The Covid19 epidemic has had a significant impact on all aspects of our lives. The way we live at home has changed considerably, which means that soon we will see a redefinition of living space and, therefore, a new way of designing home.
Jennifer Anderson, a member of the Real Estate Council of Forbes, anticipates what will be the topics to keep an eye on when designing houses in the post-coronavirus future.
The kitchen between pantries and break areas
Stockpiling food during these months has also meant dealing with the space available to store it. There will be a frequent demand for more spacious kitchens, with more spacious and organized wall units and a certain amount of space for refrigerators and freezers to store food in the long term.
Working from home will be a habit even after the epidemic. Kitchens from now on could have a corner for preparing tea, coffee and quick snacks, very similar to the break area of the offices.
Flexible working environment
Creating a workspace inside the house has become a primary need. In homes that do not have an entirely dedicated space, the workstation can be integrated with the furniture or set up in waste spaces. The need to have areas to be surrounded if necessary could invert the trend of the open space.
Outdoor greenery and natural light
Outdoor space will become a priority for all types of houses. There will be the conversion of residential gardens into small private gardens for food cultivation. In the high-density cities, people will look for apartments with balconies. For those who will not have access to outdoor areas, natural light, fundamental for the psycho-physical well-being, will be one of the guiding principles of the new design.
Safety and hygiene
The house had to be a safe place, more than ever. The very concept of security has expanded to include aspects related to the health and well-being of the inhabitants. The post-coronavirus houses will emphasize the separation between "domestic environment" and the "external world". It will be necessary to rethink the entrance space, which could also include buffer areas that act as a filter for everything that comes from the outside. As for the interior and the finishing materials, healthiness and ease of cleaning will be the criteria of choice; smooth ceramic and stainless steel could come back into fashion.
The houses of the future will also be smart. They will include intelligent devices aimed not only at monitoring air and water quality but also at reducing contact with surfaces (switches, handles, etc.).
The design of the systems will progressively move from air systems, potentially dangerous for the propagation of viruses, to radiant panel systems.
The alteration of the domestic environment, after a pandemic, already has historical precedents. Some commonly used sanitary fixtures, such as recessed bathtubs and pedestal washbasins, which emerged after the First World War, are a legacy of the so-called "Spanish" flu of 1918.
In the same way, some of these architectural solutions will become part of the culture of living to the point that - says Anderson - in a few years, and it will be unthinkable to live in another way.
Photo credits: 1. Tatiana Syrikova, 2. DarkWorkX, 3. Giovanni Gargiulo, 5. Ada,to from Pixabay; foto 4: VELUX Deutschland GMBH from Pinterest
Diversification in times of Coronavirus: in these times of total uncertainty and change, while governments in every nation are taking action in response to the Coronavirus, many companies are trying to adapt to change. The demands from people both as customers and suppliers are continually evolving, leading each company to face financial and operational challenges.
The automotive sector, for example, has found itself managing an asset such as the automobile industry whose production and sales have undergone a profound crisis. For this reason, three giants like Rolls-Royce, Lexus and BMW decided to introduce some activities utterly different from their core business.
At Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, they have thought of a way to use the natural resources of the place where the factory and the roof of this building are located. The headquarters is located in West Sussex in the south of England in a lush landscape of around half a million trees, shrubs and wildflowers. Also, the entire plant is covered by a real "living green roof" as it develops a mantle of sedum plants.
With this in mind, the Goodwood Apiary project was launched to support the seriously endangered bee population. Six wooden hives and a thriving community of English honey bees were used. The final product is a jar of honey made in the company's Bespoke Workshop, equipped with a stainless steel plate on which are engraved the different names inspired by the family of cars: Cullinan, Ghost, Dawn, Wraith and Spirit of Ecstasy (the brand mascot).
Another project closely linked to the identity of the place concerns the cultivation of a rose that took eight years to develop. It is a creation by Philip Harkness, a rose grower since 1879 who has made the Phantom Rose exclusively for Rolls-Royce. This flower is creamy white and has 50 petals that give off an intense scent thanks to the presence of lavender in the soil where it is born and grows.
