In honour of Earth Hour, our photo of the week (on our front page) is out a highrise window in Seattle during “lights off!”.

Earth Hour is celebrated in urban centres around the world – it’s a symbolic 60 minutes when residents and businesses turn out their lights out inside all sorts of architectural forms: from single family homes to the skyscraping highrises of downtown New York City.

But its possible to honour the Earth every hour. The photo above is an example of it. Its a recladded Berlin highrise. There’s a myriad of concrete ways to conserve energy in our concrete towers, inside and out. The Tower Renewal movement is a fine example of environmental solutions: its an agenda to encourage the retrofitting of our aging highrises to conserve heat and energy. Simple ideas. To clad the buildings with insulation to keep the heat in. To replace the windows. To create rooftop gardens. To create regional geothermal stations that take a cluster of highrises right off the main grid. To spread the notion of Urban Agriculture. Tower Renewal has precendents in highrise neighbourhoods around the world.

And here at HIGHRISE, these are all ideas we explore daily as we put the finishing touches on our latest project, 2000th Tower. A whimsical animated film that brings to life ideas for renewal in a Toronto Highrise neighbourhood. Watch for the launch later this Spring, and in the meantime, Happy Earth Hour.

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