Chicago, called `the windy city`, was a very interesting place for me to participate as an intern because there is a carbon dioxide emission trade center and many programs which aim to create a balance between industry and the environment. Usually, when the economy grows the environment is polluted, but Chicago`s case does not hold true to this principle. These are the reason why Chicago is attractive to me as a place to take part in the internship program.
Even though it was hard to get to Chicago because of the difficulty in getting a US visa, I learned a lot during my internship. I worked with Walter H. Sobel who is a research professor and architect. I helped on two projects and went on many field trips. I also helped to prepare the elementary ecology class on green buildings.
One of my projects was related to the `Go Green Wilmette` project to create an eco-friendly town, while Wilmette is near Chicago, there is a similar project in Incheon. Wilmette Residents for a Better Environment was founded in 2006 to help establish an Environmental Commission as part of their Village Government. Mr. Sobel was researching green buildings: one of the aspects of the `Go Green Wilmette` project.
The transportation project for a transport loop, called `Big Plan`, was done by the previous intern but I did try to get to know how this project is going and what the next step to achieve this goal is. This plan is to upgrade the CTA(subway system) for the 2016 Olympics. This is about a Circle Line Rail service connecting many of the existing CTA and Metra rail stations in the downtown area which allows for visitors to get easily from the airport to downtown Chicago.
I participated in many field trips. Among them, the sustainable house is a very impressive place. The sustainable house which I visited in Wilmette near Chicago is a green building made from recycled materials. Even though all of the house`s materials are not eco-friendly, there are many things that are green about it. The aluminum roof is used to reflect sunlight and keep the home cool. Energy is supplied by solar and geothermal sources. There are solar panels on the back of the garage roof. Geothermal wells keep a constant temperature for heating and cooling. The stove uses magnetism to create heat. Only a metal pan or pot can activate the magnet to begin heating.
Once the metal object is removed from the stove top, the circuit is broken and no more heat is created. It is 90% efficient compared to most stoves that are only 40% efficient. Corn oil is used in the fireplace and the flames of the fire can be controlled. More windows afford more natural light and passive solar heat because there is no weight bearing walls within the home. Weight is supported on the corners of the structure in the form of encapsulated pillars. Although these materials and green tech are more expensive, the maintenance costs are lower than those of other houses because of tax benefits.
During my internship, I realized that the environment could be combined with architecture. It is hard for me to add my knowledge to other areas so this internship was a very good chance to learn about other fields and broaden my views. However, in my case, four weeks was a very short time to complete the project. In the first week, Mr. Sobel gave me a lot of books to accumulate basic knowledge of environmental architecture.
From the second week on, he gave me projects but I could not finish my project because of the shortness of my internship. The last intern for Mr. Sobel, who had a two month internship, completed his own project. If my internship had been longer, I could have done my own project, learned more about it and felt more satisfaction.