Qatar’s first Passivhaus experiment
The Edge spoke with Dr. Alex Amato, head of sustainability at Qatar Green Building Council about the concept behind Qatar’s first passivhaus.
Qatar is expected to have its first energy-efficient passivhaus by February 2013. Passivehaus in German refers to the rigourous voluntary, passivehaus standard for energy efficiency in a building. The Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) partnered with Barwa Real Estate (BRE) and Kahramaa recently to launch a groundbreaking experiment in the region’s green building industry. The passivhaus boasts an ultra low energy, airtight building design that requires little energy for space cooling, reducing its environmental footprint. Dr. Alex Amato, head of sustainability of QGBC explained to The Edge that the passivhaus concept originated in northern Europe and central Europe to retain heat indoors, whereas in Qatar it will be tasked with retaining the cool indoors. The conventional villa will be built to one-star rating of the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS), developed in Qatar while the country’s first passivhaus is expected to consume at least 50 percent less energy, water and operational carbon dioxide. Once the 225 square metre villas are completed, Amato says that the two villas will be monitored in terms of energy, water consumption, and also the comfort within the two villas for a period of one year. The project aims to educate the public about the passivhaus concept. It will promote discussions about green living and sustainable practices for Qataris to implement in their daily lives. Moreover, the project will work to obtain a Passivhaus Building Certification and GSAS Certificate, and establish a benchmark for all future buildings in Qatar.
“Another important outcome is that much of the techniques the passivehaus uses, such as the insulation and the windows, and perhaps one or two other aspects that control ventilation can be applied to existing buildings and residential buildings,” said Amato. Texas A&M University in Qatar, Siemens, AECOM, Global Sustainability System and EPS Qatar have also joined the project as scientific partners. The passivhaus concept remains the same for all of the world’s climates. A building fulfilling the passive house standard will look different from area to area. The number of Passivhaus buildings around the world as of August 2010 was approximately 25,000.