Malta

malta

Malta ranks 25th in the 2015 Eco-innovation Scoreboard with a composite index of 64 relative to the EU-average index of 100. The country slightly exceeds the EU-28 average in terms of resource efficiency outcomes (with an index of 104), but lags behind in eco-innovation inputs, activities and outputs and socio-economic outcomes.

The development of eco-innovation is hindered by a mix of natural constraints and structural challenges, including the country’s small size and insularity, limited potential to develop renewable energy sources, a weak human resources base in science and technologies, limited capacity and readiness for research and innovation on behalf of local firms, and relatively low levels of investment in R&D.

Nevertheless, several recent policy initiatives – most notably, a new National Research and Innovation Strategy to 2020 – reflect the Government’s commitment to improve Malta’s innovation environment and R&D potential. Policy initiatives specifically related to eco-innovation and the circular economy include a Green Economy Strategy and Action Plan, a National Electromobility Action Plan, and a new Waste Management Plan. Areas that have benefitted from eco-innovation solutions in the past two years include water management (in particular, efforts to address water scarcity) and energy efficiency

 

2015 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for Malta

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Grassblock

Labels: Malta ConstructionLand

Malta_GPE_GrassblockAttard Bros. have for long produced the 'Grassblock'. The product's general idea is that it is a precast concrete paving flag that allows space for soil to be inserted into inbuilt cavities inside the paving flag. Turf seeds can then be planted into the soil and once it grows, it would improve the surroundings by increasing the 'green aspect'. The product transforms the paving from an industrial look, into an area with an aspect of soft landscaping.

The grassblock creates useable, hard-standing spaces whilst retaining the benefits of a natural grassed area, creating oxygen-producing driveways. Its cavities are designed to facilitate the growth of grass withing a supporting concrete matrix, allowing grass to be cut in a conventional manner. having an area with only natural turf would render the location unaccessible to vehciles as, the load imposed by such vehicles on the grass, would damage the turf. Therefore, the main advantage of the grassblock is that it elimiates the dilemma of having to choose between a turfed area and a vehicular area. Having the grass block not only improves the visual aspect of the paved area, but also the functional feature. Should normal paving blocks be used, there has to be a storage for rainwater. The grassblock facilitates this process by having the water seep through its cavities, watering the turf, and then collected in underground reservoirs. This eliminates the problem of flooding. The concept of permeable paving is to be supported more by the local government as water is one of the most scarce resources that we have in Malta and through an intelligent selection of materials (permeable paving as opposed to impermeable type) we can have more water flow through the ground and into the underground water tables that, which presently is not being replenished at a sustainable rate.  This is resulting from an ever increasing amount of impermeable sufaces being built, mainly resulting from asphalted and paved areas. Some applications, such as driveways, parking areas and public gardens could use more permeable paving.

Barriers and Drivers

The main barrier for the grassblock is legislation. Unfortunately, the government of Malta doesn't enforce laws that restrict certain areas to have a higher sense of respect for nature. ODZ areas aren't allowed to use standards paving blocks, therefore, they tend to use the grassblock in such areas. Green areas are healthy as they mentally relax people in such environments. The main driver is a changing perception towards environment and a more educated culture. People's conscience is ever increasing on using sustainable products. Another motivator, hopefully in the near future, should be the government encouraging more the use of permeable paving, where the grass block would be a major contestant for such a task.

Economic Performance

The grassblock costs around 50% more than standard paving blocks when bought off the shelf. Nonethless, the costs are to be compared when laid. Therefore, the total difference between standard paving blocks and the grass block is around 25%, which isn't much when considering the two other aspects mentioned below: the social performance and the enviornmental impact.

Social Performance

The social performance of the grassblock may not be apparent immediately, yet, if you think about the benefits that a green area has on human beings, the beneifts would immediately arise. 

Environmental Impact

The environmental impact has already been slightly mentioned in the 'social performance', yet it is worth mentioning again. Paving blocks are actually helping the environment and human beings, therefore, the government and other influential entities must give importance, where importance is due.

Further Information

http://www.attardbros.com/group/index.php/hardscaping/grassblock

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