Agro-Housing building
An urban apartment and a rural farm in one building
An Israeli design won the International Architecture Competition for Sustainable Housing. The design is composed of a high-rise apartment building that integrates personal greenhouses for every apartment to grow their own vegetables. Madgal is developing a faucet that will conserve water and check its quality; Sonol is promising to rehabilitate the polluted ground at their gas stations, and a furniture company promises to plant a tree for every purchase you make. A newsflash of green lights
The massive upsurge of people towards the cities creates severe humanitarian problems, as well as environmental issues. The severe overcrowding makes it difficult to provide suitable sanitation and places a strain on energy resources. The movement of workers towards city centers increases air pollution and disrupts the quality of life and health for the residents.


A solution to this problem, the result of the Israeli architecture firm Knafo-Klimor, recently won the Steel Association’s prize in the international competition for sustainable living. At the end of the competition the Israeli design “Agro-Housing” was chosen to serve as a model for the prototype for the city of Huan in China.


The design offers a modern apartment building that combines a high-rise building with a greenhouse where the residents can grow all their vegetables near their apartment. It is actually a combination of a high-rise apartment building and a country house with a family plot - and it answers the need that arises when people leave their villages for the city in order to find work, and their difficulty to sustain themselves and assimilate into urban life.


The residential greenhouse, which was planned in consultation with the “Netafim” company, offers an agricultural system with available technology, and an advanced drip irrigation system. In a conversation with ynet, architect David Knafo explained that any person - after a few hours instruction - can grow his own vegetables. “He has to plant the seeds and that is all. The irrigation is automatic, the greenhouse is sealed against insects and there is no need for pesticide, and the windows provide the light and heat necessary for growth”.


The innovative design not only provides the solution for a fresh tomato. It combines smart sustainable building that provides all the energy needs of the house and protects the environment. The house is heated and cooled with solar energy, and the water is drawn with a geothermic system that uses available ground water. The irrigation system of the greenhouse uses recycled “gray water” collected from the apartments and from the accumulation of rainwater from the roofs.


There is more. The area of the greenhouse is ten square meters for each apartment - enough land to grow a family’s vegetables, yet generally space saving since the building is a vertical multi-story structure - a design which enables the families’ agricultural land. The space saves public commercial space and the reduces the need to transport goods. It also provides work close to home by selling the surplus products.


Sonol for ground quality

The Sonol Company, in full cooperation with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, will conduct a comprehensive check of the ground quality at their gas stations around the country. In the framework of their partnership, Sonol promised to act with full transparency in front of the ministry, and in any case of suspected pollution, Sonol will treat and rehabilitate the ground at their stations.


Dr. Yossi Inbar, Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, relates that his office is working diligently to improve polluted land across the country, including at gas stations. The Ministry guides and supervises all industry sectors to rehabilitate polluted land and to prevent recurring pollution. The Ministry welcomes any activity to locate and rehabilitate polluted land and encourages initiatives such as this one to locate and repair all the polluted ground at the gas stations in a clear and timely manner. The Sonol Company operates 214 gas stations around the country.


A smart green faucet

The faucet company “Madgal Galil Yam” is developing a new technology for a “smart” faucet, which will conserve water, monitor its quality and also conserve energy and renewable materials. Twelve million dollars will be invested in this development project.


This new technology will allow the limiting of the use of the faucet - such as in a very long shower - and help conserve water. It will protect against pipes freezing in cold regions and it has a special system that will check the quality of the water.


“The faucet was designed according to Madgal Galil Yam’s ‘green ideology’, in which the production process does not pollute and the faucet is made of polymer materials and not steel”, the company reports. The head scientist of the Ministry of Trade and Labor will participate in fifty percent of the development of this initiative.


A new tree for every table

The garden furniture design company OCOA began a new initiative under the name “Returning to Nature”. Company CEO Ofer Ronen promises that for every purchase of the company’s products, made of wood, the company will plant a tree in conjunction with the Jewish National Fund. OCOA will finance the planting and the customer will take home a planting certificate from the JNF.


  • News about the environment does not always have to include reports on polluters and troublemakers. There are also many initiatives, which contribute to the environment and raise awareness on the topic. “Green Lights” is a weekly column that gives a platform to these initiatives.


פרסום ראשון: 10.08.07, 18:37
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