SOLAR DECATHLON MIDDLE EAST 2018 - Team VIRTUe

 
SOLAR DECATHLON MIDDLE EAST 2018 - Team VIRTUe
SOLAR DECATHLON MIDDLE EAST 2018
          Team VIRTUe
SOLAR DECATHLON MIDDLE EAST 2018 - Team VIRTUe
VIRTUe    PROJECT MANUAL #5

 4.1 ARCHITECTURE & URBAN
                   REPORT

VIRTU/e
                              11
SOLAR DECATHLON MIDDLE EAST 2018 - Team VIRTUe
VIRTUe              PROJECT MANUAL #5

                                                            the risk of losing community feeling, social cohesion
4.1.1 INTRODUCTION
                                                            and emotional connection to the city. (Andriessen &
In this report, all topics regarding the urban and
                                                            Tax, 2017; Alawadi, 2016) These are problems that fast
architectural design of LINQ will be discussed. Prior
                                                            growing cities all over the world are dealing with.
to the design process, VIRTUe conducted an extensive
analysis of the history and current situation of Dubai,
focused on improving social interaction and connection
between inhabitants of the city by making interventions
in the built environment. The research consisted of a
literature review and interviews with expats in Dubai
and the outcomes were used to shape the concept and
the design of LINQ.                                         Figure 2: Growth of Dubai from 1973 till 2011

                                                            4.1.3 LINQ, CONNECTED TO IMPROVE
4.1.2 URBAN ANALYSIS
                                                            With our concept LINQ, connected to improve, we
Within only 60 years, Dubai has grown from a picturesque
                                                            want to propose a solution for these problems of
Middle East town to a mega city with almost 3 million
                                                            disconnection in cities. We built a home and designed an
people and a population that consists for 91% of expats.
                                                            urban concept that connects people and technologies to
(Alawadi, 2016; Dubai Statistic Center, n.d.)
                                                            solve environmental, social and economic sustainability
                                                            problems.
                                                            Well-designed neighborhoods are a great means to
                                                            improve happiness, community feeling and the sense of
      91%
                                                            belonging to a city. (Andriessen & Tax, 2017) However,
     expats
                                                            many current neighborhoods in Dubai are not designed
Figure 1: Percentage of expats in Dubai                     to stimulate social interaction among inhabitants.
                                                            Therefore, we think that it is very important to design a
While all this growth provided Dubai with world fame
                                                            built environment that connects people to people.
and a lot of tourism, the fast growth of a city also has
                                                            Additionally, to improve the environmental sustainability
downsides. The freedom, that provides builders with
                                                            of cities, it is of key importance that people understand
lots of opportunities to build interesting mega projects,
                                                            the innovative technologies and ideas around them
resulted in urban sprawl at the edges of the city and the
                                                            and that they interact, personalize and use those
infill of former public spaces, which are very important
                                                            technologies and ideas. Therefore, the connection
for the social sustainability of cities. (Alawadi, 2016)
                                                            between people and technology is the second main
(Dempsey et al, 2009) The city keeps spreading out
                                                            focus point of our design.
over the desert and the distances become larger and
                                                            And finally, it is important to combine all these
larger, which prevents people from walking and cycling
                                                            technologies and ideas in such a way that they
and forces them to travel by car most of the time,
                                                            complement and strengthen each other. This will
which is a less sustainable and more individualistic
                                                            increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the
way of transport. (Jacobs, 1961; Leyden, 2003; Ogaily,
                                                            technologies and it will improve the living conditions of
2015) People drive very long distances to get to their
                                                            the inhabitants. Therefore connecting technologies with
destination, while many of them do not even know their
                                                            each other is the third and last focus point of our design.
neighbors. Additionally, while the population is very
culturally diverse, there is a lot of segregation between
                                                            We are VIRTUe and we design LINQ, connected to
people from different income classes, which creates
                                                            improve.

