Green building methods for hospitals in the UAE
Green building techniques used to develop 'climate-friendly' hospitals
Healthcare facilities are large consumers of energy and have high associated carbon emissions that are contributing to climate change, making energy efficiency in the design and operation of future healthcare projects in the Middle East a matter of discussion.
Carl Mackenzie, director, building engineering healthcare at AECOM, spoke at the Architect’s Congress at Hospital Build & Infrastructure Middle East about the international environmental assessment tools, such as Estidama and QSAS, that have been adopted by the UAE government, and other GCC countries over the last few years.
He said: "The healthcare expenditure across the MENA zone is rising and predicted to continue to rise for the next 5 years by circa 6% (IMF), so the issue is applicable to the region.
"One significant driver to enable the implementation of energy efficiency design is the financial case; in many parts of the world energy is relatively expensive. Therefore, saving energy equates to saving outgoing revenue; however in a number of GCC countries energy costs are subsidised, so the financial incentive to adopt energy efficiency does not always exist as a return of investment."
Major bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO 2009) have established aims at reductions in carbon emissions and greenhouse gas emissions, and the development of more ‘climate friendly’ hospitals. This development can take the form of encouraging passive green building fabric design, enhancing energy efficiency, and utilising alternative or renewable energy.
"We are currently working on regional healthcare projects that are striving for international standard of design in relation to care and performance," said Mackenzie.
"This overlaps with environmental performance, standards and assessment tools. Most clients want to have an assessment tool that considers the regional influencing factors. We have had dialogue with a few government entities, and the challenge is to incentivise healthcare project sponsors to want to go down the energy efficiency path. In some regions such as in Abu Dhabi, the planning process has a mandatory requirement for new projects to follow an assessment path (Estidama)."