And Dubai has yet another record on its plate – The Change Initiative is the world’s most sustainable commercial building scoring 107 out of a possible 110 on the LEED Platinum Rating for Commercial Interiors. They were also awarded the Green Building of the Year by EmiratesGBC in 2014. This 4,000 square meter retail space houses more than 5000 sustainable solutions along with a café and event spaces. While these are impressive numbers, we wanted to look into how ‘sustainable’ the structure hosting all of this is.
Located in Al Barsha on Sheikh Zayed Road, this modest looking building has incorporated an innovative and sensible approach to design and construction. Previously another building existed on the same site. When designing the Change Initiative, the founders decided not to tear down the existing structure and incorporate as much as possible into the new building. A large part of the structural frame remained along with reusing materials within whenever possible, such as glass panels.
View of the entrance
The entrance inside
Most of the efficient products for building systems such as water saving faucets and flush systems and Bokashi bins have been installed within the building to increase awareness and display the potential of these products. The in-house café, The Taste Initiative, adopts clever initiatives to reduce food waste. The menu is designed to make sure that the portion size is adequate and limits left-overs. Inside the kitchen, left-over food waste as well as kitchen scraps first enter a de-watering system that reduces the volume of the food by more than 50%. The compressed food waste is then transferred to Bokashi bins where it breaks downs into compost. This is used for the landscaping on site or distributed among interested staff members.
The solar panels and solar water heaters on the roof, along with the use of skylight tubes are a demonstration of some of the energy efficient systems adopted. Skylight tubes are one of the most eco-friendly lighting solutions that can be easily installed in low to medium rise buildings. As shown in the graphics below, skylight tubes disperse light from the sun within the interior of the building without adding to the heat gain unlike traditional skylights. With ample sunshine in the U.A.E. for most of the year, this is an ideal system to save energy consumed by interior lighting.
Clockwise from top
Concept sketch for Skylight Tube
Solar Collector Dome on the roof
Internal room lit by the Skylight Tube
Solar Water Heaters on the roof Dehydrator in the kitchen
Among other goals, the Change Initiative is also involved in raising awareness and educating people on environmentally sustainable solutions and building systems. When you drop by, be sure to tour the space and don’t miss out on the remarkable model of the building they have on display.