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Finnish companies present range of ‘smart green building’ expertise

United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, December 01 - 2010 @ 12:13

The seminar was attended by about 150 people representing architectural, engineering, real estate, consulting and construction companies, as well as representatives of Masdar, Abu.Dhabi Urban Planning Council and the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

The event was hosted by the Finnish companies in cooperation with the Emirates Green Building Council, and inaugurated by Finland’s Ambassador to UAE, Mr. Matti Lassila. In his keynote address, Mr. Lassila said, “We are delighted to see institutions and enterprises from Finland take such an active part in this seminar on smart green buildings in Abu Dhabi and specifically Yas Island, which is a prime example of what can be done in a very short period of time if there is a will and the means to implement the will.”

Noting that both Finland and UAE experience extreme climatic conditions, he said the challenge of today and tomorrow is to manage our responses to the damands of those harsh conditions in a sustainable way. “The UAE, even with its abundant resources, is taking its environmental responsibilities seriously, as we can see from all the projects being planned and implemented, and as we can see from the level of participation in this seminar,” Mr. Lassila added.

The seminar was also sponsored by Delta Electromechanical Engineering Services Company, A RISE General Trading subsidiary and a member of National Holding group of Abu Dhabi. The event included presentations from Vahanen Group, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Fidelix, Evac, Enervent, Buildercom as well as the Emirates Green Building Council.

In a presentation titled “Towards near zero primary energy use and carbon emissions in buildings & communities”, Tapio Koivu, Executive Vice President at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, listed the country’s extreme climatic challenges and drivers of smart green building technologies, and traced the paradigm shift towards the concept of producing energy on demand. Noting that added-value businesses could accelerate the change towards sustainability and zero energy buildings, he said a sustainable neighbourhood is achievable by efficiently optimising and combining existing technologies that can be used in specific local contexts to arrive at the desired level of energy consumption.

The technologies would include energy efficient buildings, solar energy, high efficient central plants, geothermal heat pumps, energy storage, optimised transportation, fuel cells, wind, hydro power, bio mass and waste heat.

Risto Vahanen, Chairman of Vahanen Group, focused on the behaviour of buildings in the changing climatic conditions and the advantages of using Building Information Modelling (BIM) while planning the construction of new buildings and communities. When adapting energy efficient technologies problems such as poor indoor air quality caused by a combination of high air-conditioning, heat and humidity may get worse if not addressed at the early design stage. BIM offers a modern tool for design and simulation of behaviour of buildings and thus will be the major platform for design and management of sustainable built environment.

Stuart McHardy, Director of Evac, which designs and manufactures environmentally friendly waste and wastewater collection and treatment systems for the building and shipbuilding industries, showed how the company’s vacuum technology can contribute heavily in reducing water footprint in homes and communities. The company, which pioneered the vacuum toilet, is now developing efficient black and gray water recycling systems for buildings.

Citing statistics and successful projects worldwide, including the Great Eastern Hotel in London, Heathrow Airport in London, and other buildings and communities in China, Australia and Brazil, McHardy said Evac relies on 40 years of experience in helping the world to reduce its water footprint. Noting that a typical Evac vacuum toilet requires just over one litre of water per flush which means one sixth of that used by conventional systems, and are also cleaner than conventional systems, he asked: “Why flush water down the drain?”

In a presentation titled “Energy savings in cooling and air conditioning solutions”, Jari Mikkonen, Managing Director, Enervent Ltd., presented a wide range of innovative solutions related to power and lighting: ventilation with energy recovery, healthy indoor air, electric heating and control systems, motion detector controlled lighting and LED luminaires.

Speaking on behalf of the Emirates Green Building Council, Sarfraz Dairkee, Coordinator of the Technical and Awards Committee, stressed the importance of invoking ancient wisdom. In the region, buildings account for the largest chunk of electricity and water consumption, and 70 percent of the energy is used for illumination and cooling. He urged the industry to redefine their methodology by combining regional heritage architecture with modern tools, such as energy simulation and computational fluid dynamics, so that strong elements of traditional architecture can be used to reduce the local environmental footprint of buildings.

Jussi Rantanen, Managing Director of Fidelix Ltd., introduced the company’s FX-Net system which he described as the new generation Building Management System, designed to meet the requirements of modern building facilities management and meet green building standards. This Internet based system enables a single Internet enabled system to manage cooling and ventilation control, energy metering and security applications. The FX-Net system is seamlessly scalable from a small system to a large multi-building, multi-site solution, he said.

Rantanen said the system achieves this by integrating the key features of the building – fire protection, security, access, energy, lighting, lifts, communication, 24X7 monitoring and HVAC elements – in one system. Fidelix is one of the leading building automation and security system manufacturers in Europe.

Juha Aspinen, Executive and Chairman of the Board of Buildercom Ltd., focused on the role of efficient information management in advancing sustainability. He said the digital information services for construction and real estate maintenance offered by the company help achieve better and more fluent processes and a better work environment. The system can be effectively deployed to manage buildings including housing, administrational, educational and factories; networks including road, railroad, freshwater, wastewater, electricity and gas; structures such as harbours, dams, tunnels, parking caves; and civic infrastructure including parks, streets and bridges.

Vahanen noted the emergence of sustainable buildings as a major solution at a time when the world is chasing goals of energy and water conservation and other sustainable alternatives. “We have a high level of knowledge and technological expertise in Finland in the field of green and sustainable buildings. We are also very specialized in offering tailor-made sustainability solutions for the education sector. In fact, our solutions typically take care of specific green goals, but go beyond those to ensure better human health and indoor air quality in severe climatic conditions where air-conditioning is often unavoidable.”

Vahanen said the seminar is part of the efforts of Finnish companies, supported by the Finnish government, to create awareness and promote new technology and solutions in the region. The seminar in Abu Dhabi was preceded by a similar event in Doha, Qatar in May this year, and will be followed by events in Saudi Arabian and Bahrain in 2011. “Our idea is to show our advanced solutions and to integrate them with local and traditional know-how where possible,” he said.

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Wednesday, December 1- 2010 @ 12:13 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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