Smart Cities, Sustainable Cities: The Future of Urban Development in Qatar

One of the most important aspects of sustainable design is its ability to adopt a multilayered understanding of the needs of communities, sites and the environment to propose integrated solutions that not only address short and long term environmental and economic benefits but could provide opportunities to enhance social and cultural aspects of the development. Over the past few years, this has extended beyond the scale of buildings well into the public realm to include sustainable urban development strategies, infrastructure design and smart city solutions.

The reasons for creating more sustainable design solutions to minimize the environmental impact of cities are no longer questionable. The main issues facing designers and developers now are how to find the most suitable, smart city solutions that balance client needs, project budgets and the environmental design challenges and opportunities that arise from a project’s context. This is why creating sustainable urban environments will be a continuous endeavor that the Middle East will be experiencing over the coming years.

Fueled by an economic boom that adds pressure on available resources, Qatar, like other countries in the region, is at a crossroads to rethink its approach to urban planning and design to create more sustainable built environments on a macro level and redefine the impact of its future cities. Many steps have already been taken as part of the country’s ongoing efforts to realize the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030, where the country is witnessing a number of large-scale development projects set to the highest local and international sustainability standards. Over the coming years, it is crucial to continue down this path by providing the necessary tools to ensure that targets are met. The integrated efforts of all stakeholders will not only ensure that goals are realized but set on a continuous path of sustainable development.

–  by Rashed Al Nasa’a, Senior Sustainability Consultant, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, GSAS CGP, PQP, Arab Engineering Bureau

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Rising to greener heights

By Saeed Al Abbar

When tall buildings first emerged in the late 19th century in the USA to meet the growing demand for inner city office space, little did anyone imagine that nearly 8,000 miles to the East and over 120 years later, a small desert country, the United Arab Emirates, would boast the tallest skyline in the world.

In the Middle East, especially the UAE, the construction of tall and super tall structures is on a high growth trajectory. In fact, since 2009, UAE has been home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

As the Middle East continues to build skyscrapers, the earlier view of tall buildings as large scale energy consumers with little regard for sustainable architecture is now rapidly changing. The new generation of tall buildings are being designed with energy conservation and sustainability as their principal criteria.

The UAE has made significant strides since 2006 to drive the green building agenda with numerous ground breaking frameworks and programmes being implemented by the public sector. Emirates Green Building Council, an independent forum promoting sustainability, has been leading discussions on identifying solutions for existing buildings to become sustainable while ensuring that new ones are designed with ‘green building’ features.

The focus on sustainable built environments reflects His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai’s initiative for a ‘green economy for sustainable development’.

All tall building stakeholders need to look closely at the important aspects of implementing new technologies and features. We need these credible measures by developers to incorporate green building practices to contribute to the green vision of the nation.

 – Saeed Al Abbar is the Chairman of Emirates Green Building Council

QGBC’S Vision For Creating A Smart And Healthy City

Qatar is currently witnessing unprecedented urban development, from the establishment of Lusail City and the development of downtown Doha, to the inception of numerous infrastructure projects, the need to incorporate smart technologies in city planning in an effort to move towards establishing a healthy city is becoming vital.

Retrofitting Doha to become a truly smart city requires the development of a comprehensive long-term strategy with active participation from all the relevant stakeholders in the public and private sectors. In Doha’s context, a smart city will fully support healthy living in all aspects including water and energy conservation, healthy air quality, increased community interaction and active lifestyle. The use of state-of-the-art technologies, such as smart water management system, intelligent and automated air, noise and waste management systems, and real-time communication mechanisms, will eventually help Doha move closer to realizing its vision of a smart and healthy city.

In an effort to conceptualize the development of a smart and healthy city amidst the ongoing infrastructural development, experts at Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), last year devised a comprehensive guide ‘Doha: A Rough Guide to Healthy Cities’.  The Guide, http://qatargbc.org/interest-groups/green-infrastructure, tackles the issue of the environmental health of urban areas which is becoming increasingly important to the world’s population as a majority of people are shifting towards inner cities.