The project of the Rolls-Royce headquarters around which this rose grows was designed by the architect Sir Nicolas Grimshaw who designed a building that can be considered an excellent example of sustainable architecture. This building is closely connected to the surrounding environment thanks to large windows that allow admiring from the inside the landscape where this rose is the undisputed queen.
At Lexus, on the other hand, they have created educational programs for the company's staff. In particular, they have focused on the category of "Takumi" craftsmen who work on the cars being painted and on the working of the interiors. One can become Takumi after at least 25 years of experience and is assessed in various ways. Recently, the origami technique has been introduced as an additional evaluation parameter. These craftsmen are asked to make origami in the shape of a cat in less than 90 seconds using their non-dominant hand. At the end of April, a competition for the best cat was held: the winner had the chance to use a Lexus LC 500h for a week at the end of the lockdown.
Also to celebrate the art of craftsmanship, inspired by the recent work of artist Claudia De Sabe, the Lexus promoted another contest for the customization of a Lexus US with a vinyl wrapping that will have a tattoo as its subject. The best design will be selected among eight finalists.
Finally, BMW has embarked on a journey into the world of communication. It continued with the social initiative "Culture Mobile: the Literature Podcast", which offers its employees access to free literature. Also, there was also the BMW Art Journey held every year, which saw Lu Yangis as this year's winner.
Another BMW project involved artist Clemens Ascher to create an advertising campaign for the new BMW Concept i4 in a futuristic art scene. The result is abstract images in which the car has been set, with no reference to contemporary society as we know it but to a futuristic vision where it is hoped that electricity and water can be the founding pillars of the culture of the future.
Figure 1_Rolls-Royce honey - Credits: Rolls-Royce
Figure 2_The Rolls-Royce honey is produced by English honeybees - Credits: Rolls-Royce
Figure 3_The six hives in Goodwood - Credits: Rolls-Royce
Figure 4_The Phantom Rose - Credits: Rolls-Royce
Figure 5_The Rolls-Royce headquarters designed by architect Sir Nicolas Grimshaw - Credits: Rolls-Royce
Figure 6_Technics of origami required to Takumi artisans - Credits: Lexus
Figure 7_The tattoo car designed by Claudia De Sabe - Credits: Lexus
Figure 8_BMW Concept i4 photographed by Clemens Ascher - Credits: BMW
Have you ever wondered what the life of a queen is like? What is it like to walk between the wings of a palace and where you can sip afternoon tea?
Home Advisor, in collaboration with architect Jelena Popovic, tried to answer these questions thanks to an elaborate work of digital graphic reworking of one of the most famous royal palaces in the world, Buckingham Palace. This company has collected many existing images and plans and has carried out fundamental historiographical research to reconstruct the rooms of the palace. This material was subsequently reworked by architect Popovic with the creation of a series of drawings and illustrations of the palace. The building has 775 rooms and 5 floors in height, and therefore, given its large size, it has been divided into three sections: the Central Block, the Queen's Apartments and the East Front.
This project was born, driven by the halo of curiosity and mystery that surrounds this palace due to the high secrecy that characterizes it. Although it has been the official London residence of the sovereigns of the United Kingdom since 1837, few rooms have been opened to the public in all these years.
Built-in 1703, Buckingham Palace can be visited by the public thanks to guided tours both virtually and in-person but what visitors can see during the visit is nothing compared to the majesty and complexity of the entire palace. The researchers have calculated the presence of 19 representative rooms, 52 main rooms, 92 offices, 188 service staff rooms and 78 bathrooms. In addition, there is a cinema, a swimming pool, a jewellery workshop, a medical clinic and a post office.
We then begin to explore the building starting from the Central Block characterized by a wide staircase of honour adorned by a long red carpet and walls on which there are many family portraits. Going upstairs we find the Green Drawing Room, the room where the Queen usually meets the Prime Minister and the Music Room which has hosted several royal baptisms including that of Prince William, the future King of England.
