European Commission Publishes Brochure to Promote Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure can be broadly defined as a planned network of high quality natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features, which is designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services and protect biodiversity in both rural and urban settings. An area with green infrastructure fosters a better quality of life, improves biodiversity, protects against climate change and encourages a smarter, more integrated approach to an efficient development. 

The European Commission addresses the potentials of green infrastructure in a new brochure “Building a Green Infrastructure for Europe”. The benefits of a greener environment are explained and exemplary case studies are presented.

The Commission has adopted a green infrastructure strategy, ‘to promote the deployment of green infrastructure in the EU in urban and rural areas’. The strategy is made up of four main elements, which are presented in detail in the brochure:

  • Promoting green infrastructure in the main EU policy areas
  • Supporting EU-level green infrastructure projects
  • Improving access to finance for GI projects
  • Improving information and promoting innovation

Further Information and free download of the brochure: Environment in the European Commission


FishPlant: Raise Fish and Grow Plants with Aquaponics

In times of excessive use of natural resources, people are compelled to think about new ways of growing food. The soil we grow our plants on is limited and the amount of animals we can hunt is shrinking. There is an acute threat of overfishing the oceans and the populations of many fish species cannot recover anymore. At the same time breeding fish costs lots of energy and creates waste.

One solution to these problems could be Aquaponics. Aquaponics combines the techniques of aquaculture and hydroponics to save energy and waste, by growing vegetables and fruit and breeding fish in the same enclosed artificial ecosystem. The idea is that the waste produced by the fish can be used to provide nutrients for the plants. The fish provide waste that is converted into nutrients by bacteria. The nutritious water is then given to the plants, which helps them grow. At the same time the water is being cleaned by the plants and the rest is given back to the fish. This way water is saved and there is no need for soil, clay pebbles or a similar recyclable substrate is used instead.

Aquaponics is primarily applied by professional breeders, but the British company FishPlant offers a solution for private customers who want to give it a try. The FishPlant system includes everything necessary for starters. The water distribution between the fish tank and the plant bed is based on a “Flood & Drain” system and works with an automatic siphon. There are two variants of the FishPlant right now: The Family Unit with 300 litres of water can keep up to 3,5 kilogram of fish and is geared towards private breeders and growers. The Production Unit with 800 litres can keep up to 7 kilogram of fish and is geared towards hotels and restaurants.

It is possible to breed edible fish as well as ornamental fish in the FishPlant. The company gives Tilapia, Carp, Trout and Perch as examples for food fish and Goldfish and even the precious Koi as ornamental fish species.

Further Information:


Nominated for Unique Youngstar Design Contest at spoga+gafa 2013: Fleet by Carolin Thieme

15 design projects by young talents are nominated for the unique youngstar award 2013. The theme of this year’s competition is “outdoor living”.

The nominated projects will be exhibited at the international garden trade fair spoga+gafa in Cologne, from September 8th to 10th. Between now and spoga+gafa we will introduce  the nominees in the garden unique category of this blog.


  • By: Carolin Thieme, Halle (Saale), Germany
  • Material: Concrete
  • Size: 3 x 40 x 34 cm

Fleet is a floor covering that is inspired by the Wadden Sea in northern Germany. It takes up the structure of the muddy bottom of the sea and its naturally formed grooves can function as drain for rainwater. The tiles are formed hexagonally and coated with a sealant, so that water cannot get into the concrete. The floor covering can be used in public spaces like pedestrian zones.

The winners of the competition will be announced in Hall 10.2 of the koelnmesse in Cologne on September 8th 2013 at 5 p.m. during the unique hour event. There will be three prizes awarded by a jury and an audience award which will be determined by online vote at

Greenest Games ever: World First for London 2012

The entire London 2012 Olympic Park development has achieved dual Project Certification from the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) schemes for its timber usage — the first dual Project Certification in the world.

This groundbreaking achievement in sustainable timber procurement has played a prominent role in helping the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) achieve its commitment of making the London 2012 Olympic Games the greenest games ever with 100% of wood products supplied certified as legal and sustainable.

The project certification ceremony took place on 28 March at the Olympic Park Site with certificates presented to Dr. Peter Bonfield, Head of Construction Products at the ODA and Noah Bold, Park Operations Environment & Sustainability Manager, by the Soil Association.

The development was audited by the Soil Association’s Woodmark and is being hailed as a major achievement that is potentially destined to be a future model for timber procurement globally. The scheme also saw a unique and important partnership role played by both PEFC and FSC to make sure that the levels of legal and sustainable timber procured by the ODA achieved the highest possible target. Woodmark said the project was a ‘world first’ for certification of such a huge and complex site.

Further information: