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Sharjah Sustainable City aims to save 50% on electricity for residents

Variable Refrigerant Flow systems, rooftop solar PV systems and smart home auto-mation to deliver on energy-reduction objectives, developer says.

Sharjah Sustainable City said it plans to save at least 50% on electricity for residents, including on cooling costs, compared to conventional housing. Speaking to Climate Control Middle East, Yousif Ahmed Al-Mutawa, CEO, Sharjah Sustainable City, said: “We have implemented the latest in smart home technology and sustainability innovations across the project, and a key component of this is having the right HVAC systems in place.”

The villas, Al-Mutawa added, are equipped with a rooftop solar PV system, and include thermally insulated construction materials and windows, smart home automation, water-saving appliances and energy-saving electrical devices. He pointed out that the air conditioning for villas will be equipped with variable refrigerant flow systems, which he said, unlike conventional chiller-based systems, maximise energy efficiencies and vary the degree of cooling in certain areas. He added that presence-sensors can control air conditioning through the villa’s home automation system.

Sharjah Sustainable City, Al-Mutawa said, is intended to uphold and to create a working model for future cities, one that can be replicated all over the world. “The city of the future is not the one that has the most technological innovations, highest connectivity or smartest appliances,” he said. “It is the one that is able to combine the right mix of innovations and apply them intelligently, while also humanising the city.”

Cities like Sharjah Sustainable City, he said, can showcase the high standard of living that sustainable communities can achieve. Such a development project, he said, are a source of encouragement for other developers to follow suit and ensure the future health of our planet and its ecosystems. Al-Mutawa added that air quality is a big component in the equation. Vital factors, like health, wellbeing and the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) are incorporated in the villas in the project, he said. The villas have natural ventilation, whereas the apartments and commercial units are equipped with fresh-air-handling units (FAHUs) and CO2 sensors.

Commenting on heat-reduction measures in place, Al-Mutawa said that the orientation of the villa’s is such that they avoid the direct glare of the sun. This effect, is complemented through maximising shading. So, all south-facing facades are closed, in order to reduce heat gain, he said. Al-Mutawa added that the villas also have highly insulated, UV-reflective walls, while the roofs and windows reduce air conditioning loads, electricity power consumption, and operational carbon. For the outdoors, pavers with high Solar Reflective Index (SRI) are used to reduce heat gain and thermal discomfort, he said. To provide context, he said, current Green Building regulations and specifications in Dubai require an insulation value (U) of 0.30 for roofs, 0.57 for walls and 2.10 for glazing, whereas Sharjah Sustainable City can achieve insulation values of 0.18 for roofs, 0.26 for walls and 1.20 for glazing.