The Queen's Apartments, the second section of this analysis, represent the most private and unreachable area of the palace. According to Home Advisor's research, there are only six rooms that the Queen is used to frequent daily together with her dearest people and her staff.
The third section studied by the research group is the East Front. Also known as the "public face" of Buckingham Palace is the facade of the palace which contains the famous balcony from which the royal family overlooks and greets the crowd on essential occasions. In this wing of the palace renovation work began earlier this year to a value of around £369 million. On the time of this event, the royal family decided to share the start of work inside the Yellow Drawing Room, in an Instagram post, in an attempt to involve the English people more and more.
The Recency Room is the room where numerous Christmas photographs of the royal family have been set.
Known as the most important room in the palace, in room 1844 the Queen often met many important guests such as former President Obama.
The White Drawing Room, on the other hand, is a more intimate environment as it is mainly used as a meeting place for members of the royal family.
The State dining room is one of the most recognizable rooms of the palace thanks to its sumptuousness and long wooden table. In this room took place the wedding reception of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Photo credits incipit: 272447 by Pixabay
Article photo credits: Home Advisor
The principles behind the fast fashion business model are low prices, quick consumption, and rapidly changing trends. Recently, some operators in the sector have adopted sustainability programs that include the return of used clothing, the repair of damaged clothing, the introduction of "conscious" or recycled materials in the production chain, taking a few steps in the direction of circularity.
According to some no-profit organizations in the sector, including the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, promoter of the Make Fashion Circular program, intervening significantly on consumption habits in this particular fashion sector will require a significant effort to eradicate the widespread mentality among fast fashion consumers.
According to a study by the Caledonian University of Glasgow on consumer habits, a t-shirt costing $5 is perceived as a "disposable" garment; the user of the item considers it more convenient to dispose of it and buy it new, rather than mending it to prolong its use.
The consulting firm McKinsey & Company highlighted in its reports on the sector that putting several collections on the market during the same year, with mass production that goes beyond seasonality, entices consumers to buy clothing regardless of the real need, with consequent unjustified waste.
The consumer has no evidence of the global impacts of their purchases. The company Quantis, which provides climate consulting services in the fashion industry, has calculated the environmental impact of clothing and footwear at all stages of their useful life. It is estimated that the production of a cotton T-shirt emits about 5 kg of CO2 and uses up to 1,750 litres of water; manufacturing a pair of jeans requires 3,000 litres of water and emits 20 kg of CO2. Washing is also an activity that has a significant impact on the environment, not only because of the water consumption but also because of the release of synthetic fibres that, by transforming into microplastics, can damage marine fauna.
These numbers are expected to grow, the Global Fashion Agenda estimates a 50% increase in water consumption by 2030 and expresses concern for the leading cotton-producing countries, given the speed with which they are running out of water.
There are more sustainable ways to grow cotton, as well as technologies that can reduce water consumption during the production process. These are still niche products, techniques that are not widely used and with uncompetitive results. Today the textile industry cannot rely on a technological infrastructure developed to the point of making the recycling of fabrics systemic. It is difficult for fast fashion houses to keep prices low, to which they have accustomed their customers, on garments made with organic or second-life materials.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, what can be done in the meantime is to counter the perception of disposable fashion by promoting more sustainable consumption habits and communicating the efforts made towards a more sustainable fashion with transparency.
Orsola de Castro, designer and founder of the Fashion Revolution movement, points out that allocating a budget for limited experimental circularity projects is not only not enough, but can even prove counterproductive in terms of sustainability. There is a risk that companies will pass on the message that mass production and uncontrolled purchases are possible thanks to the fact that in the future everything will be recycled, thus legitimizing the maintenance of the current business model.
Photo credits: congersedign; artem; jim black from Pixabay
The Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism Dario Franceschini last Wednesday anticipated to the Senate the initiatives that his ministry will promote in favour of the tourism sector to counter the crisis triggered by the pandemic. The minister, exposing the critical issues that all operators in the industry are facing, spoke of a state of "extra-crisis" - this is the term used - from which it will not be easy to get out, despite the extraordinary measures coming. The feeling of mistrust and prudent behaviour will remain even at the end of the health emergency and will drag on for an unforeseeable length of time. The recovery of the tourism sector, as well as that of cultural activities, including the enjoyment of places of culture in general, will inevitably be slower than in other areas.
