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Abu Dhabi sees benefit of reducing glass in design

by Hannah-Farah Abdulla on Nov 2, 2011

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Large glass surface areas place huge demands on HVAC systems.
Large glass surface areas place huge demands on HVAC systems.

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Glass buildings are one of the biggest challenges when it comes to sustainability, says Matthew Plumbridge, Environmental and Sustainability Planning, Abu Dhabi Department of Municipal Affairs.

At the fourth annual Construction Week Sustainability Conference, Plumbridge highlighted that glass buildings, particularly in hot countries, drove inefficiencies because of the heat surrounding the glass interior and the cost of heavy cooling required for glass areas.

"The growth of glass buildings in the UAE has forced the development of HVAC systems," he argued.

Though it was good to maintain a few glass buildings for the purposes of beautifying areas, it was more important to look at constructing buildings of materials that would hold long-term value, he explained, referring to Old Town, Dubai Downtown as an example of a high-profile sustainable development.

"Old Town is one area that holds the highest value in Dubai. This tells you there is something in the architecture."

Plumbridge said Abu Dhabi's new energy code "will affect the language of architecture" as it targets the level of fenestration in buildings. However, he pointed out that an all-glass building was possible "if it complied with the energy-efficiency requirements."


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