Home / INTERVIEWS / Face to face: Berk Pasinler, Emirates Buildings

Face to face: Berk Pasinler, Emirates Buildings

by Michael Fahy on Apr 19, 2014

RELATED ARTICLES: 3D Abu Dhabi model to be created | Jotun Paints creates 3D pond through art project | Abu Dhabi safety regulations lead the way

Part of the reason for this is that it is very simple to erect. Units are put up on site and areas can be cut out to suit for windows or for MEP equipment. Moreover, the walls are load-bearing, which means there is no need for any internal columns or beams. Since it is lightweight, it doesn’t need any piling or major foundation works done and there are no risks of cracks due to settlement.

The lightweight nature also means it can be built manually, without the need for any cranes or specialist equipment.

The in-built thermal insulation also makes it fire-resistant to up to two hours and very energy efficient, he argues.

“Our villas are like a Passivhaus – very highly insulated houses. There is no heat transfer in our out, and all of the MEP and HVAC design sections are reduced.”

As a result, he argues, a typical villa’s energy requirements could be met in the GCC with solar panels. Indeed, the firm is already undergoing a six-month trial where it is monitoring the energy consumption of one of its low-cost villas alongside the energy generated from solar.

He believes that if it achieves a goal of being self-sustaining, it could be used to create isolated desert compounds for locals living in remote areas.

“The same can be applied for existing villas. If you generate more electricity than you are consuming, you will sell it to the government. The meters will work on both sides. This is one of the government initiatives that I believe within one or two years will be realised within the country.”

The one stumbling block to this is the fact that energy prices in the region remain heavily subsidised, meaning that if the spare electricity generated is sold back to the grid at the same price, the payback period for people investing in solar technology will be much longer than in other nations.

“It should be much more attractive. The price of electricity has to be increased in this country if they want this to be successful. In Germany, if you buy the system and you put it in your villa, you cover your investment in five years.

“But here, it is exceeding more than 10 years so it is difficult for an investor to consider.”

Despite this, he says the 3D system is a “green product” as it can be recyclable, and the galvanised wires are more rust-resistant than steel rebar used in reinforced concrete. They can also be left exposed on sites for much longer.

Its insulation layers also have two other advantages for the region. In Saudi Arabia, for example, in a bid to conserve the burgeoning demand for electricity, a decree was passed last year which stated that new homes would only receive a connection to the grid if they are properly insulated.

Emirates Building is looking to capitalise on this, and is currently seeking partners in the Kingdom willing to help build a new factory, but Pasinler said the offers it has received thus far have been unsatisfactory, with firms expecting a half-share in a joint venture merely for providing land.

“We want to invest but they don’t. We want real partners.

“It can be a contractor, it can be a developer who will put money in with us. We have good capacity and the shortage in Saudi is huge.”

Article continued on next page...