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Azerbaijan’s Carbon Neutral Zira Island
Zira Island is a 1,000,000 sq meter island In the Caspian Sea that will soon be developed into an incredible eco-community and sustainably built resort. Master-planned by Denmark-based BIG Architects, the carbon-neutral eco-island is based on the seven peaks of Azerbaijan and its mountainous ecosystems. Located in the bay of the capital city Baku, Zira Island is a ferry ride away from a growing metropolis and will stand as an example to a region so dependent on oil, that it is possible to live off the wind and sun.
BIG Architects‘ Zira Island will feature seven major structures modeled after the peaks of Azerbaijan that are connected by trails, greenbelts and the coastline. The Seven Peaks will each house a residential development and public space, and there will also be 300 private villas near a golf course in the central valley. Zira’s new skyline of organic buildings will resemble a mountain range that merges with the natural topography of the island.
Many carbon neutral communities are currently being developed around the world, like Masdar, Rioja, and Dongtan. All promise a new way of life completely independent of carbon-based fuels. Zira Island is less of a city and more or a resort, but it still holds the same promises of sustainability and will use the sun, wind and water to heat and power the island.
Heat pumps, which plunge into the surrounding Caspian Sea, will heat and cool the buildings on the island, and Solar Hot Water Collectors are integrated into the architecture to provide hot water. Photovoltaics on strategically angled facades and roof tops will generate electricity, and an off-shore wind farm will be constructed in the Caspian Sea, utilizing the existing oil platforms and foundations for the new and more sustainable power supply.
Potable water will be provided via a desalination plant, while waste and stormwater will be collected in a wastewater treatment plant and recycled for irrigation. The solid waste will be composted and reused as fertilizer for the island. Many trees and lots of lush vegetation will be planted to create a tropical environment, although no information is provided for how the island will deal with their trash or whether or not they will grow any of their own food.
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