In the coming days, the government will explain in detail the economic measures. Still, Minister Franceschini wanted to reassure the Italians saying that "There will be holidays, but they will be different. There will be Italian holidays".
Let's forget exotic destinations, intercontinental travel, no tours of European capitals and excursions to the borders of the world. We are far from all this. But distance, you know, helps to look at things from a different perspective and to focus better on what surrounds us.
We have the opportunity to rethink the way we move around the planet and become more aware of the impact our explorations have on local economies and the environment.
Three suggestions that, even if accepted in this period of forced stop, could change the way we travel forever:
1. Know your country
What better opportunity to visit the museum from which we passed indifferently every morning to go to work or school. A walk through the streets of the village where we went to visit relatives could prove to be up to the most trendy and hipster neighbourhoods that we would have searched hard in European cities.
2. Adopt the "small and simple" paradigm
Reducing our travel footprint seems an ambitious goal, but there are many small things we can do to achieve it. When choosing accommodation, for example, or transportation, keep in mind that "the smaller and simpler the better". Staying in small hostels, inns, or holiday homes can contribute significantly to the economy of the place that hosts us. Also, the choice of the means of transport with which we move can have positive impacts; it is useful to optimize the routes to shorten the distances. In this way we can choose the most proportionate to our needs, preferring walking, cycling or public transport. We will experience the place that hosts us as if we were locals.
3. Rely on local guides
Do-it-yourself is an ingrained habit for tourists and travellers, especially in the low-cost sector. It could be time to re-evaluate guided tours without giving up your autonomy. Relying on local, professional or improvised guides, forming small groups of visitors, can be an opportunity to discover unusual places and customs as well as to get to know them. Dining in a hidden restaurant, not indicated on the guides, or drinking a cocktail in the bar that goes unnoticed, but is a cult meeting place for the local community, enriches our travel experience and contributes to the local micro-economy.
Who knows when we'll be able to travel again. Whether our first destination is the city we live in, the beach or the mountain trail a few kilometres from home, let's remember that travel is no excuse to waste money or to send our ethical and environmental standards on vacation.
Photo credits: StockSnap from Pixabay
Covid-19 changed the world we live in. The main problem to solve today is how to start again after this sudden standstill and how this restart can be an opportunity for improvement as well as recovery.
What the fashion industries are beginning to wonder is whether, following the even more profound crisis caused by this pandemic, it is convenient to continue with the same production strategy as always or whether to change the approach to work in a more sustainable way. In the week between 20 and 26 April 2020, the Fashion Revolution Week took place during which the Fashion Transparency Index was published. From this recent study, it emerges that many fashion leaders, producers and brands are questioning their structure by analyzing their sectors to be efficient, the systems to be changed and all the many sustainability initiatives applied to be introduced for the benefit of their company but also the environment and climate change.
Starting from this assumption, however, it is necessary to reflect on a severe problem that has also affected the fashion sector, namely that the COVID-19 has worsened exponentially the crisis condition that permeated the market even before. This means that only those brands that had long since started a process of awareness-raising and adoption of sustainable initiatives will be able to continue their transformation plans. On the other hand, all those who have always used greenwashing will face economic difficulties that are too high to hope to make progress in the area of sustainability or even survive.
Indeed, when economic resources decline, one is prepared to take fewer risks by taking refuge in old, proven approaches. And the more complex a product's supply chains are, the more difficult it will be to make them efficient. This makes transparent and straightforward processes win out, as they can be more resilient in times of crisis and increase customer loyalty. In fact, consumers have now understood how precarious the balance of our ecosystem is and, above all, how much power they have to change the purchasing behaviour of the market. They have, therefore become more demanding and sustainability is rewarding in the choice between one brand and another.
