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Green Building Pioneer in China: An Interview with Zhang Hongru (Dennis Zhang)

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  • Date June 26th, 2012 14:44
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Zhang Hongru (Dennis Zhang) is one of the fathers of green architecture in Shanghai and China. Amongst many other projects, he is the architect of the SRIBS research centers, the first of which was completed in 2004. He is also one of the authors of China's green building code and green building certification system. Based on 10 years of pioneering work in China, Mr. Zhang recently shared his insights and opinions in an interview with GIGA.

GIGA: What is most difficult about designing green?

...

HBCDD Infographic

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  • Date June 19th, 2012 11:37
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Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD or HBCD) is used mainly as a flame retardant in polystyrene-based insulation products. What is of particular concern is this lipophilic and persistent organic pollutant’s capacity to accumulate in the food chain – leading to progressively increasing levels in human tissues and in wildlife. The extent of accumulation correlates directly with its evermore prevalent use. Despite this alarming trend, only limited toxicological information is available to assess its...

Tongji University: material reviews

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  • Date July 27th, 2011 18:25
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During the Spring 2011 semester, GIGA participated in Tongji University's graduate course for Sustainable Design. Core to our work was to introduce GIGA's material ranking methodology to help students better understand how and why to select healthy, environmentally progressive materials. Students were all required to research material types from a life-cycle perspective and report their findings to their classmates. An outstanding example of this coursework is attached below (can be...

Water Treatment Diaries

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  • Date July 15th, 2011 18:03
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Our Research Team did a deep dive on kitchen appliances last week (2011, 7.4-7.8), researching range hoods, electric and gas ranges, sinks, ovens, ect. (Click here for more info), and water treatment equipment (Click here for more info). Our research team continually struggles to find verifiable information from manufacturers. Despite bold claims, few are backed by credible, validated data. In general, all manufactures are encouraged to submit more information to help users better understand...

Plumber's Diaries

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All plastics are created from petroleum and have recently come under fire from environmentalists around the world. Scan the internet and you'll find countless articles about waste, massive ocean dead zones, and chemical tyranny. For better or worse, plastic isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Until it does, there are very notable differences between the plastics that are currently in the market. Of course, every design requirement dictates an individual solution, though not all plastics are...

Scentless Bathrooms?! Entirely Possible.

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If you've used a bathroom in China, you are familiar with a consistently funky and unpleasant smell that seeps from most toilets. When Swiss-based Geberit called our research team, promising to demystify this nagging problem, we were in disbelief. Impossible. Our doubt brought us to their Shanghai manufacturing facility to have a first hand look at the solutions they've developed over their 135+ year history.

We walked into Geberit's facility and were greeted by a 3 story demonstration wall,...

LP Magazine highlights the first RESET awarded project

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  • Date March 16th, 2012 15:43
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RESET (Regenerative Environmental Economic and Social Targets) is the goal and mission of GIGA. Zhang Jia Gang's Riverhouse, the first awarded RESET project, was recently featured by LP Magazine (Luxury Properties).
The issue of sustainability has gained popularity within the luxury market and LP Magazine now features a special column to highlight "Responsible Building". LP interviewed Ronald Lu & Partners, GreenRoof Asia, and A00 Architecture, three of Asia's leading green design...

Shanghai Air: Part 1: Outdoor vs. Indoors

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  • Date March 21st, 2012 10:20
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Statistics are fun. However, they also tend to be fairly irrelevant by being overly general. For example, knowing that Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors is interesting, but not all that useful to us in China, and more specifically Shanghai. The same is true of the classic U.S. statistic of indoor air being 4 to 25 times worse than outdoor air. Interesting... but what about Shanghai and the rest of China.?

We've spent the past ten years collecting air quality data that is relevant...

Daily Definition: Agricultural Waste 农作物废弃物

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  • Date March 26th, 2012 11:37
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The green world in confused with a myriad of changing terms and definitions. What does Sustainable mean? What about Carbon Neutral? Recyclable? Waste? A room full of people could spend hours arguing the meaning of each. This is exactly what we want to avoid. Instead of debating and defending the meaning of the words that define our work, we want to spend time developing work that has meaning and impact. .

