Dubai's 3D printed 'green homes' to save energy, cut down costs


Dubais 3D printed green homes to save energy, cut down costs

Dubai - This is what future homes in Dubai will look like.


Sherouk Zakaria

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Published: Mon 3 Apr 2017, 6:10 PM

Last updated: Mon 3 Apr 2017, 9:02 PM

Watch out for houses that cool themselves during hot summer and windows that generate solar power, if you happen to be in Dubai in coming years.
As Dubai aims for a sustainable future, buildings are expected to change shape and structure in coming years.
In 2030, 25 per cent of Dubai's buildings will be 3D printed, for which the city is teaming up with Russian-based Renca and US-based Solar Bankers to develop houses of the future.
The concept is 3D printed walls of eco-friendly geopolymer cement that will cut carbon emissions by 10 times, which was displayed during the Future Cities Show.
The low-carbon dioxide concrete overcomes the conventional building materials through having fire resistance, salt and acid resistance, thermal insulation and durability.
With thermal insulation, the need of ACs in buildings will be 60 per cent less during the hot summer given that homes will cool themselves, said Marina Dudnikova of Renca.
"Key challenges in the UAE are the building fire cases and spending huge amounts of money on ACs. The concept we are presenting solves these problems," said Dudnikova, noting that low use of cooling systems will reduce residents' electricity bills.
The company is teaming up with Dubai Municipality as part of second cycle of Dubai Future Accelerators that unites government entities with international private companies to develop breakthrough solutions for public good.
"Cement is one of the main players of global warming. One tonne of cement equals one tonne of carbon dioxide, so having green technology-based cement can hugely contribute to the environment."
There are currently 25,000 ongoing construction projects in Dubai that consume 10 million tonnes of cement per year and emit the same amount of carbon di oxode (CO2). If 2 per cent of these buildings were 3D wprinted with eco-friendly geopolymer concrete, CO2 emissions will be reduced by 180,000 tonnes per year, an amount that 1.3 million hectares of forest can consume per year.
Andrey Dudnikov, CEO of Renca said 3D printing will save construction costs, time and manpower since it will all be the work of automatic machinery with green technology cement being its ink.  
"Traditional building methods take a lot of time, require heavy upfront capital investments while creating a huge amount of pollution," he said.
"Imagine a clean and safe construction site with no waste, where a house is finished in days instead of months. This is the future of construction and the future is now," said Dudnikov.
He added that an MoU is expected to be signed with Dubai Municipality to get work started soon.
Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (Dewa) is developing more environment-friendly solutions with Solar Bankers. Aside Dewa's work on installing solar panels on house rooftops as part of its Shams Dubai initiative, now construction materials will generate solar energy. 
Dr Carlo Maragliano, chief technology officer at Solar Bankers, said transparent films will be installed in future windows to generate solar energy. "So your windows will generate energy without you even knowing," he said.
The solar modules, designed specifically to tackle hot and humid weather of UAE, are 30 per cent more efficient and 50 per cent less costly. Maragliano said the modules are also self-cleaning. The UAE is currently spending over $100 billion per year to subsidise electricity, but what is aimed to achieve is producing electricity at a lower cost, which can be done through solar solutions.

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