Based on recent data collected by McKinsey in Spain, Germany, France and the UK from around 6000 consumers, it is clear that 16% will want to look for sustainable products once they reopen their stores after the crisis, 20% have already decided to reduce their annual spending on fashion by giving more value to what they already own, and 45% will prefer to follow companies that will demonstrate their involvement and strategies to get out of the crisis and increasingly embrace their approach to environmental and social sustainability. From these studies, it emerges that much more likely companies will be chosen:
- will change their production processes towards process sustainability;
- will invest in transparency and communication towards resource-saving and environmental and social respect;
- will find new strategies to break down the overproduction of new products in favour of the reuse and rental of existing ones.
In this regard, a significant event took place three weeks ago when Helena Helmersson, the CEO of H&M Group together with Ikea, Unilever and other companies in the sector signed a European alliance for a Green Recovery. The aim is to all together contribute to significant investments to restart the global post-crisis economy, while respecting the circular economy and climate change as the only fundamental parameters of the worldwide market.
The global pandemic has highlighted the failure of the system to respond adequately to people's basic needs. The long-awaited "return to normality" would mean going back to where we left off, to an unequal economic system that would leave many social and economic realities behind, even more than in the pre-pandemic period. We can; indeed, we must, do better.
The COVID-19 offers an opportunity to rethink the way we work with respect for people and the planet by redesigning our economic and social systems in this sense.
B Corp-certified companies, like Goldmann & Partners (since 2017) that are already used to measuring their positive impact within the communities in which they operate and, on the environment, tried to figure out how. B Corp showed great ability to adapt and cooperate in withstanding the crisis by adapting to the new circumstances; in this way, they have managed to stay afloat with each other.
Resilience and adaptation are the key words of new business strategies in the post-pandemic future.
Recovery requires an economic system that rewards not only damage limitation strategies but also those that address long-term social and environmental problems. Such an economy is described in the Doughnut Economics model by British economist Kate Roworth. The model defines the field of existence of sustainable development within two limits, the hole and the crust of the doughnut. The first represents the social dimension, the availability of essential resources that guarantees respect for human rights; the second, the crust, describes the environmental aspect and the use of natural resources by man. Beyond these boundaries, in one sense and the other, conditions of human deprivation and ecological degradation respectively occur. Sustainable development is only possible if these two limits are respected.
An ecosystem is healthy when all its components are in balance, and each one contributes to the prosperity of the whole system. If even a single element goes into crisis, a domino effect could cause devastating consequences for the entire system. A healthy economic ecosystem needs functions that complement and counterbalance each other to remain flourishing:
Transforming our economy is a monumental task, a radical change that requires a new social contract between governments, businesses, employees and people in general.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how dependent we are on each other and the systems we rely on, from the food chain to health care. Something has not worked. It is time to redesign these systems in the long term with greater resilience and shared prosperity objectives. Companies need to invest more resources in cooperation with other sectors and their customers, non-profit organizations need to create productive and strategic partnerships, and institutions need to provide a regulatory infrastructure that encourages new approaches.
In this way, using interdependence as a guiding principle for the design of new economic systems, everyone can play their part.
The change will not happen unless we make it relevant to everyone.
Photo credits: bthechange.com; Kate Raworth and Christian Guthier The Lancet Planetary Health; F1 Digitals from Pixabay
The subject of face masks is much debated today. Which models exist, what differentiates them from each other, how long they can be used, how they should be worn. What is certain, however, is that there is only one major widespread problem and that is being able to buy them.
Those who are lucky enough to find a fully stocked pharmacy are faced with very high prices and the possibility of buying one per person. Those who are smarter rely on e-commerce, starting an intricate journey of names, codes, shipping costs, delivery waits for that last for months without having the confidence that they will ever arrive.
Since the government has made the use of masks mandatory, this situation has worsened since the leading manufacturers have the responsibility to supply the health and civil protection sector primarily, leaving the citizen in the background.
The reason why this situation has arisen, however, lies in the main characteristic of these masks, namely the fact that they are mainly disposable and go against all principles of sustainability. In fact, in just a few hours, these protection shields become a new health waste in addition to those that are drowning our entire ecosystem in a sea of non-recyclable products.
