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Tue 9 Mar 2010 04:00 AM

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Giving more than what you take

The Sustainability Award of the 2010 MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards has gone to the (oddly-named) Town Town Erdberg building from design firm Coop Himmelb(l)au of Vienna, Austria.

The Sustainability Award of the 2010 MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards has gone to the (oddly-named) Town Town Erdberg building from design firm Coop Himmelb(l)au of Vienna, Austria. Dubbed as one of the most energy-efficient building designs in the world, it produces more energy than it consumes.It achieves this through such features as an ‘energy-active' façade comprising PV lamination, together with a wind turbine on top of the tower. A potential prototype of the façade is currently being tested in conjunction with SFL Technologies.

Coop Himmelb(l)au CEO Wolf D. Prix describes the project as encompassing ‘active' rather than ‘passive' design. The building also manages to make better use of its internal space (86% of floor space is usable, as opposed to 82% average in other buildings, it claims), by combining two typologies, namely the high-rise slab and cylindrical tower, in conjunction with a cleverly-positioned central circulation and access core functioning as a ‘hinge'.

While such high-profile projects dominate the media, Dubai has quietly clocked up another amazing achievement in its long march towards the total sustainability of its urban fabric: the first existing building in the Arab world to achieve LEED certification.

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has succeeded in reducing its water and energy consumption by about 77% and 47% respectively between 1998 and 2008, leading to significant carbon emission reductions and accumulated power savings of around AED7.1 million.

It has done this by such means as capturing condensate water for use in the fountain feature and toilet system, saving 0.85 million litres of water a year, adjusting lift weighting loads to decrease energy consumption by 20%, reusing municipal grey water for landscaping and the toilet system, and providing VIP parking for staff and free valet parking for visitors using fuel-efficient vehicles.

The Chamber's 18-storey building is the first in the region to demonstrate that even existing older buildings can be improved significantly. This ties in nicely with our Smart Buildings feature, where we look at some of the latest trends and developments in building control and energy management. As Johnson Controls vice-president: global energy and sustainability Clay G. Nesler says: "When we look at issues like climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, some of the studies suggest that the number one abatement strategy is to tackle energy consumption of buildings."

Gerhard Hope is the editor of Mechanical Electrical Plumbing Middle East.

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