NOMOREGAS is live
For some time, we asked ourselves about our role in society as architects and educators. We decided that our mission should be to expand the agency of ecological thinking and design. We would do so by becoming better professionals, producing knowledge through our work and research, and becoming activists. The question of the agency of architects and ecological designers had partially sprung from the news of war in Europe and a frustrating feeling of impotence. Putting pen to paper to express this frustration was fruitful: it helped us decide to research the energy crisis and the war from an ecological designer’s perspective.
#nomoregas is at the crux of research and activism.
Why gas boilers? We knew that gas boilers are friends of several invasive regimes; then we discovered that they are also the next biggest obstacle to achieving net zero (combined, they are by far the biggest CO2 emitters in the UK) and among the worst sources of urban pollution. The difficulty of getting rid of gas boilers is the lack of viable alternatives. Heat pumps, albeit a magnificent work of engineering and a crucial piece of the net zero strategies, do not work for millions of flats and small houses or people with fewer means.
#nomoregas is born from our overlapping environmental and social justice passions.
We decided to investigate all the alternatives to gas boilers for heating and hot water, both in the case of properties needing refurbishment (generally easier) and when only the boiler needed replacing. We investigated, interviewed, and sometimes tested several products. We then connected products, or combinations of products, with their best application. Finally, we built an easy-to-use selector so that homeowners and designers can quickly identify the right solution for them or their project: whether it’s a flat or a house, 50 or 100 square metres and so on. Although not all are perfect, and some are expensive, we succeeded in identifying feasible solutions for every case.
#nomoregas is an information platform for people and designers who wish to find alternatives to gas boilers and a guide to the future electrified society.
The beta version of the website is up and running.
We now want to work with institutions and thought leaders in the design and energy sectors to expand the website’s visibility and impact; by involving the right people, we hope to bring this particular topic to the centre of the energy transition conversation.
- City authorities may be interested in the impact on air quality and may want to help bring this topic to the attention of the central and regional governments.
- Policy-makers could recognise the opportunity of helping growing innovative companies that are tackling the energy transition’s most difficult problems.
- Designers and designer bodies can celebrate the expansion of our profession’s agency and foster the development of the website as a tool for design by providing feedback, advice, exposure and funding.
- Researchers can collaborate with and use the platform to inform more people and affect the public debate.
#nomoregas competition, call for papers, and exhibition
Our main goal is to slow climate change and reduce the use of gas, but as an architecture practice, we can’t refrain from imagining the impact of the electrified home on the physical world. This is why want like to launch a call for papers and a design competition to discuss the future of the electric city and the electric home.
(Above, 1925 Figini e Pollini La casa elettrica. Below, 1956, Smithsons’ Home of the Future)
- What will the heat batteries of the future look like?
- What are we going to do with all those useless flues? How will we fill millions of holes into the building fabrics where flues used to be?
- What is it like to be traversed by infrared light?
- Heat battery architectural integrations:
o The pediment
o The pad foundation
o The front pilaster
- Small changes to homes that will affect our everyday lives and urban landscapes.
The design competition will award £500/£1000 (we are looking for a sponsor). The call for papers will result in participation in an exhibition and the ensuing publication.
(We are looking for sponsorships and research grants for the exhibition and the publication: the first in a series of architecture and ecology investigations. One project at a time.)