Highlighting the benefits of planning and designing a healthy city, the non-technical infographic provides design and planning professionals, senior school students and advocates of sustainable development, with interesting guidelines on how to create a healthy city.

The key for QGBC and relevant stakeholders is to foster education around this subject to help create behavioural change in the process. This infographic is a starting point for such practices, which need to be further highlighted through national dialogues, the likes of Arab Future Cities Summit, the Qatar Green Building Conference, and the Qatar Sustainability Week.  Such efforts will foster the development of green infrastructure as a national resource capable of delivering a wide range of environmental, economic and social benefits.

by Meshal Al Shamari, Director – QGBC

Enhancing building efficiency for a greener UAE

By Saeed Al Abbar

With the UAE’s skyline dominated by skyscrapers, and Dubai alone being home to over 3,000 high-rise buildings,1  it is important that all stakeholders within the construction industry leverage the opportunities available for installing renewable energy systems in high-rises.

The roofs of high-rise buildings are often occupied with installations such as cooling towers, chillers and other equipment, which can limit the space available for installing renewable energy systems.

However, with an increasing number of high-rises in the region, it is important that initiatives supporting sustainable built environments are fully considered and implemented.

Emirates Green Building Council, an independent forum promoting sustainability, recently hosted a workshop to discuss the challenges and potential solutions in installing renewable energy technologies in high-rises.

Experts identified awareness, site issues, codes and financial schemes as key points to be addressed to promote the use of renewable energy systems. They observed that these systems must also be outcome-based to ensure reduction in energy consumption.

To bring a tangible shift, a fundamental transformation of the construction sector is needed by streamlining fragmented responsibilities of different stakeholders and developing business models that attract third-party financing.

Stakeholders must also look at implementing highly advanced yet cost-effective façade concepts, based on multifunctional components and/or new combinations of existing building envelope technologies.

An integrated design and close collaboration among a multidisciplinary team will further drive the implementation of renewable energy systems in high-rises.

With the focus on high-rise buildings continuing to grow, in direct response to meet the urban growth requirements, credible measures by developers to incorporate green building practices will contribute to the green vision of the nation and help secure the environment for our future generations.

Saeed Al Abbar is the Chairman of Emirates Green Building Council.

1 State of energy report

Qatar powered by Solar Energy

Keynote speech in progress at Solar Qatar Summit 2014

Keynote speech in progress at Solar Qatar Summit 2014

Doha, Qatar, July 9, 2015: Richly endowed in solar energy and supported by innovative research and infrastructure development plans, the GCC region has witnessed rapid growth in renewable energy generation and consumption. Qatar is leading the region by deploying new renewable energy initiatives and has become a major powerhouse in solar energy. Being the most abundant and viable energy source, it effectively addresses the increasing power requirements in the region.

In line with the country’s vision to promote sustainability and environmental awareness and reduce dependency on fossil fuels, the government has implemented several solar energy projects, including large-scale solar power plants, solar desalination projects and solar panel manufacturing plants. Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) has undertaken tangible measures to transform Qatar into a regional solar hub. Kahramaa’s first solar power facility with a generation capacity of 10 to 15MW is expected to be operational by 2016. The solar power station will be located at Duhail, covering an area of over 100,000 square meters. Kahramaa has targeted a generation capacity of 200MW through solar power by 2020.

Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “With ample amount of renewable resources at its disposal, the GCC region is harnessing the power of renewable energy technologies to its full potential. The state of Qatar has set a benchmark with its implementation of massive innovative programs in deploying large solar power plants.”

To meet the expected increase of power demand in the region, Qatar Foundation (QF) has undertaken and completed the Solar-Smart Grid project, which is also the first commercial photovoltaic (PV) project to be granted approval for grid connection from Kahramaa. According to industry estimate, Qatar Foundation’s solar energy smart-grid-enabled systems generate up to 85 percent of Qatar’s total solar energy output.

Tapping its tremendous solar energy potential, Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) recently announced its plans to set up a solar map within the next year. The map will help identify locations across the country that receives high intensity of solar radiation to install solar cells for power generation.

