5 things we learnt from the Smart Skyscrapers Summit
In a city known for its tall buildings, and with a desire to become more sustainable, Dubai was the ideal venue to discuss the concept of smart skyscrapers.
There are 280 tall buildings over 100 metres in Dubai, it also boasts the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. It is also currently 52nd in the World Sustainability Index. But it’s at a critical point, how does it balance the creation of some exceptional tall and super-tall buildings, with a drive to a more sustainable future? With this in mind the panel discussion at the Smart Skyscrapers Summit revolved around, one key question:
What does Dubai want to be?
To help answer this question, here are 5 key ideas that came out of the summit:
1. Policy should drive social objectives
Building design and planning policy which focuses on safety, security and sustainability would help harmonise the future growth of this sector. The right policies can also drive to implement Dubai’s reducing 30% energy by 2030 and meet 5% of the energy demand from solar. Policies should drive these social objectives and help create a liveable, happy, city.
2. Make gaining knowledge and awareness of sustainable behavior fun!
Energy reduction in buildings was a key part of many of the discussions taking place at the summit. As we all live in a time surrounded by technology, it was highlighted that gamification and technology can play a significant role, to educate the public. By harnessing technology, and adding a fun element, it could be used as a tool to make both the building occupants, and the operators, aware of the consequences their actions have on a building’s energy consumption and the environment.
3. Don’t forget people
Smart Skyscrapers are not all about about flashy technology and gadgets, they are ultimately about people. Buildings don’t use energy, people do. Identifying Smart not as a product, but as an approach to a people-centric design, can lead to energy efficient design, and an eco-friendly life. Its not about building more, it’s about building with a purpose.
4. Liveability and Wellbeing
These two factors are proportionately related to the efficiency and innovation of the residents. Positive emotions have been shown to create heightened levels of creativity and “big picture” focus – making them both key to successful innovation. Liveability and Wellbeing assessments, of tall towers would encourage designs, to harness creativity and innovation, for a healthier living solution. Our work on the Masdar Institute Housing development, a low-carbon and pedestrian-focused innovation community is a great example of where our experts are really making a difference. Undertaking sensitivity studies to inform the design on distance between buildings, massing, orientation and material properties. The design recommendations were focused on achieving balance between minimising solar radiation on the facades and outdoor spaces, whilst increasing the comfort of both the pedestrian and the occupants. We also developed an outdoor thermal comfort strategy to increase outdoor comfortable hours throughout the year, and to encourage healthy lifestyle for the residents.
5. We need to change our mind-set
Lastly, moving to a truly sustainable lifestyle involves making radical shifts in how we make our choices. Integrating these changes into our lives involves a behavouiral and cultural shift towards wanting to make each change and also understanding the value and impact that each decision has on the environment and society as a whole.