Our aim is for transparency and clarity; we want you to know all of our methodologies and...

Shanghai Air: Part 2: Windows... Open vs. Closed?

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  • Date March 27th, 2012 00:46
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A few years ago, i used to pause every time i opened the windows. I knew i'd be flushing out chemical pollutants, but i also knew i'd be bringing in particulates. Should i be opening the windows or keeping them closed? For most people, that question still lingers today.

Opening windows is good: it allows chemical pollutants to get out.

Opening windows is bad: it allows particulates to get in.

So, should we be keeping our windows open or closed?!

In theory, the math is easy. If you live or work in...

Daily Definition: Air Pollution Index (API) 空气污染指数

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  • Date March 27th, 2012 09:58
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Definition

Our aim is for transparency and clarity; we want you to know all of our methodologies and assumptions. Both are listed below and are defined to support development towards restorative solutions. Chinese and English are listed together to avoid communication gaps.

Air Pollution Index (API) 空气污染指数

API (Air Pollution Index) describes the level of air pollution. It is typically used to measure ambient city air quality. The API calculation process considers the pollutant levels of SO2, NO2, PM10,...

Organized Chaos: GIGA Match

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  • Date November 26th, 2011 15:47
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We love experiments. We wondered what would happen when we threw ahand-picked group of China's top green designers and manufacturers together to discuss projects and materials. The result was a fun, energetic, fast-paced, and productive pilot event. Our select group took over Sushi Abuse, Shanghai's hippest new Japanese restaurant, for a day of speed dating and workshops. Within 6 hours, 27 designers and 28 manufacturers had over 260 meetings, drank 143 glasses of water and tea, ate 45 pieces...

GIGA Ranking Criteria V2.1

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  • Date March 19th, 2012 14:02
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Incremental improvement is a value we both believe in and practice. Since our launch in 2008, our RESET Ranking Criteria have been publicly published and open for community comment and feedback. In 2008 our V1.0 Criteria included 13 RESET Criteria. In 2010, our V2.0 Criterial expanded to include 53 RESET Criteria. Today, we are excited to release our V2.1 Criteria which has improved upon previous explanations and has eliminated V2.0 criteria which are not achievable today. All changes have...

Green Studies

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  • Date August 6th, 2010 09:21
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GIGA blog recently spoke with Pius Leuba, head of a new one-year study program ‘Master of Advanced Studies in Sustainable Development in Architecture’ at the Life Quality Laboratory in Shenzhen. The Department of Architecture at the Bern University of Applied Sciences is the developer and administrator of the program. The criteria for incoming students are that they are Chinese mid-career architects or design professionals with several years of practice experience who seek to continue their...

Better City, Better Trike

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  • Date August 6th, 2010 09:36
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Cycling in China has been an essential mode of transport for the last century - both for goods and people. Despite the rise in popularity in scooters and electric bikes, the common pedal bicycle and rickshaws is still an overwhelming sight around China's cities. I was recently introduced to the Treecycle, a bamboo trike, which has been developed by Shanghai based husband and wife team of Chris and Florian Trees aimed at making pedal travel more efficient, and environmentally friendly.The...

Dandelion Unveiled

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  • Date August 6th, 2010 09:20
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Last week I was particularly excited by the news that the British Pavilion was completed when David Miliband inserted the last acrylic hair into the “Dandelion”, as it has been nicknamed by Chinese people. Officially named “Seed Cathedral” it is a fuzzy cube formed from 60,000 slender transparent rods, extending from the structure. During the day, the 7.5-meter long rods will act like fibre optic filaments, drawing in daylight to illuminate the interior. At night, light sources at the...

Expo Aftermath

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  • Date August 6th, 2010 09:17
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As the Expo descends closer, this month noticeably marked by the completion of the Chinese pavilion, the GIGA blog will be featuring stories about the Expo. Incredibly the Expo is the third largest event in the world (economic and cultural impact) after the World Cup and Olympics. The Expo has been around for one and a half centuries with the first one held in The Crystal Palace in London in 1851. Titled “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations” it exhibited manufactured...

