The concept of Eco-city revolves around the idea of building more environmentally sustainable urban fabrics that work hand-in-hand with the technology to reduce the energy needs and carbon footprint. Looking at the current rate of urban sprawl and the inability to accommodate huge populations, cities grow abruptly leading to uncompensated losses to the entire population and eventually to the environment. The theory of Eco-city draws attention to the valuable resources around us and help a city grow within the ecological frame.
What is an Eco-city?
Eco-cities can be defined as the ecological powerhouses built by the people to generate more renewable energy to simultaneously reduce the effects of climate change and build a healthier community. It concentrates on improving the environmental effects, utilization of existing resources and financial stability of the inhabitants which eventually leads to socio-economic growth and elevated quality of lifestyle.
The aim of building Eco-cities includes many fundamental solutions like solar energy generation, intelligent use of natural resources and working towards improving the ecosystem around the region. Technologically advanced inventions to reduce the emissions by industrial areas in the cities are still being incorporated in the concept to minimize the amount of pollution in the urban areas.
How can the carbon footprint be reduced?
Most of the carbon emissions in the cities are caused due to transportation as an increased number of cars and other private vehicles have no regulated usage. Although the use of public transport is promoted by the advisories, the lack of awareness in the population creates chaos. Renewable energy powered public transport and walkable cities will reduce a load of carbon emissions by transportation in the cities.
One of the many ways to do so is to maintain a balance between our existing infrastructures and the upcoming constructions in the cities! A huge percentage of emissions come from building construction within the urban limits to provide for the increasing population. More than any individual solution, a national awareness to invest in technologies that help in reducing carbon levels is a simpler choice towards building low-carbon urban fabrics.
Another way to reduce fossil fuel use and promote renewable energy generation is to invest in Hydrogen power plants in the cities by constructing a huge production facility adjacent to its premises. These plants convert hydrogen into electrical energy.
The three R’s have been in the books for decades now!
Now is the time to adapt these principles to work towards building Eco-cities by reducing the emissions, recycling the goods and services and reusing the ones that exist. Renewable energy from recycling a huge amount of waste generated in the Eco-cities (that includes material waste from construction sites, etc.) can reduce a significant amount of carbon emissions. A major portion of the energy for subordinate functions in the Eco-city can come from biodegradable energy generation by processes such as incineration.
Intelligent water management:
Implementation of Water harvesting methods, from individual residential units to larger commercial and industrial complexes have proven to increase potential storage, maximum recycling and reuse of water, as its scarcity is a rising environmental problem in many countries. On an Eco-city level, the creation of a water basin to percolate the rainwater in the soil helps in both reducing the temperature levels and maintaining the biodiversity of the region.
The rainwater in the collection tank can be purified using various available systems to supply to the population as drinking water and the secondary treated water can be used for other common purposes.
Back to vernacular techniques of construction:
The wheel rotates from time to time and refreshes the older techniques of construction adapting to the modern requirements and incorporating technologies. Vernacular techniques of building construction and management have the capability of merging with local climate and environmental conditions. This helps in reducing energy use and provide a solution to create more sustainable cities.
The use of natural materials in innovative ways by traditional processes of construction can help in balancing the micro-climate of Eco-city and maintain a healthy balance with nature.
Cities like Vancouver (Canada), Copenhagen (Denmark), Stockholm (Sweden) and many more are on their way to becoming Eco-cities of the future by adapting more renewable energy methods to serve their populations and increasing the low carbon public transportation in coming years