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“We’re building refrigerators in an oven”, green building expert warns

Building envelopes said to be key to GCC sustainability

‘Always-on’ air conditioned living among top challenges

William Whistler to speak on exterior walls, envelopes at MEC

Improving the integrity of building envelopes in residential and commercial buildings is one of the least contested, generally agreed on, and lowest cost paths to sustainable construction, according to a leading expert on green building.

Speaking ahead of his participation at this year’s Middle East Concrete event, William Whistler, Managing Director of Green Building Solutions International, has said the need to develop proper envelopes and protect concrete and exterior walls from the elements is a situation that is being exacerbated by rising global temperatures.

“In this harsh climate in which temperatures are rising globally, our 24-hour, 365-day-a-year air conditioned living means we are building refrigerators in an oven. This is having a huge impact on buildings and is extremely detrimental in terms of energy and human health,” he said.

“The impact of having proper envelopes, especially in the GCC, is also massive in terms of the amount of the resources and the type of materials we use in construction and the savings that come from not expending the time, energy, and materials to build poorly designed envelopes in the first place,” he said.

While concrete is not necessarily weakened by moisture, concrete walls and floors slow the passage of heat moving between the inside and outside, and Whistler explained that building envelopes are the elements of the outer shell of a building that help to maintain dry, heated, or cooled indoor environments.

An important takeaway he wants visitors to the show to leave with, is the huge benefits that improving building envelopes can have across the industry.

“In my work, I find examples all the time of the consequences of building envelopes that are not up to the task. I saw a job recently where residents hadn’t moved in yet and they already have water condensing on the floor because of the envelope,” he said.

As a strategy towards sustainability, Whistler added that he hoped his comments helped people to recognise the opportunity to improve standards within the built environment to combat climate change.

Whistler’s session will be one of 54 free certified seminars on a broad range of topics that will be available to all visitors to Middle East Concrete. 

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