The green building is located in Hamburg, Germany, and it is one of the 16 buildings included in “The International Building Exhibition” – 2013, a multi-disciplinary, multi-million euro project funded by the government of Hamburg.
The two south-facing sides of the so-called Bio Intelligence Quotient (BIQ) building are covered with a transparent shell, which contains millions of microalgae. The cultivation of the algae happens through the supply of sunlight, nutrients and carbon dioxide.
According to Dr Stefan Hindersin, a biologist with Strategic Science Consult (SSC), microalgae were chosen because they have much higher efficiency in producing energy than any other crops. He points out that this is the first building in the world that has a bioreactor on its façade.
Although no one expects that the building will fulfil all heating requirements of the households in it, if it begins to generate excess energy, there are buffers that can store it for later use.
Besides harvesting energy, the algae facade will also insulate the building from sound, heat and cold.
In addition to the ‘green’ innovation, the building has a new interior design. Two of the apartments do not have walls or separate rooms, which will allow the residents to adapt them to their needs.
The big question is whether this project will work in Hamburg, a city characterised by long winters and inconsistent summers. Hidersin, however, is convinced that if the project succeeds in such place, this will mean that it would work almost everywhere else.