Green firm slams "refrigerator in oven" building
by John Bambridge
A green building expert has slammed construction in the region, highlighting that the integrity of building envelopes in residential and commercial buildings is one of the least contested and lowest cost paths to sustainable construction, but that implementation remains utterly lacking in practice.
“In this harsh climate, compounded by globally rising temperatures, we are building refrigerators in an oven,” says William Whistler, MD of Green Building Solutions Int. “This is having a huge impact on buildings and is extremely detrimental in terms of energy and human health.”
Notably, while concrete is not necessarily weakened by moisture, fragile building envelopes that allow moisture to pass from one space to another can present as much of a problem as heat flow.
Whistler explains: “In my work, I find examples all the time of the consequences of building envelopes that are not up to the task. I saw a job recently where residents hadn’t moved in yet and they already have water condensing on the floor because of the envelope.”
The result is an inefficient costly situation, where building envelopes are either haemorrhaging energy or moisture, or are failing completely and requiring upgrades and reinstallation, particularly as temperatures rise.
“Whistler adds: “The impact of having proper envelopes, especially in the GCC, is massive both in terms of the resources and type of materials we use in construction, and the savings that come from not expending the time, energy, and materials to build poorly designed envelopes in the first place.”
This call to action comes ahead of this year’s Middle East Concrete event, which will in part focus on the need to develop proper envelopes and protect concrete and exterior walls from the elements – a situation exacerbated by rising global temperatures.
Whistler hopes that his comments help people to recognise the opportunity to improve standards within the built environment and as a strategy to combat climate change and towards sustainability, and will be speaking at one of 54 free certified seminars on a broad range of topics at the event.
Middle East Concrete is co-located with PMV Live at The Big 5 show running from 23-26 November.