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Using solar powered glass to make high rise building green(er)

Posted by Jameela Mohanna on February 20, 2015 at 8:05 AM

BAHRAIN has one of the highest energy consumption rates per person in the world. We are 4th highest in the GCC after Kuwait, UAE, Qatar and 19th worldwide.

From 1,947.37 kWh per capita in 1971 to 10,018.07 kWh Energy use per capita in 2011 still steadily going up. So why is the government not enforcing the construction of “green” energy saving buildings?

Green building refers to a structure and using process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.

New and existing buildings in the Kingdom could become partly energy self-dependent (up to 10%) by using green technologies like solar glass:

Solar power energy generating glass can produce clean electricity on see-through glass windows, by making use of the energy of natural sunlight and artificial sources such as fluorescent and LED lighting typically installed in offices, schools, and commercial buildings.

From flat and textured glass for new high rise building and residential homes to coatings for aircrafts and flexible films that can be applied directly to existing windows, and are able to generate electricity from both natural and artificial light sources.

This is great news for our dusty desert climate, since a major drawback of using solar power is the need to keep the photovoltaic solar cell clean to generate optimum power.

With new glass skyscrapers being built everywhere why not insist in them using this type of technology to reduce their dependency on the national grid and thus prevent power outages, along with measures such as insulation etc.

In the Middle East air conditioners account to 60-70% of the summer electric bill, probably even more in glass faced structures.

In numerous building lights and air conditioners are left on running day and night including weekends when there is no one working. Surely temperatures could be time controlled to conserve energy?

Structures should also keep their thermostat on a more even temperature in the summer to avoid freezing the employees/residents and making them sick because the temperature difference is too big when leaving the building, where they need sweaters to keep warm, and get a shock from the sometimes 15-30 C° temperature difference.

Most offices depend on tinted glass but these still contribute to superheating the spaces, placing green plants in front of the windows reduces the temperature and also make the work environment more relaxing.

Much could be done, up to now it is non-compulsory but maybe each new building should be obliged to implement some form of energy saving measures.


Categories: 2015

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