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Vibrant Technik

“The Leadership of Green Buildings is Very Impactful”

By: Luke Leung,

Is it possible to build high and build green both at the same time?

Yes, the density in the tall building has selected intrinsic green elements in terms of per capita consumption.

What are the strategies to manage energy and other resources consumption through effective design of façades to attain net-zero building?

The façade can shield us against the exterior elements but also, like leaves, assist us in harvest selected elements. The list can include thermal, infiltration, exfiltration, lightning strikes, precipitation, wind, hail, air quality, sunlight, acoustic, odor, microbial, fire, electromagnetic waves, and stack effect.

What are future window & façade technologies that could save signifi cant energy in buildings?

First is dynamic, which can react to indoor and outdoor demand, second is smart, which can shield the unwanted elements, but take in the beneficial ones.

Pearl River Tower by Skidmore Owings and Merrils SOM
Image 1A, B: Pearl River Tower: The supertall corporate headquarters building of tomorrow: an iconic, high-performance structure that is designed in such harmony with its environment that it has the potential to produce as much energy as it consume

What are the two effective measures which enable you to increase the energy efficiency of a building?

The two effective measures that enable an increase in the energy efficiency of a building include thermal to insulate the building and absorb to create energy.

Brief on energy harvesting façades and their scenario.

WeBank Headquarters by SOM
Image 2A, B: WeBank Headquarters: With flexible workspaces integrated with nature and the outdoors, the new headquarters for WeBank advances the company’s vision of fi nance and technology in an increasingly connected world

We have designed a façade to harvest nature, including rainfall. New technology selectively allows only the visible spectrum of sunlight and attenuates the UV and infrared spectrum of the sunlight to create electricity and reduce air conditioning loads

Could you please brief us on the role of the government in making green buildings a revolution?

Top download regulation to enforce changes, not only in operational energy but moves towards CO2 equivalent in whole-life carbon, including embodied carbon. Also includes the regulation and disclosure of refrigerants. Bottom-up incentive to fund research, assist new technology to come up to scale, and educate the industry to change.

What are the challenges to net-zero buildings in UAE?

Some other climate has cooling and heating seasons, but UAE is mostly cooling, so seasonal storage, similar to ground sourced heat pumps, is not as effective. The extreme temperatures, the limited days that can use natural ventilation and economiser, higher level of outdoor PM 2.5, sand and the result of using sand louvers, the humidity that comes with high temperature, high salt content in the air and soil, limited bio-based material to reduce embodied carbon, financial motivation of energy cost is not as high as other countries, also the culture prefers cooler temperature indoor that conventional are all challenging.

Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank Headquarters
Image 3A, B, C, D: Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank Headquarters: With its bold integration of architecture, structure, and environmental engineering, this solar-responsive, “breathing” building centers on sustainability and wellness

What are the opportunities and advantages of having a green building in the Middle East?

The Middle East has some of the tallest buildings in the world, so the leadership of green buildings is very impactful. It sets a great example to the world, especially from an area with richer fossil fuels. Solar energy is obvious. Compares to the more northern climate, the sun angle is higher, and easier to deal with the midday sun. Air is moisture reach and can be harvested as potable water. The Shamal winds are predictable in direction. A large diurnal range and clear sky throughout the day allow radiant cooling into the space. In an air-based system, the air changes and indoor humidity, in general, can be higher than northern climate year-round, especially in winter, which is the worse time for infectious diseases, so potentially higher humidity than in the northern climate winter and air changes can provide a less infectious indoor environment.

What is the future of green buildings in the Middle East?

  • Passive strategies to create low embodied carbon building through the use of biomaterial and recycling.
  • Bioclimatic design to buffer the building from instantaneous heat gain and alignment with natural elements.
  • Use of active solar and other renewable sources to achieve net-zero.

Luke Leung

PE, LEED Fellow (BD+C), SOM Sustainable Engineering Principal + Practice Leader

Luke Long PE, LEED Fellow (BD+C), SOM Sustainable Engineering Principal + Practice Leader at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).

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