- On 18th October 2019
- In Research and Development, Water Management
- By Jack
In today’s world of growing concerns of climate change, more people are looking into ways to adapt to or lessen the effects of these growing threats such as sea level rise and increasing severity & frequency of extreme weather events. More now than ever we are worried about the effects that this could have on us and the places we live. The UK for example has a vulnerable coastline which is easily affected by erosion and high tide, and so climate change poses a big risk to us. This is why people are now looking more into Nature Based Solutions.
At Exo Environmental, we are interested in the future use of Nature Based Solutions (NBS), an exciting development where sustainability and the use of ecosystems are the core focus. NBS have the ability to provide both benefits to us and to the natural wildlife that live in the area, whilst also addressing societal problems that humans may face in today’s times. These solutions can include salt marshes, sand dunes and many more options.
As part of our work, this falls in line with the SARCC project where NBS can be used in coastal defence instead of regular defences such as seawalls. But what if you are in a coastal city with limited space? What if you need immediate protection but still want to make it better for the environment? Well there’s a solution to that too.
What are Hybrid Nature-Based Solutions?
‘Hybrid’ Nature-Based Solutions or simply Hybrid Solutions are environmentally friendly additions to normal coastal defences or manmade structures that can be used as habitat by many marine species whilst also serving as a way to defend against flooding on the coast. They range from simple modifications to a seawall to large rocky outcroppings placed in the sea for aquatic life to live.
Surface textures are a great example of hybrid solutions where the surface of a seawall is given a new texture with a multitude of grooves, crevices and holes as compared to a regular concrete wall. These holes make it easier for marine life to live and colonise the seawall, which then improves the aesthetic look of the wall whilst improving biodiversity in the water. What’s even better? These can be retrofitted to a seawall or created in the design process when building a new wall.
This is where our 3D printed surface textures will come into great use. By creating and researching into these textures, we can find out how much these will benefit wildlife compared to if we used regular defences instead.