The World’s Tallest Green Building: The Burj Khalifa
What Are the Benefits of Green Building? If you’re considering investing in green modular building techniques, you might be wondering what exactly the benefits are and how they can help you to improve your business and your community at large. Here are just some of the positive impacts that green modular building has on the environment, your business, and your local community.
Dubai Announces Their First Green Building
One of Dubai’s newest skyscrapers was officially announced as being green certified. This is great news and a step in a positive direction for green buildings, especially in developing countries. Some may be wondering what it means to have a green building and what exactly are they? A modular green building is designed with sustainability in mind. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are eight components that make up a certified green building: indoor environmental quality, water efficiency, energy efficiency, material selection/conversion/reuse, operational controls/operation and maintenance, transportation and site management/integration.
A Closer Look at the Technology behind the Tower
Green building is hardly new, but many wonder how such a massive skyscraper could actually be green. While some of its features might seem a bit out there, some of its biggest environmental contributions are really not that hard to understand at all. As it turns out, when you’re working with an architect like Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill (who also designed New York City’s One World Trade Center and Shanghai’s Horton Plaza), green design isn’t just good for nature—it can also make good business sense. But how does one go about creating a sustainable building? First things first, start with your location.
How to Go Green With Modular Buildings
Dubai is a city where green has a bigger impact than in any other major world metropolis. This is because Dubai generates 40 percent of its electricity from clean fuel. And though oil prices are falling, Dubai shows no signs of slowing down on efforts to ensure that sustainability plays an even larger role in its future economic plans. The emirate recently announced plans to become a green oasis. To do so, it will work toward construction modular homes, along with creating more solar power capacity for consumption. Although these building efforts could be costly for Dubai, they’ll have long-term benefits for residents and visitors alike. Here are some tips from GBI as to how you can go green with modular buildings in your own projects and business endeavors.
Examples of Other Buildings Going Green
Among other skyscrapers that have gone green, Chicago’s John Hancock Center completed a $100 million dollar renovation in 2007. It boasts a 50% reduction in energy usage and has become one of America’s first LEED certified buildings. In 2009, New York City also joined in on making their buildings greener with a 53-story office tower near Times Square that boasts solar panels on its south-facing side. When you begin investing in green modular building supplies like these ones, it will be easier to incorporate eco-friendly features into your design plan for your projects and keep them around for future use.
What Are Some Options for Going Greener?
Whether you’re interested in constructing a new building or retrofitting an existing one, there are a few options that could help your business go green. Constructing a green building from scratch, either with standard construction techniques or with modular techniques like those employed by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, is one way to go. Another option is to install green upgrades onto an existing structure—either through renovation or remodeling. Those upgrades might include solar panels, as well as energy-efficient appliances and HVAC systems. And if you do decide to renovate your building, don’t forget about aesthetics; research has shown that people are often willing to pay more for attractive products and services.
According to Emporis, in 2013 there were more than 20,000 wind turbines operating in China. On its own, that doesn’t sound particularly impressive—after all, Germany has nearly 75,000. But China only began building large-scale commercial wind farms as of 2008 and its industry grew by leaps and bounds from there. In 2012 it made up a third of total worldwide installations—and today makes up almost 40 percent. That means China alone has one third of all wind turbines currently operating worldwide. It also leads for overall capacity at 169 gigawatts—nearly three times as much as second place Spain (59 GW). And it expects to double that capacity by 2015.
Many people are opting for environmentally friendly power. That’s great news. However, not all green energy is created equal, and some isn’t actually much better than non-green options. A green building, for example, can be filled with solar panels or wind turbines—but if its heating and cooling system still relies on non-renewable natural gas or propane, then it’s not really as green as it appears to be. For that reason, choosing a green option without considering overall impact can actually do more harm than good in the long run.
Geothermal Energy (Ground Source Heat Pumps)
Dubai has recently made headlines by building a few of what are billed as the tallest skyscrapers in history, including its iconic 828-meter, 163-story tower known as Burj Khalifa. Built in 2010 to house offices and luxury apartments (the building contains 2.6 million square feet of residences), it boasts a double-skin facade that helps keep occupants cool while also collecting sunlight to power all of its common areas using zero fossil fuels. With more than one billion square feet of glass and a total volume just under 30 million cubic meters (1,050 million cubic feet), it is almost inconceivable that it would produce excess energy—and yet here we are.
Solar Photovoltaic Panels and Microgeneration Systems
Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, or solar cells, use semiconductors to directly convert sunlight into electricity. They’re ideal for homeowners and businesses that want a renewable power source that produces virtually no waste. PVs are one of two types of solar panels. Solar thermal panels use sunlight to heat water, air or other fluids that run a generator. PV systems are designed with fewer moving parts than more conventional options, like wind turbines and hydroelectric dams, making them easier to maintain and repair—more reliable over time as well.