Dubai has been the center of a huge building boom in the past couple year, and sustainable energy is not being forgotten.
This beauty is the Burj Al-Taqa (“Energy Tower” in English). It’s a 322-meter, 68-story, green tower currently being built in Dubai. So what’s so special about this green tower? Well, it’s just how green this tower is.
The Burj Al-Taqa is completely off-grid. Through a combination of thermal air conditioning, wind, and solar power, it is able to generate 100% of it’s own electricity, plus a bit more (which will be used to extract hydrogen for fuel-cells).
Air conditioning can be a large problem in Dubai due to the scorching sun. The tower manages to reduce energy usage for air conditioning by using a form of natural air conditioning. The tower’s design forces hot air out of the tower, while at the same time pumping fresh, seawater-cooled air in. This keeps energy usage down, provides a cool interior, and also allows for the warmth of direct sunlight through the windows.
Beyond the tower’s efficiency, it generates all the power it does use. The tower features a wind turbine on it’s top, as well as two roof-mounted solar arrays generates a majority of the tower’s power. In addition, the tower has an additional solar array on a rotating shield that changes to match the position of the sun.
This rotating shield, in addition to generating electricity, serves to block out the majority of the sun’s rays, improving the air conditioner’s effectiveness.
This tower uses numerous other energy saving techniques to reduce energy usage such as super-efficient windows, hanging gardens inside transparent ducts, and a specially designed shape that minimizes the building’s surface area exposed to the sun.
This green tower sets a fantastic example for future skyscrapers, and proves that with enough design and engineering, skyscrapers can be sustainable. It is not proven yet, but construction is underway in Dubai, and we’ll see how effective the finished building turns out to be.
By the way, this building will take #22 on the list of the world’s tallest buildings. Go green go!