‘Bioconcrete’ Uses Bacteria to Heal Self | ThisBigCity

No product evokes a sense of solidity and sturdiness the way concrete does. However, the tiniest of cracks in an otherwise colossal slab will inevitably lead to structural degradation, leakages and costly repairs.

It is precisely this problem that two Dutch researchers from Delft Technical University have been working on. Beginning in 2006, Henk Jonkers, a microbiologist, and Eric Schlangen, a specialist in concrete development, sought to develop a self-healing cement [pictured] that would stop cracks from forming in the concrete, thereby extending the life of constructions.
Improved buildings could make a big dent in climate change

The construction and operation of buildings accounts for approximately 40 percent of all U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases. The most-used building material in the world, concrete, is used to construct many of the nation’s homes and office buildings – but a new MIT report says a variety of measures could drastically reduce, and ultimately even eliminate, the carbon footprint of most new concrete buildings, as well as some older ones.

Webinar: Introduction to big data for smarter asset and facilities management

Webinar announcement via:

Posted August 5, 2013

Audience: Professionals and executives in enterprise asset management, building management, facility management, facility maintenance and operations, corporate real estate management, energy management, environmental sustainability and IT

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013
10:00 – 11:00AM PDT / 1:00 – 2:00PM EDT


John Clark – Worldwide Manager, Smarter Buildings – IBM Corporation


Erick Brethenoux – Director of Business Analytics and Decision Management Strategies – IBM Corporation

Nathan Allen – Assistant Staff Scientist and Sustainability Coordinator – University of Arizona Biosphere 2

Atefeh “Atti” Riazi says she is a big believer in gut instinct. But when it comes to IT and business alignment, she’s convinced that intuition must give way to decisions based on business intelligence, predictive analytics in particular.

After all, CIOs have not exactly excelled at predicting the future, Riazi noted, judging from the profession’s black eyes over technology spending that failed to deliver an ROI or customer value.

“We are guessing the future based on the knowns that we have,” said Riazi, CIO of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). “The problem is we don’t know what we don’t know,” she said, channeling former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield.

Corralling IBM’s consulting services (pro bono, due to the vendor’s interest in creating energy-efficient “smart buildings”), Riazi is using business intelligence and predictive analytics to challenge – as she puts it – “urban legends and sacred cows” of public assistance programs. Everything – from how best to reduce operating costs and increase building efficiencies, to which investments will actually improve the quality of life of more than 400,000 NYCHA residents – is being examined with BI and predictive analytics tools.

The IBM Brussels office is the first building in BioBalance in Europe

The IBM offices at Brussels Leopold Square (BLS) has become the first BioBalance building in Europe. In fact, it is the first time that the gold certificate is given here. Two years ago the IBM Real Estate Site Operations (RESO) started working with Metatecta - the enterprise in charge of this project- to carry out the necessary actions to achieve a building in BioBalance. 

 In all buildings where a large number of employees work together, there is a risk that the air quality degrades due to pollutants such as mold, bacteria and the like. The traditional approach is to fight against this by using aggressive products, like disinfectants and toxic chemicals. This may result harmful residues in the environment.

 The IBM edifice needed several requirements to become a building in BioBalance. First of all, it needs a healthy and hygienic indoor environment and the biodiversity must be respected. The use of aggressive and toxic chemicals and disinfectants in the building needs to be stopped. Finally, the building uses BioBalance management system as a strategic Corporate Social Responsibility tool.

But it is not an easy job; actually, there are three steps to follow to obtain a ‘building in BioBalance.

  1. The first phase is an analysis of the building looking for the biological, chemical and physical hazards.
  2. The second is to identify and monitor the Critical Control Points (CCP).
  3. The last step is to manage these risks by using Tectobiotics. The Tectobiotics are positive organisms which will keep clean the indoor environment. These organisms also will create biodiversity in and around buildings. They come from the nature and are classified as risk class 1, which means that they are harmless to humans, animals and the environment.

 The results of this examination are translated into a better environment at work and a return of human capital. Thanks to this improvement in the IBM building, the productivity of the employees is going up and the absenteeism rate is going down.

Following the Smarter Planet strategy of IBM, Smarter Buildings are not just data sources; they also have to communicate intelligently with the externalities around them. Smarter buildings are designed to run more efficiently and, more important, to communicate with and about their various systems.  Workforce is a part of these systems too. For this reason, it is very importance to get the better environment to work in.

