Eco-friendly Approaches in Floating Structure Design

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Eco-friendly Approaches in Floating Structure Design

Changho Moon 1, a

1 Department of Architecture and Building Engineering, Kunsan National University, 558 Daehak-ro, Gunsan-si 54150, Korea


This paper addresses eco-friendly approaches in floating structure design. Four case studies in Europe are introduced and analysed. The results showed that floating structures had many kinds of echo-friendly approaches. Environmental eco-friendly factors such as application of re-usable building material, hydrothermal heating/cooling system, water treatment system, and solar energy system together with social eco-friendly factors such as the opportunities of healing with nature and enjoying the social activities are more available in the structures on the water rather than on land.
KEYWORDS: echo-friendly, floating structure, sustainability

This paper aims to discuss the eco-friendly approaches in floating structure design and to suggest some reference ideas for new floating projects on the water space. Research method includes the site-visits, some interviews with project designers, the review of related literatures, and the navigation of homepages. Various types of floating structures such as house, office, exhibition hall, restaurant, sports & leisure facility, garden and others in Europe have been built. In this research, representative floating structures of office, house, garden and swimming pool are be analyzed.
2.1 Eco-Friendly Approach

Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment. This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy. However, the concept of eco-friendly approach needs to be extended to the social dimension beyond the physical aspects.

2.2 Floating Structure
Floating structure can be defined as a structure for living/working/leisure space/place that floats on water with floatation system, is moored in a permanent location, does not include a water craft designed or intended for navigation, and has a mechanical/electrical service system if necessary.

Floating structure on the water is endurable to a rise in sea or river level due to climate change like global warming, and is movable and can be relocated to different places if required. Floating structure is easy to utilize the various renewable energies because solar, geothermal and wind energies can be obtained easily on the water.

Users of floating structures usually enjoy the peaceful and comfortable atmosphere around the water within the natural environment. Connection to the nature is likely to generate positive states of well-being and health

3.1 Floating Office for Waternet
The floating office, built in 2010, with three stories and 875square meter area, is the facility for the workers who clean the water of Amsterdam canals from garbage. The building contains office space on entrance and second floor, and shower and lockers on the underwater basement.

The building’s shape is common, its skin made of reed is soft and comforting. The timber frame construction and thatched facade can be disassembled into re-usable or biodegradable components completely without waste. Furthermore the reed of the facade represents water purification, being the very essence of the Waternet water company. If necessary, the office can move to a new location.

Figure 1. Floating Office for Waternet

The building has an innovative way of heating and cooling. In the bottom of concrete pontoon lies a heat exchanger, a liquid filled winding tube, like a reverse underfloor heating system. It takes heat or cold directly from the source surrounding water. A reversible heat pump provides warm or cool air. The energy for the heat pump comes from solar panels placed on the roof.
3.2 Floating Garden in Paris
Floating gardens with 1800 square meter area, completed in 2013, were made up of five little islands with a variety of vegetation, provide unique and comfortable place to relax and enjoy summer days for Parisians and visitors.

Each island is, linked with each other by footbridges and all accessible to everyone from the bank, planted and equipped with furniture: wooden structures on the orchard island, deck chairs on the fog island, a glasshouse jungle on the birds' island, and games for children on the meadow island.

Figure 2. Floating Garden in Paris

Sustainable development has been a major factor in the design of the these area because there are important monuments like Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Grand Palais and Alexander III bridge. Floating garden presents an opportunity to infuse some much needed nature into the Parisian psyche. Many residents in floating garden were observed to enjoy small party, read books, talk with friends, and take a walk last August.

3.3 Hasle Harbor Bath

The town of Hasle is located on the island of Bornholm, Denmark. The Hasle Harbor Bath, built in 2013, has 500 square meter floating concrete platform with two swimming pool for younger children, 400 square meter staggered wooden terraces with diving boards and 60 square meter of service building which includes a sauna, washroom, and outdoor changing area.

Hasle Harbor Bath was planned to revitalize the harbor as a local landmark and a catalyst for new activity in the harbor. People can experience the harbor scenery of Hasle and the special waterfront atmosphere. From the elevated level of wooden terraces, the beautiful sea view as well as the stunning sunsets can be enjoyed without any obstruction.

Figure 3. Hasle Harbor Bath

Residents and tourists can swim in the shallow, enclosed water area of the platform, and it is also possible to dive into the deep sea water surrounding the structure. A long ramp connects the structure to the shore, and while the slope of the ramp varies with the water levels, it is also available for the disabled within normal water level changes.

Hasle Harbor Bath provides a place to swim, dive, take a rest, enjoy the natural sea view and famous sunsets, make a wide variety of social activities for the local residents and outside tourists without giving the least damage to the environment.

3.4 Autark Home
Autark Home, completed in 2012, is a self-sufficient and passive floating home with European passive house certificate. A prototype of Autark Home was installed in the river Maas, Maastricht, but it is currently anchored in the Rijnhaven at the Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Figure 4. Autark Home

The floating home has two stories and 109.4 square meters floor area, outer wall with 55cm thick EPS, isolated windows with triple glass and no cold bridges. For heating, it has an isolated large water tank and 6 solar heat panels on the roof for 4 to 5 days.

River water is converted to gray water and high-quality drinking water through a built-in water treatment system. Before the waste water returns to the river, the water is cleaned by a built-in filtration system. Each room has its own ventilation system and the incoming fresh air is heated or cooled through a heat recovery system.

The electrical energy, produced by solar photovoltaic cells, is stored in battery with enough electricity for 4 days for a family. The system can deliver 5300 kWh a year. In bad weather conditions, a bio-diesel generator can supply additional electrical power.

This paper analysed the 4 kinds of floating structure in Europe based on site-visits and the articles of related homepages in order to review the eco-friendly approaches in floating structure design. Main interest was to find the eco-friendly factors like material reuse, renewable energy application, water recycling, and so on through case studies. The findings from the case studies in terms of echo-friendly approach can be summarized as followings; application of re-usable & biodegradable building material and hydrothermal heating/cooling system in floating office for Waternet; providing the unique and comfortable place to relax and enjoy with nature in floating garden in Paris; offering the place to enjoy water leisure, natural view and social activities without least damage to the environment in Hasle Harbor Bath; installation of water treatment system, heat recovery system, solar heat panel and solar photovoltaic cells for self-sufficient & passive floating home. Therefore floating structure can be regarded to be one of the best eco-friendly designs. In addition, application of eco-friendly concept needs to be extended to the statement where any structure gives pleasures to human in the nature without any damage to the environment.

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SFGATE, What Does Eco-Friendly Mean? 2016. Available at ecofriendly-mean-78718.html

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