We all talk about green buildings, but what if they were actually green? And what if you could tuck into the products of that very building? Or use it as fuel?
A living skin
ecoLogicStudio, a London architectural and design firm created a 430-square-foot gazebo called the Urban Algae Folly at Expo 2015. The Folly produces oxygen and absorbs considerable amounts of carbon dioxide with algae-filled plastic serving as a living “skin”.
The Folly is made of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, a transparent plastic building material. Its hollow interior is filled with water and spirulina, a type of algae often used as a dietary supplement. The growth of the algae depends on sunlight and temperature.
Algae helps us breathe
Did you know that algae and other marine plants make 70% of the world’s oxygen? The folly produces about 4.4 pounds of oxygen per day and can also suck about 8.8 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air per day. Compared with a tree which absorbs only about .132 pounds.
Algae has also been used in a number of other recent urban innovations. French biochemist Pierre Calleja created a prototype for a “smog-eating” street lamp, which uses bioluminescent microalgae to light streets while absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.
Spirulina, a dietary substance extracted from algae, was once the momentary wonder food. Spirulina can be taken in tablet form but I found out that you too could be the owner of the X-System – a tank system which produces algae so you can make some scrumptious, yumptious algae dishes.
Now I have not tried either the tablets or fresh Spirulina, but I have to say I’m not really tempted… As you will see from the photo it does not look that appealing. Which brings me on to a time when I was tempted to buy a potion from one of the ubiquitous Chinese Herbal medicine shops. I don’t remember what was in the potion, and it was not cheap, but I diligently boiled them up… Let’s say my Scottish taste buds went “yeugh” and that was the end of that particular experience.