‘Scenes of a City’ Final Exhibition, Talk, and Awards

Start Date & Time: 16/06/2017 - 12:00 am

End Date & Time: 16/06/2017 - 12:00 am

On the evening of Friday 16th June 2017, Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar (FAA) organized a talk entitled ‘Sustainable Development’ given by Dr. Ruben Paul Borg at the Floriana Local Council offices.  The event was introduced by Tara Cassar (FAA architect) and held in conjunction with the announcement of the winners of the FAA’s ‘Scenes of a City’ Photography Competition.  Dr Ruben Paul Borg, who is a Senior Lecturer in the Construction and Property Management Faculty for the Built Environment at the University of Malta, as well as an architect, was also one of the expert judges of the competition.

Dr. Borg talked about waste material that could be exploited, such as quarried material (20% wastage upon extraction), plastic, car tyres, and fly ash.  All these waste products can be used to produce modular (pre-cast) concrete, such as building cladding making buildings more attractive and sustainable.  Uses of construction waste material can also be used for quarry rehabilitation (filling of quarries to be used for agriculture), and land reclamation (but can affect marine ecology with long term effects).

Dr. Borg went on to talk about Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product’s life from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, to disposal or recycling.  In construction he suggested that hollow concrete blocks could be made, or if larger blocks could be cut then there would be less waste.  As an example of recycling waste material, Dr. Borg mentioned the re-construction of Manwel Dimech Bridge in St. Julians, whereby the old bridge supports were crushed to make aggregate (the rebar was separated) and the recycled material used as Self Compacting Concrete using waste Globigerina Limestone filler for the re-constructed bridge.

Generally speaking, recycled waste material can produce better products, which are thoroughly lab tested before use.  Examples of lab tests are the effect of chloride (salt) migration on self compacting concrete, production of geopolymer concrete (i.e. without cement) which benefits the environment, and shredded plastic waste used to produce a cement with plastic fibres, which can control cracking defects in concrete due to drying shrinkage and at the same time increase the toughness of concrete.  Similarly, extracting material from the local ‘bajtar tax xewk’ plant can be used to produce a better concrete.  Dr. Borg then talked about Self Healing Materials e.g. bacteria to address the aging process in constructions, and to repair, maintain, and address the cracking defects in concrete.  Furthermore, Dr. Borg stated that cement contributes (negatively) to the production of carbon dioxide (CO2), but the converse is also true in that cement can absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.  The latter can be measured by conducting lab tests under variable humidity and temperature test conditions.

Dr. Borg highlighted the Xrobb L’Ghagin regeneration building project with the aim to promote sustainability using a High Environmental Efficient Assessment Rating Tool.  In this project, recycled material was used to insulate the roof, light pipes installed, and turbines used to generate power to fulfill the building’s environmental performance and to satisfy all needs of its users.

At the end of Dr. Ruben Borg’s talk, Tara Cassar announced the winners of the ‘SCENES OF A CITY’ Photographic Competition, which was designed to focus on the importance of the sustainable development of Malta’s cities and communities.  Certificates were awarded to the top 20, whose entries will be exhibited for 2 weeks at the Floriana Local Council offices.  Award Winners were;

1st  place Clare Aquilina

2nd place Stefan Cachia

3rd place Dave Grima.

Light refreshments were provided following the announcement of the results.

Derek Moss

FAA Volunteer

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