GOING VERTICAL – GOING GREEN – GOING CLEAN

                                                  Due to urbanization, dense population growth in major cities, land being a fixed commodity has pushed architects to reach great heights to satisfy the demand of space. Clean technology and green design strategies are vital for the design of eco-friendly green skyscrapers. These eco-scrapers are building the gap between breathtaking building design and clean technological ingenuity. (BARRERA 2016) Though tall structures are one step closer to being environment friendly by occupying a lesser geographical footprint, they greatly fail as enormous energy is required for their services. Bahrain World Trade Centre, The Pearl River Tower, Bank of America Tower and are built examples that have pushed the envelope on behalf of the modern ‘Eco-Scraper’.

Bahrain world trade center
The Bahrain World Trade Centre

                     The Bahrain World Trade Centre being the first skyscraper to incorporate wind turbines in its fabric gives a nod to sustainability. This 240 M high structure has an elliptical plan. The sail-like profile of the tower funnels the sea breeze in between them. This creates a negative pressure behind the structure which pulls the wind with even more greater acceleration. To maintain equal velocity of wind, the profile of the structure tapers as it reaches the apex.

 

                This environmentally responsive tower design apart from wind turbines also includes a number of other design features that reduce carbon emission in comparison to its locational counterparts. Though not a 100% off the grid project, the Bahrain World Trade Centre does produces between 1,100 to 1,300 MWh/year which is approximately 11% to 15% of the tower’s total energy consumption (equal to electricity supply for 300 homes in the city). In carbon emission terms this equates to an average of 2,900 KGC. Shaun Killa, the architect behind this inspiring design predicts that wind energy research would year better results in future applications in buildings. (Killa and Smith 2008)2

PEARL RIVER TOWER:

The Pearl River Tower is another striking example of a neofuturistic skyscraper which fuses clean technology as a vital part of its integral design by Skidmore Owings and Merill. This tower includes environmental friendly instalments such as solar collectors, photovoltaic cells, raised floors ventilation, radiant heating and cooling ceilings. These make it the most energy efficient, radiant-cooled office building in the world. The building’s sustainable design features reduce 58% of its energy use on comparison with stand-alone buildings. The design research states that the building would produce excess of energy than (i.e > than the building’s own use) if micro-turbines were installed. Micro turbines are refrigerator sized turbines that capture waste heat to improve efficiency and produce an output of 25 KW to 500 Kw of power. Due to developer’s financial constrain and local government restrictions regarding selling of electricity back to the grid, these micro turbines could not be included in the design implementation.

An eco-friendly design aims at how a built structure can respond back with its surroundings in a more sustainable and environment-friendly method. Environment-friendly designs are not restricted to tall, but also can cater to individual dwellings by incorporating simple design features as passive solar heating/cooling, solar chimneys, fenestration using stack effect, natural cooling by earth berming etc.  As a prominent mastermind in contemporary architecture states,

“You can use an erase on the drafting table or a hammer on the construction site” – Frank Lloyd Wright.

SOURCES:

BARRERA, VICTOR. 2016. “Ten Of The Greenest Skyscrapers In The World”. Energytrendsinsider.Com. http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2009/05/12/ten-of-the-greenest-skyscrapers-in-the-world/.
Killa, Shaun and Richard Smith. 2008. Harnessing Energy In Tall Buildings: Bahrain World Trade Centre And Beyond. Ebook. 1st ed. Dubai: CTBUH. http://www.ctbuh.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=DGjD8kpuHRk%3D&tabid=1323&language=en-US

IMAGE CREDITS:

Flickr,. 2010. Bahrain World Trade Center. Image. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/cc/Bahrain_world_trade_center.jpg/450px-Bahrain_world_trade_center.jpg.
Wikimedia Commons,. 2011. The Pearl River Tower In Guangzhou, China. Image. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9b/PearlRiverTower_Jan.jpg.

 

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