Disrupting an Industry…For this Reason we Launch “Zuidas Technologies”.
I still remember my first day after graduation when I joined Shaker consultancy group; which was ranked the first Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing (MEP) consultant in Egypt in the year 2001. Their main office was in Mohandseen. At the time, Mohandseen was an upper-class district, most of its residents were the crème de la crème of the Egyptian society; it was the community of politicians, ministers, and artists.
We created designs for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning systems (HVAC) for all the significant projects in Egypt near the Nile river, like The Four Seasons hotels and Nile City. One of the biggest projects I participated in was The American University in Cairo which is currently located in The Fifth Settlement district. In 2001, nobody lived in The Fifth Settlement, it was literally a desert, and in the time of 18 years, it turned into one of the most distinguished places in Cairo, to work, to study, and to live.
In 2008, I worked for Dar Alhandasah in Dubai. Now, in 2018 Dubai is another city. Its buildings and towers tell us the story of “How to build a city from scratch.”
Every building around the world tells its own story; however, I am always inspired by the stories of the technologies inside these buildings. I always dream of the buildings of tomorrow; their places, what they’re made of, and the story each building would tell the future generations.
Four years ago, I decided to follow my passion and start my own business; a company that works on buildings’ technologies and solutions. Today I’m developing my business model to introduce an advanced version that could take this industry to its highest levels. I believe that that could be achieved through raising the standards of buildings’ technologies, being energy efficient and smarter than before.
I am here today to lunch our new company Zuidas Technologies; an innovative integrated energy efficient solution to develop livable, energy efficient, and smart commercial buildings, and a turnkey solution provider from the basis of design till operation. Our core purpose is to create healthier working, living, and learning environments by using top-notch technologies. From this perspective, we extend our boundaries and keep innovating continuously to develop a new generation of buildings.
With a group of experts and professionals, we are establishing a new baseline for energy efficient buildings, using a new project delivery methodology to save up to 50% of the energy normally consumed.
Meeting the 50% energy savings goal is challenging, and according to the Advanced Energy Design Guides of Office Buildings written by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, it requires essential principles:
- 1- Obtain building owner buy-in.
There must be a strong buy-in from the owner and the operator’s leadership and staff. The more they know about and participate in the planning and design process, the better they will be able to achieve the 50% energy saving goal. The building owner must set his goals and provide the guidance required to turn his vision into a reality.
- 2- Assemble an experienced, innovative design team.
Interest and experience in designing energy-efficient buildings, innovative thinking, and the ability to work together as a team is critical to meeting the 50% goal. The team achieves this goal by creating a building that maximizes daylighting; minimizes process, heating, and cooling loads; and has highly efficient lighting and HVAC systems. Energy goals should be communicated in the request for proposal and design team selection based in part on the team’s ability to meet the goals. The design team implements the goals for the owner.
- 3- Adopt an integrated design process.
Cost-effective, energy-efficient design requires trade-offs among potential energy-saving features. This requires an integrated approach to building design. A highly efficient lighting system, for instance, may cost more than a conventional one, but because it produces less heat, the building’s cooling system can often be downsized. The greater the energy savings, the more complicated the trade-offs become and the more design team members must work together to determine the optimal mix of energy saving features. Because many options are available, the design team will have wide latitude in making energy-saving trade-offs.
- 4- Consider a daylighting consultant.
Daylighting is an important energy savings strategy to achieve the 50% energy saving goal; however, it requires good technical daylighting design. If the design team does not have experience with a well-balanced daylighting design, it may need to add a daylighting consultant.
- 5- Consider energy modeling.
This Guide provides a few design packages to help achieve energy savings of 50% without energy modeling, but whole-building energy modeling programs can provide more flexibility to evaluate the energy-efficient measures on an individual project. These simulation programs have learning curves of varying difficulty, but energy modeling for office design is highly encouraged and is considered necessary for achieving energy savings of 50%. Part of the key to energy savings is using the simulations to make envelope decisions first and then evaluating heating, cooling, and lighting systems. Developing HVAC load calculations is not energy modeling and is not a substitute for energy modeling.
