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A show home in South Korea has become the first in East Asia to win the US Green Building Council’s prestigious LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum status.
Touted as ‘zero energy’, the 423 square metre Samsung Green Tomorrow house, designed by Samoo Architects with support from consultancy Arup, includes features such as high-efficiency lighting and a treatment plant for grey and black water recycling. Energy needs are met by a combination of 176 rooftop photovoltaic panels, generating 21MWh, and groundsource heat pumps.
But applause for the development doesn’t flow in from all quarters. Jonathan Hines of Architype, which has pioneered the energy efficient Passivhaus concept, is concerned that award schemes such as LEED could fuel a ‘tick box mentality’, whereby developers profit from one-off, costly, and ultimately unscalable, publicity stunts. According to Hines, the micro-generation systems of “buildings that are effectively zero carbon islands… are too small to be efficient or financially viable on a commercial scale”.
Green Tomorrow was no exception, with building costs double those of a standard three-bedroom house. But Samsung intends to address this gap, commercialising the design by 2013.
The pilot development could prove no more than a drop in the ocean for South Korea, where a government-backed programme to create a million green homes by 2020 aims to stimulate clean technologies (see ‘New law orders green growth’).