Build the future

Samsung C&T is developing the 'zero energy' houses of the future
Build the future
Gerhard Hope
Published: 11 December 2012 - 8:01 p.m.
By: Gerhard Hope

With many developers in Dubai, in particular, it has pretty much been a take-it-or-leave-it approach when it comes to delivery of units.

We have all heard about the cries of dismay from disgruntled investors when they took delivery of their units after parting with some serious cash, only to discover substantial deviations from the plans and designs and/or different finishes.

Of course, this was during the heyday, when delivery was the only acceptable mantra; we now live in a different world, as it were, where notable developers like Emaar are championing quality projects, and reaping the rewards as a result.

In this issue we take a look at how Samsung C&T Engineering & Construction Group, a major builder of apartment complexes in South Korea, approaches the housing sector. CW was fortunate enough to recently visit the contractor’s Residential Performance Research Centre and Green Tomorrow pilot house project, both on the outskirts of Seoul.

What is interesting about the South Korean market is that companies like Samsung brand their apartments. If you are in South Korea, Raemian is a well-known and respected brand that is also much sought-after.

Samsung, of course, is well aware of this brand equity, and invests a considerable amount of money and intensive research into ensuring that Raemian apartments stay ahead of the game.

Green Tomorrow is a fully-functioning house deploying an intricate web of renewable and sustainable technologies, with the aim of producing a house that is ‘zero energy’ rated, meaning that it produces all the energy it needs.

Samsung C&T anticipates the commercial roll-out of ‘zero energy’ Raemian apartments as early as next year, and is already planning to extend it further to commercial and industrial buildings.

Interestingly, in this issue we also feature one of the latest sustainable buildings in the UAE, and that is the new Standard Chartered headquarters in Downtown Dubai.

From the fins on the façade that radiate heat, to the use of high-performance glass and passive design techniques, this building aims to make the work environment as comfortable and efficient as possible.

The main contractor, Brookfield Multiplex, states that this involved extensive collaboration between the professional team in order to achieve the LEED certification for core-and-shell and fit-out that the building managed – no small feat, and surely a ‘green’ benchmark for future such buildings.

Samsung C&T notes that a project like Green Tomorrow is more expensive than a traditional building, but that the affordability scales are likely to be tipped by 2015 as ‘green’ markets mature and as economies of scale render sustainable technologies more cost-effective and ubiquitous.

At the moment, buildings like the Standard Chartered headquarters and Green Tomorrow are the exception rather than the norm, when we should be building sustainability into everything, from single villas to mighty high-rise towers.

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