From cars to tables and computers to radios, factories manufacture a variety of products that are an integral part of modern life. In many cases, these facilities can be energy intensive and, to be honest, not very pleasant to look at.
However, with increasing concerns about sustainability and the environment, some companies are trying to reduce the impact of doing business with factories and offices through clever design, interesting materials, and renewable energy sources.
Drafts for a new furniture factory in Norway were released earlier this week. The companies involved in their development hope that it will be sustainable, aesthetically pleasing and technologically advanced.
Known as The Plus, the 6,500-square-meter building will be located in Magnor, Norway, and will be surrounded by trees. The site also functions as a 300-hectare park.
The architectural firm associated with the design of the project is the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and its client is Vestre, a Norwegian furniture manufacturer founded in 1947.
Construction is scheduled to start in August. After completion of the work, the plant will have a number of sustainable features. According to BIG, which has offices in Copenhagen, New York, Barcelona and London, the facade of the building will be made of local wood, recycled reinforcing steel and low-carbon concrete, while 1,200 solar panels will be installed on the roof. All in all, it is hoped that The Plus' greenhouse gas emissions will be 50% lower compared to a traditional factory.
A special website with the plans for the building says that more than 90% of the water used in production is recycled. The factory will use "self-learning industrial robots" and driverless electric vehicles. According to the location, the robots will be able to coat products with artificial intelligence and "object recognition" technology with color coatings.
The plus is one of many sustainability-oriented buildings that are currently being developed. The beverage giant Diageo recently announced plans for a climate-neutral whiskey distillery in Kentucky.
In a statement released on Monday, Diageo, which produces beverages like Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness, listed a number of features that it hopes will improve the distillery and its operations.
These include: the plant, which is operated 100% with renewable electricity; the use of LED lamps indoors to increase energy efficiency; and all the vehicles operated there are electric.
Last week, Australian technology company Atlassian unveiled plans to build the “tallest hybrid wooden building in the world”.
The design will include wood and a glass and steel facade that also use solar panels and have "self-shading capabilities". It is also planned to integrate a staggered outdoor garden into the structure.