As a result of the design challenge Our Energy Our Landscape, the Dutch design studio VenhoevenCS, the landscape architecture agency Landschapsarchitecten and the study of solar energy solarix they developed “Butterfly Effect”, a concept design capable of producing energy and a safe path for insects.
The project creates a network that spans a Dutch motorway to provide insects with safe passage across the busy A67 motorway on Strabrechtse Heide. The team states that
85% of our food supply depends on insect pollination. The team stresses the need to support biodiversity and fight climate change through a connection with nature. And providing support for the smallest creatures produces the largest “Butterfly Effect” (hence the name of the project). A great "butterfly effect" that produces exponential changes.
Highway for nature and humans
"A highway constitutes a huge barrier for many insects as the eddies and currents in the air caused by traffic are deadly for them," says the architect and director of VenhoevenCS Cécilia Gross.
The idea for Butterfly Effect was born (but does it go?) By observing the butterflies, which crossed the roadway only during traffic jams, when the air was still. Although the network was designed for use in the Netherlands, the team is excited about the prospect of applying it in other locations around the world.
Butterfly Effect, energy and protection
In addition to providing a link from one side of the road to the other without the threat of impact to the windshield, the Butterfly Effect also leverages the space above the road to create renewable energy. The honeycomb structure is designed to be filled with solar energy creating technology. This obviously also reduces the land consumption needed for the solar panels to do their job.
Technological innovation presents new options every day, including translucent photovoltaic surfaces (currently used for solar greenhouses) which would be the basis for solar collection on the belt.
The Butterfly Effect design directs nitrogen and other soil-friendly particulates to the side of the road, feeding surrounding trees and other plants. This dense foliage creates a noise buffer for the nature reserve on the other side.