Moreover, with Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup, the government plans to enhance the use of renewable energy by building five solar stadiums using innovative solar-powered cooling technology that will mitigate the heat and cool the stadium. While the country has excellent solar energy potential, price competiveness and lack of a renewable energy policy framework poses a challenge to the growth of the solar power in the region.

Speakers from Kahramaa, Qatar Foundation, QEERI, QEWC and other industry leaders will discuss the various initiatives undertaken to promote solar energy in the country at the Power Qatar Summit 2015, incorporating the highly successful Solar Qatar Summit, on 26-27 October 2015 at The Ritz Carlton, Doha, Qatar.

For more event details, please log on to http://www.powerqatar.com/

About Expotrade 

Expotrade is a global conference and event organizer with its head office based in Melbourne, Australia and a regional office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Expotrade has delivered some of the largest, most successful B2B industry conferences and events. For almost 10 years, our unique blend of knowledge, experience and flexibility has accomplished an array of consistently top quality events. Today, Expotrade events enjoy such a distinctive edge, they are amongst the best patronized in the calendar.

For more information, visit www.expotradeglobal.com

Blueprint for Dubai’s Skyscrapers Successfully Presented at the 2nd Annual Smart Skyscrapers Summit Dubai

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Abdullah Al Rafia, Assistant Director General – Engineering and Planning Department, Dubai Municipality, addressing the audience at the inauguration of the 2nd Annual Smart Skyscrapers Summit

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, May 14, 2015 – The roadmap for skyscraper development in Dubai was charted out successfully at the 2nd Annual Smart Skyscrapers Summit that concluded in Dubai this week. The summit was held under the patronage of the Dubai Municipality and was produced by global conference organizers, Expotrade. The summit was attended by over 350 participants, with an agenda that featured over 20 stimulating keynote speeches, panel discussions and case studies over the course of two exciting days. The scheduled networking sessions gave participants an opportunity to interact with other attendees. The summit took place on 11-12 May at Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort and Spa.

The summit was inaugurated by Abdullah Al Rafia, Assistant Director General – Engineering and Planning Department, Dubai Municipality in the presence of senior embassy representatives and Wassim Aboushaar, Executive Managing Director, Schindler Middle East, who then welcomed the gathering.

Delivering a special address on behalf of the Dubai Municipality, Abdullah Al Rafia spoke on the Dubai Frame Project that aims to implement one of the highest landmarks in the world which will become an important attraction for tourists and residents alike. Located inside Za’abeel Park, the project will be in the form of a frame with two 150m high towers connected by a bridge at the top of the towers. He explained how the project would provide a great view of ‘Old Dubai’ to the north and ‘New Dubai’ to the south.

The address was followed by a presentation on the challenges of delivering iconic tall and complex buildings globally by Samsung C & T’s Ahmad K. Abdelrazaq. He explained the benefits of Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) and provided case studies on several iconic structures around the world, highlighting the importance of transfer of technology across the boundaries to deliver structures of the highest safety and quality standards, on time and within cost.

Intelligent transit in modern high-rise buildings was the focus of the session conducted by Schindler’s John Mizon, that highlighted how new concepts such as transit management can ensure the quality of space being provided can be increased and improved, thereby creating buildings that are efficient and improve people’s lives.

Other sessions included SULB Company’s Rudi Clayton explaining the advantages of using structural steel in tall buildings. He detailed the advantages of structural steel for owners, designers, fabricators and contractors, including reduced construction times and project costs, aesthetic appeal, design flexibility, high strength, environment friendliness and many more.

KONE’s Johannes de Jong focused on innovative technology to future proof buildings in his session. Emphasizing the importance of optimizing traffic flows within a building, he highlighted how smart, scalable solutions integrating subsystems like access, destination, information and monitoring can enable smoother and smarter people flow.

Sessions on Day 1 featured speakers from AESG and AECOM as well as premium sponsors Emerson Climate Technologies MEA, Guardian, Al-Jazeera Paints, Kansai Paint, Emirates Insolaire, Vision Project Services, speaking on topics ranging from design and construction of sustainable buildings in the Middle East; safety in tall buildings; compressor modulation technology in air conditioning; energy efficiency with glass facades; smart paints; innovative colored solar glass; sustainable paints; use of precision mapping drones. The panel discussion for the day sponsored by Novelis featured an interesting discussion on the current and future trends in architecture, with panelists from Novelis, Perkins+Will, Qatar University and B+H Architects.

