Energy efficiency has not been high on the design agenda. For example, Dubai Modern High School, catering exclusively for Indian nationalities, is running at just over 5 MW. Stone calls this "a serious amount of power", even for a school that operates 365 days a year, with no summer shutdown period.
That said, staff at the 21 000 m2, 1800-pupil Wellington International School have set up a competition between schools to monitor energy bills. The primary years have monitors to turn off lights and smartboards.
While all the schools have copious amounts of daylight, it tends to come in where the architect has chosen to put the windows. There's no obvious attempt at daylight optimisation (and in any case the electric lighting seems to be on everywhere, all the time). As one teacher put it: "We're so used to it being sunny that the one day when it's cloudy the school looks really dark..."
Dubai schools are going up in a part of the world where speed of build is paramount. There's only a certain amount that can be done in the time available. As one engineer said, "if you tried to tick every box here, you'd still be building it. Or, being Dubai, built, torn down and built again."
"As long as you're moving forward here, you're doing well. As soon as you find a solution, you grab it, because if you don't, you'll be six months behind schedule immediately."
BSRIA thanks GEMS Education for its help in researching this article.
BSRIA provides independent and accredited building compliance services for new and exisiting buildings. For more information, contact BSRIA:
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