12
SOLAR DECATHLON MIDDLE EAST 2018 - Team VIRTUe
VIRTUe           PROJECT MANUAL #5

                                                           this LINQ, there are more LINQ buildings present
                                                           in the neighborhood, with different heights and
                                                           public functions on the lower floors. To make the
                                                           neighborhood interesting to stay in and walk through,
                                                           the urban fabric is diverse and dynamic. Community
                                                           facilities and green spaces, like parks, market places
Figure 3: The three focus points of LINQ                   and playgrounds are present to stimulate a healthy and
                                                           social lifestyle. Additionally, there will be a variety of
4.1.4 THE URBAN DESIGN
                                                           houses available people from different backgrounds
Instead of building another neighborhood at the
                                                           and income groups. This diversity of the population will
border of the Dubai, we believe that it would have a
                                                           contribute to the reduction of segregation in the city.
much greater effect if the old parts of the city would
                                                           To decrease the car dependency, options for walking,
be improved. Therefore, we designed an apartment
                                                           cycling and public transport are present. The streets
complex in a renovated a neighborhood in Dubai.
                                                           are narrowed, pedestrian lanes and bicycle paths are
                                                           constructed and arcades and trees are added to provide
                                                           shade for pedestrians and cyclists. Also, small walking
                                                           streets are added for quicker connections. Apart from
                                                           the good public transport connection that connects
                                                           the neighborhood to the rest of Dubai, an electric car
Figure 4: Renovated neighborhood in Dubai                  sharing system is implemented for more efficient car
                                                           use. Cars are parked along the roads and in vertical
In figure 5, one can see a schematic plan of an old
                                                           parking buildings, with facilities on the ground floor,
neighborhood in Dubai, with wide roads and free standing
                                                           because parking lots on ground level form huge barriers
introvert houses. There are many neighborhoods
                                                           in the streetscape, which discourage walkability. For
like this present in the city nowadays. To improve the
                                                           good accessibility, most of the commercials functions
environmental, social and economic sustainability of
                                                           are located in the neighborhood center, but some public
such a neighborhood, we propose several adaptations.
                                                           functions, such as schools and small stores, are spread
                                                           over the neighborhood. The most important aspect of
                                                           the plan is that it is flexible and that the design principles
                                                           can be applied to several different neighborhoods in
                                                           Dubai and in the rest of the world. The result can be

                                                           seen in figures 6, 7 and 8.

Figure 5: Schematic neighborhood in Dubai as it is today

The old buildings are made more energy-efficient by
the addition of solar panels and the neighborhood
is densified by adding a variety of new, sustainable
buildings in-between the old buildings. LINQ, the
apartment complex that we design in more detail, is
one of these new buildings, located in the social and
commercial center of the neighborhood. Apart from
                                                           Figure 6: Schematic neighborhood in Dubai new situation