Day 2 featured speakers from premium sponsors UTC Building & Industrial Systems and GE Sealants, along with Perkins+Will, Qatar University, Ramboll Middle East, Middle East Centre for Sustainable Development, speaking on vertical transportation and integrated building technologies; silicone structural glazing; smart ideas for future skyscrapers; socio-cultural sustainability and tall buildings; sustainable design and facades for skyscrapers in the Middle East; sustainable development guidelines for skyscrapers. The panel discussion on the second day featured a lively debate on making tall building developments and city infrastructure work.

The Smart Skyscrapers Summit made major strides this year, with greater partnerships with industry giants including Schindler, SULB Company, KONE, Al-Jazeera Paints, Emerson Climate Technologies MEA, Kansai Paint, GE Sealants, Guardian, Emirates Insolaire, UTC Building & Industrial Systems, Vision Project Services, Novelis. The exhibitor lounge was a top draw, with products and solutions displayed by BASF, Reynaers Aluminium, Prysmian Group, Celer Group, Merhis, Liebherr Tower Cranes, Doka, Pentair, Dow, Wild Aquaria, Fujairah Rockwool Factory, Unicoil, Ideal Standard, Guangdong KinLong, VP Groundforce.

The lucky draw at the end of Day 2 proved very popular, with winners receiving an iPad and a complimentary stay at Sofitel The Palm Resort and Spa, Dubai.

The event drew favorable responses from attendees at its close. Matthew Neidlinger, Director – Marketing MEA, Emerson Climate Technologies expressed his gratitude, “We’re glad to be part of this event. Previously, we’ve seen an increase in demand for technologies that have elevated efficiency, comfort, reliability and affordability. Therefore, through our keynote, we’ve addressed capacity and energy efficiency needs that will make smart buildings and skyscrapers the future of this city.”

Antonis Mourikis, Sales Director, Ideal Standard MENA, said, “Smart Skyscrapers has been a good 2-day experience for our company presence in Dubai. The event was very well organized and the speakers were from the most important companies in the field.”

Roger Digby, Commercial Manager – Export, VP Groundforce, mentioned, “The Smart Skyscrapers Summit was a well-organised event and the first attended by VP, as a sponsor, in this region. The conference exposed our products and services to some very good delegates who we hope will become customers.”

Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, organizers of the conference, said, “We are very happy that the 2nd Annual Smart Skyscrapers Summit was such a success as it fulfilled the important role of showcasing technology that can drive the development of sustainable skyscrapers in the region. We are privileged to hold this event under the patronage of the Dubai Municipality this year. We thank our sponsors, delegates, speakers and partners for being part of this event and look forward to seeing them all again next year.”

For event details, visit www.smartskyscrapers.com

About Expotrade 

Expotrade is a global conference and event organizer with its head office based in Melbourne, Australia and a regional office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Expotrade has delivered some of the largest, most successful B2B industry conferences and events. For almost 10 years, our unique blend of knowledge, experience and flexibility has accomplished an array of consistently top quality events. Today, Expotrade events enjoy such a distinctive edge, they are amongst the best patronized in the calendar.

For more information, visit www.expotradeglobal.com

The 2nd Annual Smart Skyscrapers Summit, The Region’s Leading Skyscrapers Event Commenced Today

sss-Logo

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, May 11, 2015 – The 2nd Annual Smart Skyscrapers Summit 2015, held under the patronage of the Dubai Municipality, began today with an engaging agenda replete with keynote speeches, panel discussions and case studies and networking sessions. The summit is being held at Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort and Spa and is produced by global conference organizers, Expotrade.

The two-day summit was inaugurated by Abdullah Al Rafia, Assistant Director General – Engineering and Planning Department, Dubai Municipality, who also delivered a special address on behalf of the Dubai Municipality.

