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Employing a greener philosophy

As Hyder Consulting Middle East's Regional Sustainable Design Group begins operations, Alison Luke speaks to principal sustainability consultant MEP Bill Jolly as he outlines the market demand that has led to its creation.

INTERVIEWS, Business

As Hyder Consulting Middle East's Regional Sustainable Design Group begins operations, Alison Luke speaks to principal sustainability consultant MEP Bill Jolly as he outlines the market demand that has led to its creation.

Why has Hyder set up its Regional Sustainable Design Group?

Climate change and global warming are unequivocally the biggest and most fundamental problems facing earth and mankind today.

The built environment can assist the global attempt to reduce CO2 emissions considerably through energy efficient building design. There are an increasing number of projects within the Middle East that require sustainable design solutions. The Regional Sustainable Design Group has been set up to offer a service to satisfy our clients' needs and help curtail climate change activities.

We believe that sustainability is the future of design and there is a corporate social responsibility for both the company and our clients to act sustainably while delivering construction projects.

How is the Group formed?

The Group has a vast wealth of experience to deliver sustainable solutions for the built environment. Sustainability involves a multitude of factors, therefore there is a need to ensure a mixed discipline team to enable solutions to any problem.

The MEP services within a building are a large contributor of CO2 emissions, subsequently MEP engineers form the backbone of the Group. This enables the firm to address the issues of sustainable design with the correctly qualified and experienced staff.

In addition to the team in Dubai, Hyder has Sustainable Design Group (SDG) teams throughout the world. The team in the UK is focused on satisfying the Government's introduction of Part L of the Building Regulations; while Hyder's Australian SDG focuses on providing Green Star compliant buildings.

What regions will the Group cover?

The Group will be based in Dubai and provide services throughout the Middle East, including Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman. Hyder Consulting currently has many projects underway and the SDG will form part of the firm's environmental section.

It will operate as a business stream dedicated to delivering sustainable designs; Group members will offer full MEP design services or sustainability advice.

Are there plans for future growth?

As the Group is dedicated to sustainable design it needs to be self-sufficient. The business plan for the SDG is to expand and meet the rising demand for sustainable design solutions in the region. Growth of the Group will be commensurate with the demand and it is envisaged that it will expand as this increases. Hyder anticipates cross-fertilisation of ideas between the SDG and all construction departments, encouraging all projects within the practice to consider energy reducing strategies. The ultimate target is to eventually become a completely sustainable consultancy.

What type of technologies will the Group consider implementing?

The Design Group is considering a multitude of options that are available to provide low carbon buildings. These extend to photovoltaic panels, solar collectors, vapour absorption chillers, grey water harvesting, combined heat and power (CHP) systems, wind turbines and many more.

Each project has its own diverse needs and it is therefore important that each sustainable technology is considered with respect to the building usage and energy reducing needs. The Group will offer different and diverse services to satisfy sustainable design requirements, however Hyder believes that the ultimate service is to provide clients with the necessary education and strategies to cost-effectively meet any project's goals.

On which projects is the Group currently working?

We have a large number of projects that have sustainability at the heart of the design. Clients that we are currently working with to develop sustainable solutions include Sama Dubai, Nakheel and Dubai Properties.

How well is sustainable design recognised in the Middle East?

The Middle East is now quickly getting a grip on sustainability within the built environment. There is much work needed for the construction industry to progress this new concept and education is fundamental to this process.

How important is it to consider the sustainability of MEP services in the design stage of a building?

Buildings are reported to contribute almost 50% of all CO2 emissions. This is derived from the energy consumption of buildings. As the MEP services within a building demand the energy, this is therefore a major factor when considering energy efficient design.

Hyder promotes an holistic approach from the entire design team to create fluidity in thinking and offer quality sustainable solutions. True sustainable design requires input from all parties; the selection of materials is an important factor, along with the sustainable technologies. Sustainable equipment must be purchased and installed within buildings to enable the market to grow and subsequently reduce the capital cost of particular items.

In addition, the utility providers need to accept these new technologies and the way in which building are now designed. Some sustainable technologies are only feasible if they are used in conjunction with the utility providers.

What factors should be considered during the design phase of a green building?

The primary factor is to reduce the building's energy demand. The MEP services play a major role and consultants should consider reducing this demand. An holistic design approach is fundamental to assist this process. MEP services engineers need to become more dynamic with system selection and be focused on energy efficiency during the detailed design stage.

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