United Arab Emirates vice president Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has launched a new initiative to make Dubai one of the world's largest 3D printing hubs by 2030. As part of this new strategy, by 2025, a quarter of every new construction project in Dubai will be 3D printed. "[T]his move will start from 2019, starting at 2 [percent] with a gradual increase to the strategic goal," according to Dubai Future Foundation's website. The new initiative will focus on construction along with consumer and medical products, with the goal to reduce construction costs by up to 70 percent, labor costs by up to 80 percent, and the sector's waste production by as much as 60 percent, according to a press release. [Dubai Future Foundation]

Lluisa Iborra

In this month's Code Intelligence series article, ARCHITECT dives deep into pros and cons of automating the building code reviewing process. Software may save on time and resources from an architect's perspective, but the advantages are less clear for building officials. [ARCHITECT]

Researchers from the University at Buffalo in New York have found that methylene blue (a sapphire-colored dye commonly found in the wastewater of textile mills) can store and release energy on cue, when dissolved in water. This would mean that the chemical compound might be a candidate material for building reduction-oxidation (redox) flow batteries—a large, rechargeable type of liquid-based battery that, according to the team, may enable wind farms and solar homes to store electricity for rainy days. According to lead researcher Timothy Cook, separating the compound is expensive and often leads to more waste. What the team has been focusing on is whether the wastewater containing methylene blue can be repurposed to be used in batteries. The study is currently based on using a solution of the dye and salt water, but the team hopes to obtain real wastewater from a textile mill that uses methylene blue for its future experiments. [University at Buffalo]

Sierra magazine has awarded both the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and Green Mountain College, in Poultney, Vt., first place in a tie for its 2018 ranking of North America’s greenest colleges and universities, also known as "Cool Schools." For the past 12 years, the Sierra Club's magazine has highlighted the outstanding environmental practices of colleges and universities across the continent. This year's Top 20 were selected from a pool of 269 submissions. The ranking assesses each institution's performance in categories such as energy sourcing and water management. Green Mountain College, the second institution of higher learning in the U.S. to achieve carbon neutrality, is working to power its entire campus through renewable energy by 2020. The college has also modified its curriculum to "better account for economic and environmental justice issues," according to Sierra. UCI, which received the top distinction for the third time in the past 10 years, has been working on a number of sustainability projects, including a net-zero-emissions housing construction and a power-to-gas hydrogen pipeline injection (the first of its kind in the U.S.) that converts renewable energy from solar panels or wind farms into hydrogen that, according to the university, "can be blended with natural gas and utilized in everything from home appliances to power plants." Other institutions on the list include the University of Connecticut, Arizona State University, and American University, in Washington, D.C. [Sierra]

Courtesy Block Research Group, ETH Zurich / Naida Iljazovic

In our latest Mind & Matter column, Blaine Brownell, AIA, looks into how scientists have been developing technologies to enable concrete to generate and store energy. With these innovations, concrete is transforming from an inert, static substance into a dynamic material that can power and store energy. Given the quantity of cementitious products used globally, these newfound capacities make “power concrete” a compelling contender in the renewable energy arena. [ARCHITECT]