Mauritius: UNESCO conference on climate change education opens

world-300x209Balaclava, Mauritius – A three-day experts’ meeting on climate change, sponsored by UNESCO, kicked off Wednesday in the northern Mauritius city of Balaclava.

The Mauritian Education Minister, Vasant Bunwaree, who spoke at the opening session, said that education for sustainable development would pave the way for a better comprehension of issues related to durability of the planet.

“Our  understanding of education today is constantly punctuated by an awareness of the new realities and global preoccupations,’ he said.

He added ‘there is now a wide recognition that something is changing in our climatic system.’

He said that extreme climate events, such as heavy rains and tropical storms, have been increasing over the last few years, let alone the rise in temperatures, the sea level and the deterioration of the coastline as well as ‘the reduction of the water resources which are all risks we are constantly confronted with’.

Recommendations from the meeting will be turned over to the 18th United Nations conference of the Framework Convention on climate change and the UNESCO world conference on sustainable development education scheduled in 2014 in Japan.


Sustainable building design analysis using Ecotect

If you are an architect, building designer or engineer, you might have heard of Ecotect Analysis. If you haven’t, it might be of interest to you. Students or professionals in the construction industry willing to go towards sustainable design might also find this useful in understanding the design principles through a visually responsive and interactive tool.
[NOTE: I am also planning on providing training courses on the fundamentals of Ecotect, as well as green building design concepts, in the near future (see last paragraph of this article).]


Ecotect is a tool designed to aid in the simulation, analysis and optimisation of high performance buildings, and is especially useful in sustainable building design projects. Its comprehensive analysis capabilities help analyse and simulate conceptual designs. It allows architects and engineers to test and evaluate design strategies and to study alternatives and make decisions earlier to deliver more achievable, resource-efficient building designs.

Architects, designers and engineers often find it useful to visually communicate complex design concepts and extensive datasets to other project team members and clients in an intuitive and effective way. For instance, proposing the use of a shading device might not be initially accepted by a client, until the potential savings in cooling energy due to the shading device is demonstrated. This can effectively be done through the use of Ecotect Analysis.

Using simulation software, design professionals are able to continuously study and predict how decisions will impact the performance of the building from the early phases of design through occupancy, reducing or eliminating the need for investment in mock-ups or manual calculations. Ecotect gives architects, designers and engineers the power to use performance-based criteria in their design projects.

Ecotect Analysis produces cutting-edge 3D spatial models to help users visualise  the simulation output, allowing a smooth translation of the simulation results into the project design.  A few of the outputs from Ecotect Analysis are shown below (all images courtesy of Autodesk):


If you are interested in learning how to use Ecotect for conceptual design analyses, I am planning on providing training courses on the fundamentals of Ecotect as well as an overview of green building design concepts. Courses will be MQA-approved and fees refundable up to 75% (for companies contributing to the HRDC levy grant system) . If you are interested in attending the training course and would like to be notified when the training courses are scheduled, please subscribe to this blog or to the Facebook fan page.
If you think your friends might be interested in the above, please share this using the social media buttons below.  

Emma Ozsen - Sustainability Consultant
Emma Ozsen
Building Design Analyst and Sustainability Consultant

What Is Sustainable Forestry?

Reducing paper usage has been one of the most iconic and understandable of the green movement’s mandates. The intricacies of forest management have remained obscure to most of us, however,  although forest management is the real key to preserving woodland habitats as well as our wood supply. Most consumers now recognize that it is an eco-friendly choice to look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label on wood products, to guarantee that they are sustainably produced … but what does this label mean, exactly, and is there more to the story of sustainable forestry?
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HOME movie: how humanity has upset the balance of the planet…

Please take the time to watch this movie and pass the link on to your friends & family.

The story: We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth’s climate.

The stakes are high for us and our children. Everyone should take part in the effort, and HOME has been conceived to take a message of mobilization out to every human being.

Link to watch video:

Gorgeous green walls: The next big thing in green building design

We now hear about green roofs, and even see some being used in Mauritius. A similar design concept is to create “green walls”. See this article for more information and to see the benefits of green walls: