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Innovation

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY

Geothermal energy is energy in the form of heat that is located below the earth’s surface. Heat exchange with the terrain is done through the various capturing systems. Geothermal energy of low temperature is constantly regenerated with sunlight, rain and the internal heat of the earth. Geothermal energy is one of the most efficient renewable energies, usable in any location of the planet, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The geothermal heat pump makes use of the underground’s constant temperature throughout the year. For example, the one contained within the terrain surrounding the houses or in the groundwater, absorbing or giving in heat to the terrain through the various geothermal capturing systems. This allows to heat your home during winter, to cool it in the summer and to produce hot water in a very efficient manner. This type of energy has been used for over 40 years in countries like Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, France and USA, therefore its usage is very reliable since it’s a mature technology.
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PASSIVHAUS

PASSIVHAUS

The passive house or passivhaus was created as consequence of the 1980s oil crisis and the rise of the fuel prices. A group of physicians and engineers gathered together to find a way to reduce heating usage. From this collaboration new strategies were designed at an architectural level. In 1991 the first passive building was finished in Germany and, since then, the Passivhaus has been gradually introduced and its usage has spread all over the world. The Passivhaus certification, in German, or Passive House in English was originated from this, the standard that defines the buildings with the most energy-efficient architecture. The expression ‘passive’ is used to define the principle of capturing, storage and distribution capable of working on its own, without external energy nor gear, and that involves simple techniques. What’s a passive house then? It’s an ecological and efficient building made to greatly minimize the energy intake of the building through the planification of the global design. Specifically, it reduces 90% of energy intake compared to a regular house. The whole building is constructed with the purpose of creating protection from outside and making a comfortable environment inside without conventional air conditioning. These are houses created under bioclimatic principles – climate studies, orientation, solar radiation capturing during winter and protection during summer. They’re hermetic with air renovation through a ventilation system with a heat recovery unit that renews the air without heat loss. Its secret relies on combining a high interior comfort with a low energy intake, and at a very affordable price, which allows to amortize the investment of the building in a much shorter time compared to a regular one.
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3D PRINTED HOUSES

3D PRINTED HOUSES

In 2004, a professor at the University of South Carolina first began 3D printing a concrete wall. Its technology, Contour Crafting, consisted of a 3D printer of the FDM type, mounted on a robotic arm that created layers of concrete from a 3D model and would be able to create a house in an automated way in just 20 hours. To date, several countries have developed different technologies and machinery to be able to use different materials (not just concrete) for their purpose. More and more companies are interested in this technology and use it in real works. What are the advantages of 3D printing for construction? First of all, we would save a lot of time. We would be able to complete a month's work in just 7 days. We would reduce risks, difficulties and waste, as well as costs. The amount of materials and the environmental impact would be less. Work accidents would decrease progressively. The question that worries everyone is the following: What will happen to the workers in this construction sector, if 3D printing will become commonplace? Will they lose their jobs? In the view of various specialists in this field, the trades would simply evolve and turn low-skilled workers into robot controllers or digital masonry operators. Not to mention that additive manufacturing would create many new jobs. Concrete printing is expected to reach millions in the not-so-distant future.
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