In fact, IBM has also a corporate policy which takes care about the Responsibility for Employee Well-Being and Product Safety. This policy includes an important subject about having a Global Workplace Safety.  “Advancing the health, safety and well-being of our global workforce is an absolute priority; it’s a commitment that encompasses the environments in which employees work and the communities in which they live”.Martín J. Sepúlveda, M.D. FACP, IBM Fellow, Vice President Integrated Health Services.


Eco-Friendly Student Flat | Design Milk

Chances are you’ve experienced dorm life or student housing to some degree and know that it’s sometimes less than desirable. Swedish architecture firm Tengbom Architects aims to change all that with a really cool idea for student housing in the form of a smart student flat. The student flat is not only affordable and environmentally friendly, the design and material choices are incredibly smart. Each individual unit measure 10 square meters (approx. 108 square feet) and is built from cross-laminated wood due to its carbon positive qualities.

Big Data – Smarter Infrastructures – Webinar

Direct Link, AZBIO - I’ll be participating in the event (see below).

Date/Time Date(s) - 14 Aug 2013 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Location Webcast: Introduction of Big Data for Smarter Asset and Facilities Management Find out how leading organizations use big data analytics to generate real return. Register for the free webcast.

Register for the Webcast: Introduction of Big Data for Smarter Asset and Facilities Management Today’s emergence of big data fuels the basis of significant opportunity to support smarter management of facilities and assets—everything from office buildings to oil-drilling platforms to fleets of ships. The ability to effectively channel and analyze the massive amounts of data generated from facilities and assets can help increase revenue, power operational efficiency, ensure service availability and mitigate risk.

Join leading experts in a live webcast session on Wednesday, August 14 to learn the following: Case studies of leading organizations that successfully used big data generated by their facilities and assets to generate real return Register and attend this webcast to receive complimentary access to IBM’s new whitepaper Harness the value of big data to build smarter infrastructures!

Register for the Webcast: Introduction of Big Data for Smarter Asset and Facilities Management Please Note: This live webcast will be recorded and all registrants will be able to access the webcast on-demand!

Webcast Details: Wednesday, Aug 14th, 2013 10AM PT / 1PM ET Duration: 1 hour

Speakers: Erick Brethenoux Director of Business Analytics & Decision Management Strategy IBM Corporation John Clark Worldwide Manager, Smarter Buildings IBM Corporation Nathan Allen Assistant Staff Scientist & Sustainability Coordinator University of Arizona Biosphere 2

A (Dimming) City of Light | Scientific American

The French are taking a stand against light pollution. Starting this summer, most non-residential buildings in the country will have to shut off their lights at night in order to “reduce the print of artificial lighting on the nocturnal environment.”

According to France’s environment minister, Delphine Batho, this shift will reduce total annual energy consumption by the equivalent of 750,000 households. But, the main motivation behind the new decree is public health. According to Ms. Batho’s statement, artificial light can cause “significant disruptions on ecosystems” by disturbing sleep and migration patterns.

Did You Know: Buildings Account for 30% of Greenhouse-Gas Emissions in the U.S.

Innovative energy solutions for buildings and homes are key to protecting the environment and ensuring the livability of cities. Read these posts to see how creativity, technology and analytics are laying the foundation for smarter structures.
Smart cities: what urban life will be like in 2050 | London Evening Standard

Buildings of the future will be made from self-healing concrete, be powered by their solar paint and even have flying robots, says Jasmine Gardner

“Smart cities” is the buzz phrase of the moment. It refers to energy-efficient and spacially economical urban worlds in which we’ll live in years to come — all thanks to technology. Smarter cities are now a focus of both big business, such as Shell and IBM, and small entrepreneurs and scientists, such as the Dutch microbiologists who have developed a self-healing concrete. Cracks in the buildings of the future will be filled by calcium carbonate, produced by a bacteria feeding on nutrients, both incorporated into the cement. The bacteria are only activated when rainwater gets into a crack.

Sounds and the City | SmartPlanet

MEXICO CITY – This chaotic capital rarely whispers.

Mexico City howls, roars, whistles, wails, shouts and sings. These noises and infinite others –- nuisances to many -– make the metropolis sound like nowhere else.

How Mexico City sounds is part of the country’s cultural patrimony, according to the Fonoteca Nacional, the National Sound Archive, whose latest exposition features “aural landscapes” of the capital’s neighborhoods. The exhibit coincides with a new effort to enforce a law limiting noise in the city.