Computer-controlled sun-screen systems – big hit for natural cooling in desert buildings
Solar cells and other sustainable sources of energies are widely used as efficient cooling and heating systems in buildings across the world, but two new 25-storied buildings in Abu-Dhabi have come up with a unique innovation to help manage building temperatures effectively. The automated sun-screen systems were designed by globally acclaimed architectural powerhouse Aedas. These sun-screen systems are positioned on the periphery of the buildings and are opened and closed depending on the intensity of the sun’s heat.
The sun-screen systems at Al-Bahar buildings have striking similarity to oversized screens comprising origami triangles. The sun-screens are positioned at a distance of two meters from the buildings’ periphery on a frame that is similar to a “mashrabiya,” the Arab equivalent of shade-producing nets that are a common place in Middle Eastern architecture. The mashrabiya like frame and the triangles cover the majority of the building’s outer facade barring the apex of the towers. The umbrella-shaped triangles have fiber glass coating upon them and are digitally programmed to open and close depending on the sun’s glare, to help shade the building’s interior from getting heated. As the sun moves further downwards along its daily trajectory and the intensity of its heat diminishes, the triangles shift away from its path and the devices are shut automatically as dusk approaches.
As a result of the effective functioning of its giant screens, the Abu-Dhabi Investment Council owned Al-Bahar Towers, are expected to drastically lessen their dependence on air conditioners in comparison to their counterparts. Another novel innovation brought about these sun-screen systems includes the discarding of heavily tinted windows and artificial interior lighting and replacing them with inlets for receiving higher levels of natural light inside. Photovoltaic cells, positioned on the south-facing roofs of either tower, continue to generate roughly five percent of the buildings’ total energy requirements. The project which is slated to be completed in the next few months has quite recently won the prestigious award conferred by the Council on tall Buildings and Urban Habitats rewarding sustainability in architectural entrepreneurship across the globe.