Abu Dhabi: the eco-friendly house will soon be a reality
The house with most eco-friendly properties in the world soon will be a reality in Masdar city. The exterior will look like a normal villa, but who live in will notice a substantial drop in their utility bills as the villa is expected to use a quarter of the energy and 35 per cent less water compared with the average Abu Dhabi household.
In fact, the design includes water and energy-saving technologies in the villa. The villas will be constructed at Masdar City, but they could be built later anywhere in the UAE.
The eco-friendly house is still a prototype and it is designed to those who understand the importance of energy and water saving.
Energy in the average household is considered wasted only when a device is consuming it without purpose, for example lights left on when a home is empty.
The Smart Home Energy Management System research project, led by the Masdar Institute, is presently testing intelligent IT systems to manage that. The system learns the habits of the residents so that it can reduce energy consumption such as air conditioning while the people who live in the house are working during the day.
Masdar specialists are also studying energy-efficient indoor climate control technologies, known as variable refrigerant flow systems, for the eco-villa project and other residential and commercial real estate.
According to the project manager, cooling in villas is responsible for between 40 and 70% of their energy consumption, therefore a highly energy efficient cooling system is key to achieving low to net zero –energy.
The four-bedroom “eco-villa” is designed to consume 97 kilowatt-hours per square metre per year without solar panels, which is 72% less energy than older villas in Abu Dhabi typically consume, and 46% less than newer properties.
There is also a prototype version, which has solar panels on the roof that will allow a total reduction of energy consumption.
According to Dr Muhammad Asif, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia, environmentally friendly house is a very good idea, but change mindsets it is also important. In fact sustainability issue is still the least-addressed issue in GCC countries.
Moreover the technological innovation alone can only partially help; about 15 to 30% of energy could be saved by good housekeeping or changes of attitude.