According to Worldchanging and the Mother Jones science and health blog, the German architectural firm Gerber Architekten is planning a 68-story skyscraper in Dubai that will emit no CO2, be lit by natural light during the day, cool itself with wind power and supply all its own energy needs.
According to Der Speigel, the Burj al-Taqa (Energy Tower) will be “a giant 68-story building projected to rise to a lofty height of 322 meters (1,056 feet), which would make it number 22 on the list of the world’s tallest buildings.” The glass facade will be built from a new generation of vacuum glazing that will not even be available until 2008. As well as passive efficiency designs, the building will also include cutting edge strategies to generate its own electricity:
A 60-meter (197-feet) turbine on the tower roof and two photovoltaic facilities with a total area of 15,000 square meters (161,459 square feet) will produce sufficient electricity to meet the building’s needs. Additional energy is provided by an island of solar panels with an area of 17,000 square meters (182,986 square feet), which drifts in the sea within viewing distance of the tower.
The excess electricity will be used to obtain hydrogen from sea water by means of electrolysis. The hydrogen is then stored in special tanks. At night, the energy facility uses fuel cells to generate electricity, keeping the tower working through the hours of darkness. In the daytime, on the other hand, highly reflective mirrors on the roof direct the sunlight onto a cone of light that goes through the center of the building and provides its various floors with plenty of natural light.
The project still lacks investors and its true effectiveness in delivering on its energy promise remains unknown until it is actually built.
But it’s a beautiful idea whose ideas I would love to see tested.