06/05/2013

The smart island

El Hierro, the island farthest from the Iberian Peninsula and the smallest of the Canary Islands, is a quiet place. Only the wind disturbs some peace that reigns in this land.

For that wind, El Hierro is a leader in the renewable energy sector thanks to Hydroeolic Park, infrastructure that will provide the energy demanded for the entire population in 2015. The main problem with renewables today is that its energy can not be stored. This park combines the power of wind and water, so that if the energy provided by its five powerful turbines decreased by lack of wind, the two large reservoirs that complete the installation solved the problem.

The energy produced by this plant also can feed in the near future for electric cars, wich the government of the island wants to be the only running on their roads. This energy self-sufficiency can be the first step of an exportable model.

El-Hierro-isla
El Hierro is the most remote Spanish island in Spain—Image Unknown Author

The island has also been privileged destination and preferred by many for diving and hiking in an almost solitary. For others it was almost unknown, but recent submarine eruptions of one of the volcanoes that surround the island, and especially something alarmists information media, have put it on the map. They have also made the most selective tourism enjoyed by the islanders down considerably.

To recoup their losses and boost the economy of El Hierro, the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism and the Chapter of the island have launched a Special Actions Program, whose first initiative has been to provide the island with a free and public Wi-Fi network.

It has been placed 26 connection points outdoors, respecting the natural environment, and using infrastructure already available, because most of the territory is protected area, Biosphere Reserve. Moreover, according to the authorities, this network will also carry out surveillance in the woods, which could prevent fires.

This Wi-Fi could be just a curiosity, but is the first step to turn El Hierro in an example of sustainability: that is, achieving economic development without outside help and without the loss of existing resources.

The main goal is to attract tourists, but those looking for sustainable tourism, benefiting the environment and respect it. Tourism is the main economic engine of the country, and from now will be ecological, technological, geological and volcanic.

