PERSPECTIVES

Significance of Energy Efficiency in a Sustainable Built Environment

Hussain Rasheed (Building Service Engineer)

The built environment accounts for more than half of the overall total carbon emission in the world through energy production. Despite the abundance of direct sunlight and other renewable resources to generate clean energy, Maldives is heavily dependent on the burning of fossil fuel for electricity generation.

A decade ago, the government set a goal to become carbon neutral by 2020. However, we as a country have only managed to reduce our carbon emission by merely less than 5% of the goal over the last 10 years. Currently, 10% of the country’s GDP is spent on acquiring fossil fuel for power generation. Moreover, due to the topography of low-lying coral atolls, Maldives is extremely vulnerable to climate change and sea-level rise. Hence, it has become essential to act on climate resilience by adapting cost-effective sustainable building design techniques and approaches to minimize the impacts on the environment. Achieving global environmental sustainability will depend on successful implementation to reduce the overall negative impacts of the built environment on nature. 


APPROACH

A sustainable building requires more than identifying solutions to specific problems, but changes to attitudes, paradigms, processes and systems to deliver the project. With the use of methods such as life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) we can determine the environmental and economic costs of a building throughout its service life. Recent technological improvements in the industry has provided us with simulation tools to determine the overall performance and energy consumption of a building. By embracing methods such as ArchiCAD energy evaluation and building information modelling (BIM) the entire process of design and construction can be integrated and visualized to improve current concepts into more energy-efficient solutions. The “whole building energy simulation” is a cost-effective technique for architects and engineers to support and promote sustainable designs and subsequent operation and maintenance of a building. 


SOLUTION

To promote sustainability in building designs and adopt a culture of the green building concept, we at Epoch have embraced Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) frameworks in all of our built environment projects. Adopting LEED / BREEAM in our projects has given us the versatility of proposing specific and individual project-based solutions for our clients. Through detailed analysis and the use of software tools our team of green associates, architects, structural engineers and building services engineers focus on the fundamentals principles of sustainable building design by analyzing site potential, optimizing the energy usage, conservation of water, optimize the use of material usage and resources and enhance the overall indoor environment quality (IEQ) of the building. Our goal is to advocate and create awareness through innovative and technology-based sustainable design features, equipment’s, resources and energy-saving systems to overcome the current limitations in the green building industry.


SERVICES & CAPABILITIES

  • Integrating renewable energy for electricity generation in building design
  • Energy performance assessment of existing buildings and new constructions
  • Rainwater harvesting solutions for irrigation, outdoor and indoor water usage
  • Design and consultancy for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing services
  • Design and consultancy heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • Implementing design solutions focused on human experience and environmental strategies
  • Integrative design process and technical consulting
  • Life cycle cost and life cycle assessment
  • LEED / BREEAM Certification