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Low Carbon Design: Implementation of BIM to revitalise sustainability back to Kuwait

For years, Kuwait’s climate has been hea6ng up steadily. According to World Meteorological Organiza6on, the summer months of Kuwait would frequently reach 50 degrees Celsius and a record temperature of 54 degrees Celsius (WMO 2016). Globally, the construc6on industry contributes to 35% of global CO2 emissions and 30% of the greenhouse gases (AlSanad 2015).The construc6on industry contributes greatly towards unsustainable development, as well as economy and the environment (AlSanad 2015). The Middle East is one of the fastest developing countries in the world; however, it is the slowest one in implemen6ng sustainable construc6on prac6ces (Ismael and Shealy 2018). Kuwait contributes 53% more carbon emissions per capita than the United States because Kuwait relies heavily on energy intensive desalina6on to produce potable water and 85% of the electricity costs are funded. Addi6onally, over the past five years Kuwait’s construc6on industry doubled their annual landfill waste (AlSanad 2015). Compared to the surrounding Arab na6ons, Kuwait holds the lowest commitment to sustainable construc6on (Ismael and Shealy 2018).

 

Kuwait’s over reliance on oil con6nues to play a role in construc6on and urban landscape which reshaped the design of modern Kuwait City from the ground up. During 1952 Bri6sh urban planners had ideas to demolish the old mud-brick homes and sea rock homes which adapted to Kuwait’s local climate, and replaced mud-bricks and sea rock homes with more Western no6ons of what an urban environment must look like; therefore, introducing concrete (Michaelson 2017). Kuwait’s sea rock homes had the advantage of cooling the hot air during summer, and would withstand against heavy rains and dust. Today, Kuwait structures are mainly concrete. However, during the 1950’s Kuwait had a master plan of implemen6ng Ebenezer Howard’s Garden city which was a method of urban planning which self-contained communi6es are surrounded by greenbelts allowing proportionate area of residences, industry, and agriculture (AlSanad 2015). Over 6me the garden city movement was abandoned and Kuwait went through a dras6c transforma6on of a grid system where cars powered by petrol had to navigate through the highways of Kuwait (Michaelson 2017).

 

The figure above shows the diagram of the Ebenezer Howard’s Garden city plan (Michaelson 2017).

 

An alternative to the large, glass-clad structures which rely on con6nuous air condi6oning is a
tradi6onal Persian windcatcher tower cladded in terraco_a with windows that face away from
the sun (Michaelson 2017). The towers a_ract in the air from outside, channeling it across a
pool of water located at ground level which allows the en6re building to be cooled through a
central courtyard. The windcatcher tower has been used for years tradi6onally as it has been a
sustainable structure environmentally in the Middle East. The windcatcher design has been
abandoned in today’s modernism as society relies heavily on air condi6oning (Ismael and Shealy
2018).

 

 
 

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ava At 08:34 AM On July 1, 2021

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