                                                                                                                   13
SOLAR DECATHLON MIDDLE EAST 2018 - Team VIRTUe
VIRTUe                 PROJECT MANUAL #5

                                                                   All floors of LINQ are connected by the curved green
                                                                   atrium, which serves as a meeting place and vertical
                                                                   garden for the inhabitants. All functions of the apartment
                                                                   complex are connected to this atrium. On the ground
                                                                   floor, a supermarket, restaurant, sports room and
                                                                   shared bicycle shed are located. The first floor houses
                                                                   a child playroom, a small theatre, a laundry room and a
                                                                   shared kitchen for the inhabitants of LINQ. The second
                                                                   to fifth floors house the apartments and the top floor
                                                                   contains the mechanical installations and an urban
Figure 7: Birdseye rendering (see appendix A)
                                                                   farm. In the atrium and the shared spaces, inhabitants of
                                                                   LINQ and the neighborhood are connected to each other.
                                                                   Three structural and mechanical cores run through the
                                                                   building. In these cores, the technologies are connected
                                                                   to each other. The inhabitants are connected to the
                                                                   technologies in the core modules by means of a smart
                                                                   system. The inhabitants of LINQ will be diverse in times
                                                                   of age, household composition (single, couple, family)
                                                                   and income (middle- to high income). All the households
                                                                   have their own private space, but they also share a lot of
                                                                   facilities. Because these different people have different
                                                                   daily routines, LINQ will be used throughout the whole
Figure 8: Eye level rendering (see appendix A)                     day. This minimizes the presence of empty spaces and
                                                                   therefore it maximizes the efficient use of space.
4.1.5 LINQ, THE APARTMENT
COMPLEX
LINQ is a small, human scale apartment complex with
eleven apartments and many shared spaces for the
inhabitants of the apartment complex and the rest of
the neighborhood. Minimum energy loss is determined
                                                                   Figure 9: Schematic section of LINQ the apartment complex
by the shape of the building. The roof and south façade
are tilted 15 degrees to provide for roofed PV panel               4.1.6 LINQ, AT THE SDME
efficiency and to create a shadowed south façade in the            To fit the context and climate of the city of Dubai, the
summer months. (see figure 9 and 10)                               home that we build at the Solar Decathlon Middle East

Figure 10: Section of the apartment complex in the neighborhood (see appandix A)

14
SOLAR DECATHLON MIDDLE EAST 2018 - Team VIRTUe
VIRTUe                      PROJECT MANUAL #5

is a cut-out of the apartment building, representing                   on every level. In LINQ at the SDME, a cut-out of this
one entire apartment on the top floor, a section of a                  curved green atrium is built. It is both the entrance and
neighbouring apartment and part of the curved green                    exit and connects the home to the Solar Hai. The ground
atrium. (see figure 11). All three parts of the concept                level curve is facing north west, the roof level is facing
of LINQ are specifically placed areas inside the team’s                north. Next to receiving guests and visitors, it is a place
lot, to show as much as possible of its bigger urban                   intended to inform, talk and discuss sustainability.
design. The people to people space is the curved green                 Different species of plants are used in order to create
space, people to technology is the apartment itself and                diversity in flora. Furthermore, sustainable finishes are
technology to technology is the core in the middle of the              applied like 3d-printed concrete from the Eindhoven
apartment.                                                             University of Technology, Neowood and Resysta (a
                                                                       material made out of rice, salt and mineral oils). The
This apartment is also designed to fit the context                     atrium is directed northwest and is partly shaded by the
of the Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018, in which it                   apartment. It can be directly seen from the entrance of
respects the wishes of the public. An important aspect                 the Solar Hai, in which the curved green atrium will play
is visibility, that visitors immediately are drawn to the              a role in drawing visitors. The entrance of the apartment
home and once in the home, instantly know where to go.                 is accessible through a curved ramp. Visitors who have
Another important aspect is contact, that visitors come                done the tour through the apartment, are led back to
into contact with either each other or VIRTUe members                  the atrium. In this way acquainted and unacquainted
to talk about sustainability.                                          visitors can meet.
                                                                                                                               +4460

The atrium
The binding factor in the apartment complex is the                                                                             +3245

curved green atrium. It has a vertical garden to improve
the quality of the living environment             and mental                                                                   0

health. (Van den Berg et al., 2016) As said before, it
                                                                                                                               -358

                                                                                                                               -810

connects the outside street with the shared functions
                                                                       Figure 12: Elevation of the green wall in the atrium
and ultimately, the apartments. The vertical garden is
curved horizontally and vertically to achieve a more
garden-like situation. Because the curved atrium                       The core
changes     continuously     throughout     the    apartment           In order to make home technologies and installations
complex, the position and size of the curves are different             work more efficient, all systems come together in the

Figure 11: The three areas (f.l.t.r. people to people, people to technology and technology to technology)