The summit hosted dignitaries including H.E. Emmanuel Kamarianakis, Consul General, Consulate General of Canada to United Arab Emirates in Dubai; H.E. Erdem Ozan, Consul General, Turkish Consulate General in Dubai; H.E. Raymund Furrer, Consul General, Consulate General of Switzerland in Dubai; H.E. Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Chief Executive Officer, SHUROOQ – Sharjah Investment and Development Authority; H.E. Mohammad Reza Fayyaz, Ambassador, Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran; Sarika Lata, Second Secretary, Embassy of the Republic of Fiji; Elodie Journet, Trade Commissioner and Deputy Consul-General, Australian Consulate-General Dubai; Majida Ali Rashed, Assistant Director General, Dubai Land Department; Sanam Shahani, Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Canada to United Arab Emirates in Dubai.

Over 300 delegates attended the summit, including senior architects, engineers, policy-makers, developers, contractors, sustainability experts and building professionals from across the GCC.

Sustainable skyscraper construction and design is the focus of the two-day event, which will showcase the latest and most innovative sustainable building technology and solutions for high-rise green buildings, with focus on the special needs for building skyscrapers in Dubai, the UAE and the Middle East region.

Day 1 of the two-day summit featured an interesting mix of sessions and a panel discussion, with the first presentation of the day featuring Ahmad K Abdelrazaq , Sr. Executive Vice President, Samsung C & T, speaking on the challenges of delivering tall and complex buildings globally. He was followed by John Mizon, Vice President Advanced Programs, Schindler Transit Management Group, speaking on intelligent transit in modern high rise buildings and Scott Coombes, Managing Partner, AESG, who took the audience through the nuances of designing and constructing sustainable buildings in the Middle East.

Other sessions included Rudi Clayton, Manager Marketing & Exports, SULB Company, speaking on the advantages of structural steel usage; Simon Lay, Director – Fire Engineering, AECOM, speaking on safety in tall buildings; Johannes de Jong, Head of Technology, Major Projects, KONE, presenting on innovative technology to future proof buildings; Matthew Neidlinger, Director – Marketing MEA, Emerson Climate Technologies MEA speaking on addressing capacity and energy efficiency needs through compressor modulation in air conditioning applications, among many more. The panel discussion for the day discussed current and future trends in architecture.

The Day 2 agenda will feature sessions on vertical transportation and integrated building technologies by Richard K. Pulling, Vice President – Sales, Global Major Projects, Otis Elevator Company, UTC Building & Industrial Systems; silicone structural glazing by Errol Bull, Architectural Engineer, Technical Services Manager, GE Construction Sealants; sustainable design and facades for skyscrapers in the Middle East by Abdulmajid Karanouh, Director – Head of Façade, Ramboll Middle East; and many more. Also scheduled is a panel discussion on making tall building developments and city infrastructure work.

In only its second year, the Smart Skyscrapers Summit has become the premier skyscrapers event in the region, evidenced by the increased number of partnerships with industry giants including Schindler, SULB Company, KONE, Al-Jazeera Paints, Emerson Climate Technologies MEA, Kansai Paint, GE Sealants, Guardian, Emirates Insolaire, UTC Building & Industrial Systems, Vision Project Services, Novelis and many more. The exhibitor lounge featured over 25 solution-providers showcasing a range of innovative solutions and products.

Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, organizers of the conference, said, “The Smart Skyscrapers Summit has grown to become the leading skyscrapers event in the region in a very short period of time. This year, we are privileged to hold this event under the patronage of the Dubai Municipality. This summit showcases the latest designs, technology and solutions for tall buildings in the region, and is especially relevant for Dubai, which is among the global hubs for skyscraper development. We are glad to bring this premier platform to share knowledge and network with the best in the field to our audience.”

For event details, visit www.smartskyscrapers.com

About Expotrade 

Expotrade is a global conference and event organizer with its head office based in Melbourne, Australia and a regional office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Expotrade has delivered some of the largest, most successful B2B industry conferences and events. For almost 10 years, our unique blend of knowledge, experience and flexibility has accomplished an array of consistently top quality events. Today, Expotrade events enjoy such a distinctive edge, they are amongst the best patronized in the calendar.

For more information, visit www.expotradeglobal.com