Hopenhagen yields little Hope

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  • Date August 6th, 2010 09:06
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December saw Copenhagen thrust into the global spotlight. The world watched in suspense to see whether the 193-nation and 45,000 participant United Nations conference would yield a new global agreement on climate change. The outcome was disappointing to say the least - with delegates simply "taking note" of a climate deal that recognised the need to limit temperature rises to 2C.

Talks were reported to be chaotic and were at risk of disintegrating completely. The Accord, which was reached...

Change for the Better

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  • Date August 6th, 2010 09:38
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The GIGA Blog recently met Michael Skinner, Vice President of Sales and Marketing from Zhejiang Mingxin Leather, leather suppliers to the upholstery sofa and automotive industry. What sets this company apart is the emphasis on producing eco friendly leather and they have certainly proven their commitment to this environmentally conscious ethos. Mingxin Leather has invested RMB 7 million on a waste water treatment facility which provides cleaner water than the municipally provided source....

GIGA blog and forum: a community of environmentalists

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  • Date August 5th, 2010 18:10
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At GIGA, we're pushing for positive impact - to improve our environments (ie: cleaner air, soil and water). For us, materials are the building blocks of impact because they create everything that surrounds you - your clothes, your computer, buildings, cars, everything. Placing value on materials supports incremental improvement, allowing positive action to begin immediately.Not clear?Take your computer, for example. To produce a positive impact computer tomorrow is impossible. Your computer...

Biosphere 生物圈

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  • Date April 5th, 2012 09:52
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Definition

Anything within the Earth and its atmosphere that is living or is capable of supporting life.
生物圈是指地球表层生物及其生存环境的总称。

Note:Our aim is for transparency and clarity; we want you to know all of our methodologies and assumptions. Both are listed below and are defined to support development towards restorative solutions. Chinese and English are listed together to avoid communication gaps.

Benzene 苯

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  • Date April 1st, 2012 15:47
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Benzene is a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet odor, which is frequently found in paints and coatings. It evaporates quickly when exposed to air, thus the main route of exposure (47-80%) is through inhalation. Benzene can also be absorbed through the skin when in direct contact with a source, such as gasoline. Health hazards of benzene include leukemia, particularly acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

苯是具有特殊芳香气味的油状液体,微溶于水,可溶于乙醇、汽油等有机溶剂。苯和苯的同系物多来源于油漆或涂料。苯的挥发速度很快,为乙醚的1/3,暴露于空气中很容易扩散。...

Biodiversity 生物多样性

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  • Date March 31st, 2012 10:42
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Definition

Our aim is for transparency and clarity; we want you to know all of our methodologies and assumptions. Both are listed below and are defined to support development towards restorative solutions. Chinese and English are listed together to avoid communication gaps.


Biodiversity 生物多样性:


Biodiversity indicates both a richness of species within a given ecosystem and the health of this ecosystem in total. Human activities greatly influence biodiversity; factory effluent impacts soil quality and...

Daily Definition: Appropriate Durability 适当的耐久性

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  • Date March 30th, 2012 12:15
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Our aim is for transparency and clarity; we want you to know all of our methodologies and assumptions. Both are listed below and are defined to support development towards restorative solutions. Chinese and English are listed together to avoid communication gaps.

Appropriate Durability 适当的耐久性

People usually assume that the longer a material lasts the better it is. Environmentally speaking, this is not an absolute. Every product is made by locking up raw materials and resources for the...

Chemistry is fun: Benzene Series (Part A)

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  • Date March 29th, 2012 11:31
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The opposite of nature is impossible. ——Richard Buckminster Fuller

Hexagonal structures are often used in large modern buildings because their natural shape properties (strong, efficient and beautiful) are ideal for mechanical systems, structural support systems, sound and thermal insulation, and design elements.
Hexagonal shapes can be optimized to efficiently use material to create lightweight high strength materials. Hexagonal structures are increasingly used in modern buildings. The below...

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