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Sustainable delivery

Energy & water consumption lie at the heart of sustainable building

ANALYSIS, Business, Energy consumption, Sustainable building, Water conservation

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Energy consumption and water conservation lie at the heart of sustainable building in the Middle East. Construction Week examines projects and technologies that are demonstrating what sustainable measures are already being delivered in the region

Located in Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZA), the soon-to-be new office and workshop for Panasonic Avionics is working towards gaining LEED Platinum certification, the highest rating under the internationally-recognised green building rating system.

Known for making in-flight entertainment and communications systems for airlines, Panasonic Avionics was keen to consolidate its existing buildings on the DAFZA site under one sustainable roof so to speak.

It awarded a design build construct to Fujairah National Construction CO (FNC) in early 2011, before UAE-based green building expert the Middle East Centre for Sustainable Development (MECSD) was selected as LEED consultant.

Thom Bohlen, chief technical officer at MECSD, said that when it was brought in it was clear that the preliminary design and concept of the building needed revamping for it to achieve Platinum certification. At present, it takes 80-plus points, out of a possible 110, to hit the required standard.

“In order to attain the 80 points and all the prerequisites that go along with that you basically have to do something unusual from an energy standpoint and possibly a water conservation standpoint,” said Bohlen.

“There are a lot of projects that can get Gold, which is 60 points, but it’s very difficult to make that leap from 60 to 80 without doing something a little unusual.”

Through its close cooperation with the project stakeholders, MECSD performed an energy modelling study: basically a 3D model of the building run through a software program called DOE-2, to determine its energy efficiency. The results threw up some interesting findings.

“When we first created the model we realised the project would be short of points, because the building wasn’t nearly as energy efficient as it needed to be. That is when we went back to the owner and the team and said this project is not meeting the Platinum requirements,” says Bohlen.

“It was mainly the proposed lighting and the fact they weren’t using solar PV on the roof. In order to achieve the credits needed for energy reduction, they had to use LED lighting throughout the building and solar photovoltaic array on about three-quarters of the roof.

The original design only proposed the use of solar thermal for the domestic hot water and perhaps solar exterior lighting, but that wasn’t anywhere close to the energy reduction needed.

We determined that all of the lighting needed to be provided by solar power.”

MECSD convinced the client and project team to use solar photovoltaic array on the roof to cover the energy usage for the entire daytime lighting requirement and to use only LED lighting throughout the entire four-storey building to cut consumption and maintenance.

Through the use of the solar powered LED lighting system, an efficient building envelope, and high efficiency HVAC equipment, the project has managed to accrue a healthy 18 LEED points between the energy reduction credit and the on-site renewable credit, says Bohlen.

“The owners are very cooperative in this regard. They definitely want the Platinum rating and they are willing to do whatever it takes… that’s the best client you can have.”

More innovative techniques are being used with regard to water consumption. In addition to fitting the usual sustainable facilities such as dual flush toilets, waterless urinals, low-flow faucets and low-flow shower heads, the building will recycle grey water from sinks and lavatories, condensate water from AC units, and collect storm water to irrigate the onsite landscaping.

“All in all we’ll be targeting in the neighbourhood of 82 to 83 points on this project, possibly a couple more.”

Currently MECSD is engaged with developer DAFZA to gain nine credits related to transportation, landscaping open space, and development density.

“We met with them [DAFZA] recently,” says Bohlen. “We have to know the square footage and property area of all the buildings surrounding the property within a defined radius. The next thing was the transportation. DAFZA has an interior transportation bus system with a circular route that takes people to the other bus stops and the train stations.

So in order for us to meet a transportation credit, which is really important because it’s six points, we needed their cooperation to provide us with that schedule.”

In fact, he says MECSD will be giving a presentation to DAFZA about the project as they are now keen to learn about its sustainable features and the LEED process. “That’s good for everyone,” he adds.

Construction of the Panasonic Avionics headquarters is now at the halfway stage and is expected to be completed in December. The interior fit-out and furnishings have been earmarked for early 2014. “It’s basically what we call a fast-track project,” says Bohlen.

“We’ve been able to work with the entire team in this fast-track process and to successfully integrate the green building process to target the 80-plus points needed for Platinum.”

He added “What’s unique about this business is that with each green building there’s a little more learning going on within the development community and in turn the whole country. So just by a little increment, every new green building we achieve is a bit of success for green buildings generally, and a more sustainable future for us all.”

Panasonic’s Avionics Office, Media Lab, and Work Shop Building, Located in DAFZA, Dubai, UAE.

The new building will be approximately 188,106.40 ft2, with approx. 37,083.75 ft2 floor, arranged in a rectangular L-shaped floor plan of B + G + 3 floors. The basement is utilized for parking approximately 112 vehicles.

All floors above the basement parking level will be utilizing a rather open plan layout for the various IT tasks, including workshop and offices on the ground floor; media labs on the first and third floors; and offices on the second floor. Media labs and workshop areas are composed of rows of work bench-type IT layouts.

Perimeter offices primarily on the south and east sides of the building will ring the open spaces typically on each floor for managerial staff.

Panasonic Avionics is requiring that a USGBC LEED “Platinum” rated building be designed and constructed that will be in line with the recent “Panasonic Green Declaration”, as well being beneficial to the company’s operation costs over the life of the building, to offset the unusual energy consumption requirements of the Avionics Facility.

Project Team:
Client: M/s ATG Group/ Panasonic Avionics

Project Manager: ADPI

Design Builder: Fujairah National Construction CO.(FNC)

-Middle East Centre for Sustainable Development (LEED)
-Pacific Controls Commissioning Team (LEED Commissioning Consultants)
-PTL Solar (Solar consultants)
-Orion Engineering Consultants
-Dome Oilfield Engineering & Services (Fire Assessment)
-Interior Automation LLC (Lighting Design)

Approximate Project Schedule:
Construction Commencement Date: 05 June 2012

Contractual Completion Date:
1st quarter 2014

Contract Duration:
Twenty (20-22) Months

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