                                                                                                                              15
SOLAR DECATHLON MIDDLE EAST 2018 - Team VIRTUe
VIRTUe                                            PROJECT MANUAL #5

cores that run through the apartment building. They are                                     technologies and installations among inhabitants and
more efficient because losses due to distribution are                                       the effects of them on the environment. In other homes
minimized. The cores are the centre of all electrical,                                      nowadays, most home technology is hidden.
plumbing and HVAC networks. The networks lead up
to parts of the home which need to be connected. In                                         Apartments are bound by the perimeters of the
LINQ at the SDME, a single core will form the junction                                      complex’s shape itself and are adjusted to the curves of
point of all technology. It is located in the centre of                                     the green atrium inside. This causes all apartments to
the apartment and is provided with build-in kitchen,                                        have a different floorplan. On the contrary, the concept
technical room, bathroom and home entertainment                                             of all apartments is the same: continuous space
unit. All ducts, pipes and wires go through the core.                                       around a core. This concept allows space to be used for
To view it as a piece of furniture, rather than normal                                      multiple functions. To ensure a comfortable transition
rooms and walls, the entire core is finished off with                                       from the curved green atrium to the residence,
natural grey felt. The inhabitants live around this piece                                   functions are placed from public to private around
of furniture. The corners are circular to make walking                                      the core. Consecutive functions are entering, cooking,
around easier. All recessed parts of the core have a                                        dining, living, bathing and sleeping. The kitchen and the
specific spectrum of green colours. The deeper the                                          bathroom have multiple supply and waste connections
recess, the lighter the use of colour. The bathroom is a                                    and are therefore placed inside the core. In LINQ at
recess and when unused, acts as a corridor to move from                                     the SDME, different tilted walls and roofs are used for
the living room to the bedroom. When the bathroom is                                        both passive energy saving and energy collecting. The
in use, the recess can be closed off from both sides                                        positioning of these constructive elements is based on
and the corridor space can be used as bathroom                                              technical reasoning, but that does not prevent them
space. This multifunctional space is more efficient in                                      from strengthening the design architecturally. Instead
its space usage, thereby contributing to economic and                                       of using walls to divide spaces, different ceilings heights
environmental sustainability. Sustainable materials                                         are used to create a sense of being in one space or the
like felt, low-emission wood plating and stone made                                         other. The south wall contains two large windows. One in
out of pet-bottles are used. Lighting is only placed in                                     the living room and one in the bedroom. A large floor to
recesses. All three rooms have integrated ceiling lights.                                   ceiling window closes the gap between the west wall and
                      NO. IN-301-ISO             SEP.PP. 17. 2018.
                                                                                            the curved green atrium wall. Because of its position,
                                                                                            this window is shaded from the west sun. At night time,
                                       1:25                                                 the resident can make use of the integrated ceiling
                                                                                            lights. The lights can be adapted in strength and colour
                                                                                            temperature. The interior finishes are light in colour,
                                                                                            because finishes with light colours will make the room
                                                                                            look relatively bigger than dark colours. Sustainable
                                                                                            finishes are applied like a cork floor, a white-coloured
                                                                                            aluminium ceiling. White-coloured wooden plates are
                                                                                            used to finish the walls. The exterior façade is covered
                                                                     connec
                                                                      onnected
                                                                            ed to
                                                                                o improve
                                                                                  imp e

                                                                                            with light coloured bio composite panels. Outside air
25   50   100   325
                                                                                            can flow freely under these panels.
Figure 13: Exploded view of the core module (see appendix F)                                The routing in the apartment is very simple. There is
                                                                                            a continuous route through the house, which circles
The apartment                                                                               around the core module. There are no dead-ends, so
The core is located in the centre of the apartment                                          obstructions cannot occur. When entering the hallway
to create more sense and awareness for home                                                 of the apartment, the route follows the transition from

