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Civil-Comp Proceedings
ISSN 1759-3433
CCP: 91
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping, L.F. Costa Neves and R.C. Barros
Paper 108

An Application Model for Green Building Implementation: The Civil Engineer's Role

N.S. Al-Kaabi, H.D. Imran, A.A. Al-Harmoudi, A.S. Al-Maamari, I.N. Al-Amirah and B.N. Rajab

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UAE University, Al-Ain, Abu-Dhabi

Full Bibliographic Reference for this paper
N.S. Al-Kaabi, H.D. Imran, A.A. Al-Harmoudi, A.S. Al-Maamari, I.N. Al-Amirah, B.N. Rajab, "An Application Model for Green Building Implementation: The Civil Engineer's Role", in B.H.V. Topping, L.F. Costa Neves, R.C. Barros, (Editors), "Proceedings of the Twelfth International Conference on Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering Computing", Civil-Comp Press, Stirlingshire, UK, Paper 108, 2009. doi:10.4203/ccp.91.108
Keywords: green buildings, sustainability, civil engineers role, UAE, LEED, building rating, construction industry.

Green building is a relatively new concept that has spread world wide out of human concerns for the environment and the need to sustain the planet. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is in the centre of a region that is experiencing a significant boom in the construction industry, but at the same time is faced with the challenge of the fast depletion of their natural resources. The UAE founded its Green Building Council (GBC) less than three years ago to facilitate, implement, and design for a sustainable environment in the UAE. The UAE green building rating system is a modified version of the original Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system originally used and applied in the USA. The Emirates GBC has added more point to water efficiency category when evaluating any building in the UAE to account for the scarce water resources in this county. While organizations and initiatives have been established in the UAE and worldwide, a lot is yet to be accomplished.

The construction industry is a fragmented industry by nature because of that applying a relatively new initiative will add to that fragmented nature of this industry. Different project participants, particularly different engineering disciplines, exist in any construction site and participate at different levels of the project in the design, implementation and construction of the project. For green buildings, especially when one is considering an existing building, engineers play different roles. A simplified matrix that outlines the different roles expected from different engineers was compiled based on the input of the Emirates Green Building Council.

This paper concentrated on the roles that civil engineers play when transforming an existing building to a green one and a list of possible roles has been established with their corresponding LEED possible points. Two roles or design options have been selected and implemented on an office building in the UAE. The design and configuration of two systems which are believed to raise LEED certification of an existing building by 15 points in total have been considered. First, a waste water treatment unit capable of recycling gray water from the selected building has been designed with all its components and configuration. Second, a green roof has been proposed with its vegetation, soil type, and irrigation system. The structural loads of the building were also checked. Finally, a cost estimate for the two alternatives was performed to provide a cost basis for such solutions.

This paper illustrated an application model that civil engineers in particular could follow to transform an existing building to a green one. While the design solutions proposed will not guarantee that a building will be certified as green, the two solutions combined are equivalent to the 15 LEED points on the UAE green building certification scale. Despite the fact that this model follows UAE standards and models of application, it can still be applied with minor modifications to any building of similar nature.

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