So, when we talk about disposable products, a reflection on the difference between the linear economy of which they are part and circular economy is spontaneously born. Because in the light of this lack, instead of understanding how to increase the production of disposable masks, we should invest in the research of how to use existing materials and technologies following precisely the principles of circularity.
Reduction, reuse and recycling are, in fact, the phases of this type of economy and are based on the elimination of waste of resources and energy:
Clearly, this reflection concerns one of the two categories of materials that characterize the circular economy, namely technical materials that are destined to be reused and not biological materials that are able to integrate again into the biosphere respecting the natural ecosystem.
And it is precisely technical materials that we talk about when we address the issue of masks. Fortunately, several companies and research centres are experimenting with sterilization systems that allow reducing waste and supply requirements. Thanks to instruments available in hospitals and elements such as steam and hydrogen peroxide, N95 masks can be decontaminated guaranteeing the same filtering quality as new ones. The Food and Drug Administration is, therefore, proceeding to approve these methods to spread these sanitization procedures in all hospitals, thus becoming a model of sustainable circularity.
We are well aware that it is generally from moments of difficulty that practical solutions can be found and precisely for this reason, the COVID-19 pandemic could be considered a real opportunity for reflection and action. Reflection on the practices of living today and how many changes we can implement in our daily lives to reduce environmental pollution in favour of sustainability. And action to apply as much as possible criteria of circularity in the responsible production and purchase of goods, avoiding to encourage the creation of waste. We must not forget that we are in the decade that separates us from achieving the objectives of the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2030 and it is, therefore, time to apply all sustainable solutions to protect environmental resources that represent the only possible legacy for future generations.
Photos by Alexas Fotos from Pixabay
Consumers are currently convinced that sustainability is the right answer to the responsible management of the planet's resources. But in a world where companies continue to do greenwashing, actually doing things in a sustainable way is becoming more and more difficult as you risk making mistakes unwittingly.
Every single daily activity that a consumer does has an inherent cost that is often unknown or not considered to turn a good deed into a bad one. To try to understand what may be the most common mistakes that each one of us does not realize we are making, we have decided to summarize them and find the alternative solutions that are more sustainable.
When we go shopping at the supermarket, we have been taught that using plastic bags is wrong and choosing cotton bags is the right choice. This would only be right if we used the ones we already have and did not buy new ones. If the production processes of a plastic bag were compared to cotton bags, the latter would have to be used 20,000 times or for about 55 years to have the same environmental impact as a disposable plastic bag. Cotton is, in fact, a material that requires a high cost of environmental resources due to both the high demand for water and the use of chemicals during its production that deplete the ozone layer of the planet.
When it comes to buying handbags but above all clothing, the fundamental rule is: do not buy to follow a fashion but only when you need them. And in this case, choose companies that reflect in every aspect the ethicality so professed. You have to look for it in the materials of which the products are made, in the environmental certifications of the production processes, in the type of packaging chosen, in the way a shop is set up and in the participation in reuse and recycling campaigns. Finally, we must not forget all the second-hand and vintage methods that certainly help to give new life to garments still ready to be worn by a new owner.
As for the theme of recycling, it is essential to follow this principle: if you do it, it must be done well. Suffice it to say that just one wrong product inserted in the recycling container, makes the whole load null and void. Like when we see plastic bags used to throw the paper into its dedicated container. So, in case you have any doubts, first of all, you have to inquire about all the online portals available, and in case you do not know what to do, rather throw it in the undifferentiated but never risk damaging a specific waste collection.
In general, however, you have to follow a few golden rules that include each category of product and activity:
If we wanted to continue with these types of reasoning, there would still be many aspects to analyse. What is certain is that right now everyone probably already has everything they need. The only thing they need instead is the imagination and creativity to use their resources more efficiently by looking within themselves for the solution to their needs.
