Dewan Architects & Engineers, one of the region's leading architectural and engineering consulting firms, explored the strategies and challenges entailed in balancing iconic local architecture with sustainable design at the largest international building and construction event in the Middle East - the Big-5 Sustainability Design and Construction Conference.
Invited to deliver a presentation at theBig-5 Sustainability Design and Construction Conference, Eng. Jaber, Architect & Sustainability Coordinator at Dewan, showcased the substantial energy savings the company had achieved through the innovative design of several of its landmark projects including a 33% saving at the Premier Inn Hotel at Abu Dhabi International Airport, a 20% saving at the Bateen School in the UAE, and a 25% saving at Samarra University in Iraq.
Sustainability is increasingly recognized as a priority in the region, as concerns grow about the looming threat of climate change and energy shortages. According to the most recent World Bank figures, the UAE is the planet's eighth biggest consumer of energy per person, expending 7,407 kg of oil equivalent per capita. This translates into a significant environmental impact: the country is the also world's eighth biggest per-capita emitter of carbon dioxide, its 9m inhabitants releasing almost 20 metric tone's each annually.
More strikingly still, in the 2012 Living Planet Report by the WWF, it was found to have the third-highest ecological footprint per-person in the world. Dawan's presentation explored a range of promising techniques in the design and construction of buildings to improve efficiency, cut waste, and minimize environmental damage. For example, it discussed how envelope insulation materials and systems can reduce up to 50% of energy consumption, while efficient landscaping, through soil enhancement products, can similarly cut irrigation demand in half.
Other technologies studied included lighting programmes and national initiatives, efficient MEP Technologies, and renewable energy sources. The presentation went on to examine how to fuse local cultural and social understanding together with modern design technologies to overcome climatic challenges and reduce energy consumption, drawing upon lessons learnt from iconic buildings around the region.
Mohamed Al Assam, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Dewan, said: "Too often, design aesthetics and sustainability are treated as somehow adversarial to each other; this is simply not true. The essence of great design is sustainability. It starts from the earliest planning phases and should be integrated at every stage, seamlessly assimilated into the surrounding local environment - that is what defines iconic architecture.
We are proud to say that sustainability is integral to every project at Dewan, which has enabled us to demonstrate clear and substantial energy savings at our landmark developments".