‘Green’ design cuts need for AC, says expert
Doha, March 2, 2010
Buildings and places need to be designed and developed in a sustainable way to allow communities to be less reliant on air conditioning and cars, leading to cost and energy efficiencies, said a leading architect.
Tim Makower, partner at Doha-based architects Allies and Morrison, will be presenting his thoughts and ideas at the Sustainability and the Built Environment Seminar tomorrow (March 3) at the Diplomatic Club in Doha.
“Air conditioning is not the only way to cool a building, especially in the more temperate months of the year,” said Makower.
“The Gulf faces extremely hot weather for three, arguably five, months of the year and during this time air conditioning is essential. But for the rest of the year, the weather is very pleasant and architects, engineers and developers should explore alternative ways to cool buildings during these months,” he added.
Makower said that far more air conditioning is used than necessary. He said that by reducing the reliance on air conditioning there would be some clear benefits, including cost savings and being more eco-friendly due to lower energy consumption.
“We need to design places and buildings that allow people to respond to the climate and live in more harmony with the seasons. For instance, people should be provided with the choice to switch off their air conditioning and open a window during the winter months; for many people that is the most comfortable way to live,” said Makower.
“What could be better than being given greater choice, greater comfort and cost savings all in one go? We are designing homes and work places now which can be dramatically opened up on to external courtyards and balconies in good weather.”
Makower said this flexibility should also extend to the use of the car. He said that places should be designed to be pedestrian-friendly and that streets should be naturally cooled so that people can choose to walk to school, shops, the mosque or to work during the cooler months, instead of having to use their cars and face traffic congestion.
“I don’t question the right to use air conditioning or a car. But I believe that we should design places and buildings that give people the choice to switch off their air conditioning and leave their car in the garage,” added Makower.
During his presentation, Makower will explain how using inventive solutions, which are often founded in traditional Qatari methods and building techniques, can cool buildings naturally.
The Sustainability and the Built Environment Seminar is organised by the UK Trade & Invest section of the British Embassy in Doha. – TradeArabia News Service