Photo by Seksak Kerdkanno from Pixabay
There have been many recommendations in recent months regarding the healthiness of the environment. Since the beginning of the health emergency, measures of prevention have been updated according to the increasing knowledge about viral particles transmission and surviving.
The first recommendations were for people, then came some specifications regarding objects and surfaces with which one comes into contact and finally the recommendations referring to closed spaces, houses and workspaces.
Several studies have shown a possible link between air quality and the virus spread; if we first focused on the level of pollution in our cities, the measures of social distancing, which have forced us to stay homes, have moved public attention to indoor air quality. Besides, the prospects of restarting and returning to the offices have raised the question of the healthiness of workspaces.
The effects of indoor air quality on psychophysical well-being are known for some time. Two years ago, the book INDOOR POLLUTION - Architectural, bio-legal and medical-scientific aspects of living, edited by Umberto Veronesi Foundation, with the scientific contribution of Goldmann & Partners, described not only the effects on the body of toxic substances in the environment but also traced in architecture the origin of some problems resulting from indoor pollution. Goldmann & Partners' research identified solutions to these problems through the application of bio-architecture principles, addressing issues ranging from the design of spaces to the choice of low emitting materials and furnishings, from plant management to green cleaning.
The current health emergency has brought to the attention of public opinion all these issues on which, in the current circumstance, not only health professionals but also technicians, engineers' organizations and plant engineers have expressed their opinions. They provided specific recommendations regarding the reduction of the risk from the spread of Coronavirus through air conditioning and ventilation systems in healthcare environments and workplaces.
At the end of March, the ISS (Health Institution) Environment and Indoor Air Quality Working Group published the ISS COVID-19 Report No. 5/2020 - Interim recommendations for the prevention and management of indoor environments about the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. The document provides essential indications for the maintenance of a right level of air quality in indoor, work and home environments.
Among the recommendations for domestic environments, there is that of ensuring a good air exchange through natural ventilation to reduce the concentration of pollutants, such as VOC, PM10, CO2, etc., as well as aerosol. It recommends maintaining suitable thermo-hygrometric conditions and to clean the intakes carefully, ventilation grilles and filters of air conditioning systems. Compared to the latter, the report is in favour of the interruption of air recirculation.
Similar measures suggested for working environments, for which there is also the critical issue of controlled mechanical ventilation. According to the ISS guidelines, ventilation systems must keep the air inlet and exhaust air active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. During the emergency period, the air recirculation function must be stopped to avoid the possible transport of pathogens (bacteria, viruses, etc.) into the air.
On the management of the mechanical systems during the emergency has also been expressed by AiCARR, Italian Association of Air Conditioning Heating Refrigeration through a series of protocols and documents, declined on the possible case history in the workplace, which confirms and integrate the indications contained in the ISS report. To minimize the effects of the presence of an infected person in the workplace, AiCARR recommends reducing the level of occupation of the rooms significantly. On the ventilation systems, the suggestion is to operate them at nominal or maximum allowed speed to remove airborne particles (aerosols) and contain the deposition on surfaces.
Also, AiCARR affirms the need to close the recirculation pathways to avoid that the introduced air is mixed with the air extracted or expelled from the rooms.
Similar recommendations come at international level from REHVA Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations, which has published on its website guidelines on the management of air conditioning systems, keeping them updated.
The opinion of the technical-scientific community on the management of building systems during an emergency is unanimous. The measures to be adopted require putting on stand-by all those functional operations for energy-saving. The operation of h24 systems, regardless of the level of occupancy of the buildings, as well as the interruption of air recirculation, with the consequent supply of fresh air as much as possible from outside, are measures that will require greater energy expenditure. The current spring season will only partially contain the scale of the phenomenon.
Among the many opportunities for reflection offered by the Coronavirus is that relating to the design of the next buildings, then the consideration of passive strategies is essential.
Photo credits: Bru-nO; Tama66; Juhasz Imre
Registrations are now open for OUT OF FASHION, the first cycle of advanced training based on sustainability applied to the textile, clothing and accessories sector.
Starting from September 18, 2020, with the first lesson, the course will develop between frontal teaching and exercises for a total of 72 hours and will end in February 2021.
