Seeds of sustainability begin to take root

A few days before the Monaco Yacht Show, a number of start-ups, marinas, architects and yachting professionals were awarded for their sustainable projects at the Monaco Smart and Sustainable Marina Rendezvous. These are the winners.

The final phase of a six-month project to unite and award start-ups, marinas, architects and yachting professionals culminated in a meeting at the Yacht Club de Monaco on 25th to 26th September.

The two-day event is the second ever Monaco Smart and Sustainable Marina Rendezvous, and it focused on sharing actions and ideas for the yachting industry to meet environmental challenges.

Back in May 2022, 50 start-ups, nine marinas and eight architects were selected from a pool of over 10,000 for consideration.

Nicola Beck, Principal Architect at NBAX, picked up the International Smart and Sustainable Architecture Award for the Sanya Yacht Club project.

Speaking at the conference, Nicola Beck explained: “In China, generally, sustainability is not a big issue yet, so we focus 90% of our project on being standard, while one area we try and introduce some sustainability is in the materials or technology. That is why we are working with Canada Wood, which is a non-profit organisation promoting the use of Canadian wood. In China, the use of timber structures is starting to grow – its not used on a big scale yet – but we use it for the marine environment and it really showcases what timber structures can do. Wood has this reputation of being weaker than steel, which is not the case at all.”

Winning the award was a special moment for Beck. Having spent over 10 years in China, including the lockdownyears, she is happy that the work she had done during the pandemic in China is now being recognised and applauded in Europe. Said Beck on receiving the Award: “Im really honoured to receive the Monaco Smart and Sustainable Architecture Award 2022. Its incredible to be selected by such a high-profile international jury for our work in Sanya, Hainan.”

She added, “To realise large landmark projects is always a challenge but especially to accomplish it in a sustainable manner. The support of the conference, the community and the Yacht Club de Monaco will give this project and our future ventures the platform they require to showcase the great environmental potential of timber structures to a wider audience.” 

Left to right: Philippe LeBlanc, EU Sales & Business Development Manager, Econcretetech (Winner of Smart & Sustainable Start Up Award), Ben Lesage from the Sustainable Ocean Alliance, and Marc Hervàs, Head of Sustainability, MB92. Photo by Monaco Life

The Marina Award went to Flisvos Marina in Greece for its sustainable approach to the coast and eco-responsibility.

The Start-up Award was collected by Philippe LeBlanc of Econcretetech, a company that makes a type of concrete that promotes the growth of organisms such as oysters, corals or barnacles which act like biological glue and enhance the strength and durability of structures and add to their durability and strength of structures. On receiving the Award LeBlanc commented: “This award is a great recognition of the commitment from the marina industry to apply solutions to preserve and promote the most important asset of any marina worldwide – its biodiversity and water quality”.

The Smart and Sustainable meeting also gave professionals the chance to discuss and share their experiences and innovative ideas.

One such idea came from refit and repair shipyard MB92 based at Barcelona. There, explains Head of Sustainability Marc Hervás, they have built a wall’ of bi-valves (oysters or mussels) that they use to purify the water in the dock. He explains: The bi-valves filter the water and eat the organic matter, keeping the water clean so the oxygen levels rise again. So, you have a much better quality of water using a natural process without any kind of technology.”

At the end of the bi-valves’ natural life cycle, the shell and meat are separated: the meat is sent to an insect farm and the shells to a local interior design start-up that grinds down the shells to make lamps and vases etc.

2° Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous, photo credit Arthur.G

MB92 is this week launching its sustainability consultancy service to yacht clients. We come up with a repair maintenance plan which introduces sustainable measures, such as energy efficiency or water treatment,” explained Hervás. We already have yachts that are interested, so we are hopeful the service will be well received. At the end of the day, most of the solutions that we offer are not only positive for the environment but also come with economic savings for the client, maybe not in year one, but long-term.

Being sustainable almost always means being efficient on economics. Its a long-term project and once we are underway, we will introduce new propulsion systems like hydrogen and bio fuels – there are a lot of innovations coming in the future, starting with basic things, quick wins that can be implemented easily and fast like purification water systems, anti-fouling, LED lighting, and domotic energy efficiency.”

The 2022 International Smart and Sustainable Architecture ‘Special Mention’, or Coup de Coeur Award winner, was Snøhetta (Norway), an underwater restaurant, and Habacoa (Bahamas) picked up the 2022 International Smart and Sustainable Marina Coup de Coeur Award for design excellence of smart sustainable marinas and yacht clubs worldwide.

The Monaco Smart and Sustainable Marina Rendezvous was organised by Monaco Marine Management and Blumorpho, experts in innovation for sustainable business.



Photo above: Maarten van de Voorde, West 8, and Nicola Beck, Principal Architect NBAX Architecture & Design (Winner of Smart & Sustainable Architect Award). Photo by Monaco Life