of electricity. On top of this solar electricity is set to expand 75 fold. Cummulatively he sees renewables providing close to 20% of China’s power in 2020.
In 2008 China ranked second behind the USA for wind power growth. It’s been doubling every year for the last four years. With nearly 38% of China’s financial crisis stimulus package being spent on green initiatives, western countries will be challenged for clean technology development leadership.