Yet another self-powered skyscraper was unveiled recently, stemming from the unlikely combination of German architects and the insanity of Dubai. With plans to rise 68 stories high while providing all its power through solar, wind and water installations, the Burj al Taqa, "Energy Tower", has created quite a buzz.
German engineering company DS-Plan aided architect Eckhard Gerber in designing the structure, which uses a 197-foot roof turbine and 161,459 square feet of solar panels to generate electricity. In addition, a literal island of solar panels in the sea next to the tower provides an additional 182,986 square feet of solar panels. They plan to extract hydrogen from the sea water using excess electricity gained during the day when the solar panels are most active. The hydrogen then will be used as reserve power at night.
To reduce electricity usage, they designed the building to act "like a thermos flask", cooling when hot and retaining heat when cold. Among the many technologies used in the building are new vacuum glazed windows that prevent 2/3 less heat from entering than other windows. To cool the building, a few different systems are used in tandem. Air slits in the building will allow air to be sucked out via "negative pressure created by winds breaking along the tower." Simultaneously fresh air, cooled by seawater and cooling units in the building's cellar, will be pumped into the rest of the building through ducts. Even the ducts are modified, made transparent to reveal gardens hung on the inside. Instead of regular air conditioning, cooled water is run in pipelines under the ceiling of every floor cooling "gently without unpleasant air currents."
Despite the positive feedback from the investment community, the thing that may stop this tower from going up is that no one really knows if it will work. Gerber is unfazed though, noting that investors "have the greatest faith in German engineering."
Although skyscrapers are not generally environmentally friendly, there is little that can stop these from being built in the economic powerhouses of the Middle East. At least if this "Energy Tower" is going to be made, it will be greener than existing towers, setting an example and making it easier and more feasible for buildings in the future to follow suit .
Via: Spiegel Online
Found at: MetaEfficient
written by Tom Stohlman, May 16, 2007
written by Adam, May 17, 2007
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