Solar Tower DohaEdit profile
Design Statement The use of building structure or shading devices to provide protection from the sun has been a feature of Middle Eastern cultures for centuries. In building design, the use of the traditional "mashrabiya" provided shade while allowing daylight into the building while controlling heat gains, it also provided visual privacy for the occupants. The traditional tent which is perhaps one of the greatest symbols of Arab culture, provided protection from the sun and wind. It is also a clever and economic design solution, which provides great benefits in an extreme climate. In the Middle East where summer temperatures can soar past 48C accompanied by weeklong dust storms, keeping homes and offices cool and well lit can consume up to 70 percent of the total power use for a building. We have estimated that if you mounted the sunshade system on a 40,000 m2 tower, 40 floors high, the shade could reduce CO2 production by 600 tones and generate 1,000 Megawatt hours of power a year. The Solar Energy Tower incorporates a revolutionary shading system. This is a rotating and semi perforate shield which sits like a skin on the outside of a building, moving around on tracks to shield the sun, while still allowing daylight to penetrate. Initial studies utilizing a flat surface for the shade predicted that the shading would have a significant effect on the cooling loads, further studies demonstrated that a significant amount of electricity could be generated utilizing the large louver principle currently under development. Either principle however can be made to work effectively. Made from a lightweight frame incorporating photovoltaic cells, the sunshield: * Reduces the energy required to light and cool the building by 30 percent; * Produces enough energy to power the movement of the shade and provide up to 10 percent of the building's remaining power needs; * Is made from a simple and cost-effective series of modular panels, which can be removed individually without compromising the whole system; and * Incorporates a guide rail at each floor level to provide both structural support and access for cleaning and maintenance. * Offers the potential to reduce the performance specifications, cost and embodied energy content for the remaining building facades. We envisage that a series of towers on podiums could create a network of shaded streets, all benefiting from a microclimate that would encourage people to spend more time out of doors. This would reduce air conditioning costs and promote a healthier lifestyle generally. Water evaporation rates would be reduced, and vegetation and bio diversity would also be encouraged. The urban heat island effect would also be reduced. Reducing the cooling loads on buildings is ultimately leads to energy efficiency and reduced CO2 production. In addition the potential for electricity generation through infrastructural shading as opposed to shading integrated into individual buildings is potentially very large. The Solar Energy Tower concept is being developed through our innovation program, which invites the company's 6000 people to submit, collaborate and vote on ideas and provides a transparent, formal process through which their innovation can be recognized and acted on. The solar shading concept was initiated, developed and tested in collaboration with the company's global offices. The idea attracted interest from the construction industry after it was presented at the "Building Materials' Construction & Technology Congress" in Kuwait City October 2008. The sunshade concept has the potential to support sustainability objectives in the Middle East, as well as northern Australia, South East Asia, Africa and Central and South America. We are currently conducting in-depth studies with selected manufacturers, to refine the concept and explore the potential for transference of electricity generated to the grid, and an integrated water-based cooling system powered by the shield to further reduce air-conditioning. Launched globally in 2008, our innovation program has already seen 1200 ideas submitted with more than 30 being progressed to the funding stage.