- 6- Use building commissioning.
Studies verify that building systems, no matter how carefully designed, are often improperly installed or set up and do not operate as efficiently as expected. The 50% goal can best be achieved through building commissioning (Cx), a systematic process of ensuring that all building systems—including envelope, lighting, and HVAC—perform as intended.
- 7- Train building users and operations staff.
Staff training can be part of the building Cx process, but a plan must be in place to train staff for the life of the building to meet energy savings goals. The building’s designers and contractors normally are not responsible for the office after it becomes operational, so the building owner must establish a continuous training program that helps occupants and operation and maintenance staff maintain and operate the building for maximum energy efficiency. This training should include information about the impact of plug loads on energy use and the importance of using energy-efficient equipment and appliances.
- 8- Monitor the building.
A monitoring plan is necessary to ensure that energy goals are met over the life of the building. Even simple plans, such as recording and plotting monthly utility bills, can help ensure that the energy goals are met. Buildings that do not meet the design goals often have operational issues that should be corrected.
Under traditional design processes, energy use or a building’s overall energy performance is not typically discussed in any meaningful way by engineers, architects, and building owners at a conceptual design level discussion. For INTEGRATED PROJECT DELIVERY (IPD) to truly be successful at obtaining energy savings in the range of greater than 50%, this tendency needs to change. All parties need to engage in much more detailed dialog earlier in the design process—using a team approach— taking the time to understand how their portion of the work affects the greater design of the whole project.
PRINCIPLES OF INTEGRATED PROJECT DELIVERY (IPD)
Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a new concept for design and construction that uses a team approach to project management throughout all phases of the design process.
In a traditional system, the owner, designers, consultants, and constructors work on a fragmented basis, with success often based strictly on the profit received (to each) rather than the overall success of the final product. In IPD, all parties involved in the development of a building work together to achieve the common goal of maximizing multiple efficiencies of the building by having a more collaborative design and construction process. This approach is intended to not only save money but also provide higher-performing buildings that have been seen with the traditional approach.
IPD is a method that conscientiously moves toward a more open and transparent agreement, focusing on mutual benefits and rewards by encouraging parties to converge on the project outcomes rather than their individual goals. Project goals must be defined and recorded early in the project.
Figure 1-1 Traditional Project Design Team
Figure 1-2 Integrated Project Design Team
High-performance building design should be the focus for the future, and IPD will be the cornerstone for the evolution to more effective results in actual building performance.
USING IPD TO MAXIMIZE ENERGY EFFICIENCY
As noted previously, IPD revolves around key collaboration agreements meant to remove barriers between parties and to encourage early contributions of wisdom and experience. While other sources are better suited to provide guidance on the contractual and organizational aspects, this section provides an idealized design management guidance template that describes how to use the more open relationships to achieve high energy-efficiency goals in the building design. Figure 1-3 gives a snapshot of the key steps in each phase that help lead toward energy efficient solutions.
ONGOING TENANTS TRAINING
In buildings designed for low energy use, it is always important to remember that occupant behavior is crucial to achieving the anticipated performance. When people understand the goals of the building and their roles, they can substantially reduce energy use. It can be beneficial for the design and construction team to host a lunchtime talk for the initial tenants and describe the building’s design intent and sustainability features. This is the ideal venue to introduce the occupants to the tenant education guide described previously and to allow the local leadership to state their support for the energy-efficiency initiative in the building. It is important to forewarn occupants that although the building was commissioned, low-energy buildings sometimes take a season or two to reach their final optimized control strategies, so all occupants are invited to submit comments on performance as additional inputs for improving the operations. This type of personal engagement will not only encourage positive-impact behaviors with the initial tenants, but these first adopters can act as efficiency coaches for all future staff members