Region’s first self-cooling eco-home unveiled

Source: Gulf News

Dubai: A full-sized home that cools itself in the UAE’s scorching summer heat was unveiled in Dubai on Friday.

At first, the two-storey, four-bedroom house, which stands in the headquarters of the Mohammad Bin Rashed Space Centre, seems like a fairly normal family home. But closer inspection reveals the 6,000 square foot concept’s green credentials, which space centre officials claim make it the region’s first sustainable home.

The house’s outside walls are 61cm thick, and insulated with a combination of polystyrene, gypsum and fibreglass mesh. The house’s in-built software system regulates lighting, power, temperature and humidity. All the lights are motion-activated LEDs, while blinds covering the home’s triple-glazed windows open and close automatically.

The home was built with help from the Passive House Institute in Germany. The Darmstadt-based institute aims to develop the ‘holy grail’ of building science — structures that use very little energy for heating and cooling. While the institute claims to have first built Europe’s first ultra-low energy house as far back as 1990, the Middle East’s red-hot, humid climates create a far different challenge.

From the house’s decorative false ceilings, a faint hum reveals the home’s ventilation system. Instead of power-hungry air conditioning, the house uses a mechanical system that filters out dust and particles and cools through refrigerated water pipes.

“Our main goal and objective when we decided to embark on this project was to create a building that is totally independent of the electricity grid,” said Ali Shaheen, the centre’s sustainable energy programme director. “Now we have a building with zero carbon emissions.”

On the roof, 160 solar panels cover 350 square metres of space — and officials claim there’s plenty of room to add more. During the sunny morning on the day of the house’s launch, the solar panels had generated 21 kilowatts.

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