Born in 2014 from Connecting Cultures, from this year the teaching is completely renewed. This thanks to the partnership with POLI.design, which together with CNA, the Gianfranco Ferré Foundation and the support of the Consulate General of the Netherlands, form the backbone of the course.
Sustainability in fashion today is no longer optional but compulsory. According to the United Nations, over 10% of global CO2 emissions and over 20% of water pollution is caused by the manufacturing industry, which with 92 million tons of waste produced per year is the second most polluting industry, after Oil & Gas.
Therefore, first of all, there is an urgent need for a more conscious behaviour on the part of all consumers, called to abandon the excesses dictated by Fast Fashion to reduce the immense volumes of clothing sent to waste.
At the same time, however, it is crucial the training of young people working in this sector and the parallel development of research, both in terms of innovative materials and production processes and supply chains.
New sustainable business models, development of CSR in the companies, experimentation with innovative non-polluting dyeing techniques and ethical and transparent fashion communication: these are just some of OUT OF FASHION topics.
And these are also the indispensable prerequisite for a sustainable transformation of the fashion world. An approach focused on the production of ecological objects is no longer enough. Still, we need to rethink the entire production and supply chain needs to achieve solid system sustainability.
This multidisciplinary approach is at the basis of the educational program, which is why the teachers come from very different but interconnected fields: journalists, fashion product innovators, management engineers, fashion designers are just some of the professionals of the prestigious teaching staff.
These include, for years, Isabella Goldmann, architect, director of Goldmann & Partners and the Applied Sustainability Studies Centre of IRCAS and editor of our magazine MeglioPossibile.
In the end, all students will receive a certificate of participation by Connecting Cultures in collaboration with POLI.design.
For more information:
Lead picture: Pexels, Pixabay
The circularity targets to be achieved by 2020 for the fashion sector are: invest in design strategies for recyclability, increase the volume of used clothing collected, increase the sale of used clothing and that of clothing made from recycled fibres. It was the Global Fashion Agenda that launched the Call to Action for a Circular Fashion System at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in May 2017. On that occasion 64 companies, for 143 brands, had taken up the invitation by signing a letter of commitment.
For some companies, setting those targets was only the necessary step to start the transition. Still, most of the industries in the sector have not yet formulated any strategy to move from a linear to a zero-waste circular production system.
Where to start, then?
The infrastructure that must support the transformation still needs conspicuous investments for the development of new technologies, but the fashion industry is also made up of people with different backgrounds in terms of experience and training. Re-educating fashion professionals is the first decisive step to start the transformation of the industry from inside.
Most fashion workers have been trained to produce clothing to be placed on the market; the life-cycle of the product, in the designer's mind, ranges from sketches to the store. Designers have no visibility on what happens next. To move to circular fashion, fashion professionals must consider the entire life cycle of a product, from the sourcing of raw materials to its dismissing. Keeping in mind the useful life of clothing since its conception is fundamental, 80% of the environmental impact of a product is determined on the design table.
It is necessary to focus on the actual user of the product, who wears clothes and the function that they perform for him. In this way, designers become able to identify the most suitable materials and to design appropriate life cycles for products according to their actual use.
Consider also what happens when the consumer decides to get rid of the garment, think about the second life of the products and design them to have one. This requires an in-depth knowledge of the entire production chain.
This is a radical change in the approach to fashion design that requires an evolution in the training of professionals in the sector with the involvement of the institutions. There are still few universities that have introduced sustainability and circularity issues in their training offer, and the rest are struggling to keep up to date. There is a risk of forming a class of young graduates with a linear mentality, which could be obsolete compared to the steps that the industry will have taken in the direction of circularity.
Finally, consider that the transformation of the industry must be accompanied by a change in the corresponding business model. Designing more lasting and recyclable clothing only make sense within a system that promotes the clothing repair rather than its discarding. The history of advertising shows (Patagonia case) that this strategic choice is winning over all the others possible.
Photo credits: Myriam Zilles, Free-Photos from Pixabay