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array(4) { [0]=> object(WP_Post)#1743 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(2483) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "420" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2012-06-11 00:04:43" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2012-06-10 22:04:43" ["post_content"]=> string(4614) "¿A qué nos referimos cuando hablamos de construcción 'verde' o 'sostenible'? Quizá el término correcto sea bioconstrucción, o por lo menos es el que emplean los arquitectos españoles para referirse a una estructura, de cualquier tipo, que es eficiente en los recursos que emplea, saludable y productiva para sus ocupantes, maximiza el retorno sobre la inversión en su ciclo de vida y, a través de su eficiencia, produce una huella ligera en el planeta. Los edificios convencionales consumen el 40% de nuestra energía, contribuyen con el 30% de los residuos que van a parar a nuestros vertederos, consumen también el 30% de nuestras materias primas y el 25% de nuestra agua. Así que parece bastante sensato intentar que las tendencias arquitectónicas estén orientadas hacia este modo de trabajar. Cualquier construcción puede ser sostenible. Lo esencial es pensar y diseñar el proyecto como verde o sostenible desde el principio, como propone el Consejo Constructor Verde, un organismo que, como el Consejo de Edificios Verdes o la Asociación Española de Bioconstrucción, abogan por esta forma de arquitectura. W_symbiocity No sólo edificios concretos, sino barrios e incluso ciudades enteras se han creado basándose en la sostenibilidad. Es el caso de Symbio City, un conjunto de casas al sur de Estocolmo, en Suecia, primer ejemplo de urbanización entendida como un todo. No está pensada como algo ostentoso, sino confortable y armónico. En sus pocos años de existencia, ha reducido en un 50% su impacto medioambiental, gracias al aprovechamiento de las fuentes de energía natural con paneles solares, molinos de viento y agua de lluvia. Además, la basura orgánica es tratada para producir biosólidos, y el 80% de los desplazamientos se realizan a pie, en bicicleta o en transporte público. Este sistema sueco ha sido ya implantado en varios lugares del mundo, como en varias ciudades de China, Canadá, Irlanda, Rusia, Sudáfrica, India, Reino Unido o Francia.What do we mean by 'green' or 'sustainable' building? Perhaps, the proper term is bioconstruction, or at least is what Spanish architects used to refer to a structure of any kind, which is efficient with the resources it uses, healthy and productive for its occupants, maximizes the return on investment in its life cycle and, through its efficiency, produced a light footprint on the planet. Conventional buildings consume 40% of our energy, contributing 30% of waste that goes to our landfills, consuming also 30% of our raw materials and 25% of our water. So it seems rather sensible to try that architectonic trends point in that direction. Any construction can be sustainable. The essential is to think and design the project as green or sustainable from the beginning as proposed by Green Builders Council, an organism that, as the Green Building Council or the Spanish Association of Bioconstruction, advocates for the type of architecture. W_symbiocity Not only specific buildings, but neighborhoods and even etire cities have been created based on sustainability. It’s the case of Symbio City, a group of houses south of Stockholm, Sweden, first example of urbanization understand as a whole. It’s not intended as something flashy but comfortable and harmonious. In it few years of existence, it has reduced by 50% their environmental impact through the use of natural energy sources with solar panels, windmills and rain water. In addition, organic waste is treated to produce biosolids and 80% of journeys are made by foot, bike or public transport. The Swedish system has been implanted in many places around the world, as in several cities in China, Canada, Ireland, Russia, South Africa, India, United Kingdom or France." 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Experto en sostenibilidad energética y crecimiento económico, Marcel Coderch es ingeniero de telecomunicaciones por la Universidad Politécnica de Catalunya y doctor en ingeniería eléctrica y ciencias informáticas por el MIT —Instituto Tecnológico de Massachusetts—. Actualmente es profesor en la Universidad Politécnica de Catalunya y en la Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, y desde el año 2006 vicepresidente de la Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Telecomunicaciones, organismo público e independiente que regula los mercados españoles de comunicaciones electrónicas y de servicios audiovisuales.'The future will be sustainable or it won’t be'. Energy sustainability and economic growth expert, Marcel Coderch is a Telecommunications Engineer from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) and PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT —Massachussetts Institute of Technology—. He currently teaches at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, and since 2006 vice president of the CMT —National Commission of the Telecommunications Market—, an independent public agency which regulates the Spanish markets for electronic communications and audiovisual services." 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Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan y Arthur C. Clarke hablaron sobre la gran teoría unificada de las leyes que gobiernan el Universo. Este singular documento, aunque anterior a descubrimientos hoy conocidos como la existencia de la energía oscura, aborda temas como la Teoría del Big Bang, la expansión del Universo, los agujeros negros, la vida extraterrestre, la existencia de Dios y los orígenes de la creatividad.Three major of the scientific outreach, each an expert in a different field, met for the first and unique time in the same television studio in 1988. Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan and Arthur C. Clarke spoke of the grand unified theory of the laws that govern the Universe. This unusual document, although it's before today's known discoveries such as the existence of dark energy, addresses issues such as the Big Bang Theory, the expansion of the Universe, black holes, extraterrestrial life, the existence of God and the origins of creativity." 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Este vídeo reflexiona acerca de la condición humana y de cómo nos vemos a nosotros mismos en relación a los gorilas, las ballenas, los leopardos o las moscas. Realizado por Temujin Doran, está basado en la obra del filósofo político y profesor de Pensamiento Europeo en la London School of Economics John Gray, especialmente en su libro 'Perros de paja' (Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals), publicado en 2002 y que supone un claro ataque al humanismo y al antropocentrismo, puntos de vista que, según el autor, tienen su origen en la ideología religiosa. Gray ve la voluntad como una ilusión, describe a la Humanidad como una especie voraz y devastadora que aniquila otras formas de vida y destruye su entorno natural, y propone revisar los conceptos de progreso, condición humana y naturaleza humana.Are we human beings very different from other animals? This video reflects on the human condition and how we see ourselves in relation to gorillas, whales, leopards or flies. Made by Temujin Doran, it is based on the work of political philosopher and professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics John Gray, specially on his book 'Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals', published in 2002, which is a clear attack to humanism and anthropocentrism, views, according to the author, which are rooted in religious ideology. Gray sees will as an illusion, describes humanity as a ravenous and devastating kind that kills other life and destroys their natural environment, and proposes to revise the concepts of progress, human condition and human nature." 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