• Blog Posts

GIGA Ranking Criteria V2.1


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...

LP Magazine highlights the first RESET awarded project


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...

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...

The Glass Masonry vs. Traditional Brick

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  • Date August 29th, 2011 18:42
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Designers often prefer the aesthetics of clear glass block. Apart from obviously different appearances and light properties, what are the ecological and performance advantages and differences between glass masonry and traditional bricks? To answer this question, our Research Team did a deep dive on both.

We used the following categories to differentiate these materials: Raw Materials, Size, Price, Thermal Conductivity, Strength, and Recyclability.

Raw material
Visible raw material differences...

Material Sourcing: Interview


We recently had the chance to interview Gensler's Material Librarian, Jessie Wu to discuss green material sourcing in China. Gensler is an American-based international design firm with a team of architects, designers, planners, and consultants. Responsible for 3,000 projects each year, Genler partners with their clients to deliver local solutions with a global perspective. Gensler's team includes 2,500 employees working in 38 locations around the globe. Gensler is the brains behind the ...

GIGA @ Education


Education is a cornerstone of GIGA - our approach depends on analyzing and learning from cycles of information. The beauty about education is that it never stops. We first educate ourselves, then we pass this along to university students and the masses. Our education outreach has been in place since GIGA was founded in 2008, lecturing at events and to design students at Tongji University, Raffles Design Institute, and Hong Kong University. These pieces and individual lectures are now...

Tongji University: material reviews


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


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


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.


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,...

Printing inks reviewed


We're starting a review on the chemistry of inks - more specifically on the different pigments that are commonly used and how these end up being an ink. The idea is to describe how the pigments are made and applied for them to become a printing ink, and what the manufacturing aspects are of this procedure.Then when pigments are understood, we'll do the same for the binders, oils and additives that are used by printers in their process of ink making.Why do all that? As print oriented...

Please stop saving the earth!

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  • Date February 13th, 2011 09:37
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We’re all familiar with the slogans encouraging us to change the way we do certain things in order to “save the planet”. Dispose your non-degradable and non-recyclable paper coffee cup in a trash can and “the earth will say thank you”. Carry your cloth shopping bag around and “help the environment”.Even if the aim here is simply to build awareness, it just doesn’t do anything for the earth. None of our these eco actions do. Don’t get me wrong; I’m committed to living a sustainable life. But...

How to reuse / recycle waxpaper? - reader's question

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  • Date February 9th, 2011 11:07
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I noticed you using this in packaging projects, how do you reuse or recycle wax paper? – @geek_greenUsually recycling paper is pretty straight forward as most curbside programs accept the material. But it gets a little hairy when we start getting into soiled paper, paperboard, coated paper, wax paper or (gulp) pizza boxes.How can you quickly determine a paper’s chance at recycling? The most important thing to understand is that paper is recycled by using water. The whole batch gets washed and...

What will [y]our eco legacy be?

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  • Date January 29th, 2011 15:27
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Let's kick this door in with a bang; our economic activity cannot be sustained by the planet we live on. It's a kind of 'umph' moment, one that both dulls the mind and enrages it at the same time. It's a cold hard fact that we would still need two or three additional earths to go on living the average eco lifestyle we seek to live. Average as in making some effort in switching off eco lightbulbs, carrying your own shopping bag around, maybe even the occasional carbon offset for your flight to...


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  • Date January 26th, 2011 18:13
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Growing up, several of my friends had modest summer cabins on lakes nearby our hometown. Every year, when summer finally came around, friends would invite me to join them for 'clean-up' weekends. The goal of these 3-day trips was to make these summer abodes 'livable' for the summer months. After seasons of neglect, lawns were wildly overgrown, taken over by weeds and seeding grasses. Swimming areas were plagued by seaweed, frogs, fish, and bugs. We'd spend the weekend hacking away weeds and...

Green will never be green. Sorry.

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  • Date January 23rd, 2011 13:55
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If, like me, you like a bit of irony every now and then, this one is the cherry atop the whipped cream that failed to sweeten the eco cake. The color green will never be green.Because of the way the ink or dye is made, it is impossible to use it without contaminating what it is used for. And as previously covered, contamination makes or breaks a material's chances at getting recycled. That green plastic, or green printed box? Contaminated. That glorious, first choice Pantone green P367? Yes...

Want to design positive? Go bananas.

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  • Date January 16th, 2011 12:20
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True story; at SGTH we compare the final outcome of any design project with a banana. It is actually my studio's professional goal to one day deliver another banana. Twenty years in the business, I have yet to deliver that one. Nor have I seen any design that compares. Here is one piece of fruit that teaches us nine demanding design lessons, for those who truly wish to design beyond just green.Its form fits its function and identity.You did not look at the photo above and recognize anything...

Why your design is not getting recycled.

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  • Date January 11th, 2011 18:07
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Pollution is everywhere. You did not need me - nor this blog - to point that out to you. Hence we all have this notion instilled in us that we want and need to recycle as much as we can. We figure that anything tossed in a recycling bin is going to get recycled in one way. Maybe more so here in China, where there is always a taker for anything paper.The problem here is contamination. That's a pretty big word, and most of us do not fully understand it. What this means is the blending of two...

Paper; the grass is always greener.

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  • Date November 11th, 2010 18:40
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There are a slew of articles discussing the green merits of recycled paper vs. virgin paper produced from managed forests. An old debate, and one of the earliest discussion points in this whole green design paper malaise. These articles are mainly to defend and promote recycling actions, and to have us change our mindset towards maximizing our resources. All shouldered by that catchy slogan to 'save the trees'.But for me, these articles leave the question of why we are still using trees for...

Change for the Better

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....

Better City, Better Trike

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...

Green Studies

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...

Dandelion Unveiled

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

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

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...

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