16
SOLAR DECATHLON MIDDLE EAST 2018 - Team VIRTUe
VIRTUe                 PROJECT MANUAL #5

public to private, back to the hallway. The apartment                              and densifying old neighborhoods, while keeping old
tour continues to the neighbours’ apartment and ends                               buildings and construct new, buildings in between is
in the curved green atrium.                                                        new in Dubai. Also, creating walkable neighborhoods
The core is with its felt finishing the most important                             and promoting cycling and public transport within and
piece of “furniture” in the house. It yields the kitchen,                          in between different neighborhoods and city parts are
technical room and all bathroom fixtures. This is all                              ideas that are not yet existing in Dubai on a large scale.
compacted together to make keep oversight in all                                   The following quote of Ogaily (2015) perfectly describes
building installations and to minimize wiring and                                  the goal that we pursue by our urban design choice of
ducting. Architecturally, the design of the appliances                             renovating an old neighborhood instead of building a
and fixtures in the core are based on their accessibility,                         new neighborhood at the border of Dubai: ‘’not to create
since a lot of equipment is included in just little space.                         sustainable places, but to make the places sustainable’’.
The corners are rounded off to make walking around                                 (Ogaily, 2015)
easier. All recessed parts of the core have a specific
spectrum of green colours. The deeper the recess, the                              Another innovative concept for Dubai is that we not only
lighter the use of colour. The bathroom is a recess and                            focus on environmental sustainability, but also on social
when unused, acts as a corridor to move from the living                            and economic sustainability. There already exist many
room to the bedroom. The core module also forms the                                plans to make Dubai more environmentally sustainable
structural core of the apartment, to make sure that the                            by building huge solar parks, but we believe that this
remaining walls can be as light and flexible as possible.                          should not be the only point of focus. The environmentally
 A                                                                     A’
                                                                                   sustainable measures should go hand in hand with for
                                                                       +4460
                                                                                   example enlarging the offer of affordable housing in
                                  1230
                                                                                   the city and mixing locals and expats and people from
                                                                                   different income classes to achieve a more balanced
                                                                       +2460

                                                                                   and social society in the city.
          2610   2410      2340             3230                2250

                                                                       level = 0

                                                                                   With our apartment building concept in which we
                                                                       -282
                                                                       -581
                                                                       -810

                                                                                   combine private and shared spaces we aim to create
                  Atrium          Kitchen          Livingroom
                                                                                   a new way of using spaces and functions in order to
Figure 14: Section of LINQ at the SDME                                             increase social interaction. In short, our concept is
                                                                                   based on creating small, affordable but comfortable
                                                                                   spaces for the private dwellings, while the emphasis
4.1.7 INNOVATION IN URBAN &
                                                                                   lies on the shared spaces. Since the climate of Dubai
ARCHITECTURE                                                                       does not allow for lush outdoor greenery, we created a
New spatial and functional concepts                                                green design within the atrium, where the lush greenery
As mentioned before, the quick growth of Dubai                                     is located in a controlled environment that is protected
resulted in much urban sprawl at the borders of the                                from the heat of the outside. This green design provides
city. While the city is already implementing sustainable                           the people within the atrium with a more comfortable
housing projects, these often come in the form of                                  living environment which also benefits their mental
totally new ‘cities within the city’, which are isolated                           health (Van den Berg et al., 2016).
(sometimes even walled) and often located in the                                   Innovative materials
outskirts of Dubai. An example is ‘The sustainable
city’, a newly built city part that is mainly focused on                           LINQ at the SDME includes a 3D printed concrete bench.
environmental sustainability. Additionally, some old,                              3D printed concrete is the latest innovative way of
central parts of the city are demolished to create space                           making concrete elements. It was originally developed
for new neighborhoods. The concept of renovating                                   and is still heavily researched at Eindhoven University

                                                                                                                                        17
SOLAR DECATHLON MIDDLE EAST 2018 - Team VIRTUe
VIRTUe               PROJECT MANUAL #5

of Technology. This method of printing concrete allows     LED’s that are tunable white which means that the color
us not only to realize organic shapes that cannot be       temperature can be adjusted to improve the comfort
made with conventional methods, but also allows            level for people in Dubai. We will make use of cooler
for a material reduction of 50% during the process         color temperatures in the indoor areas and warmer
(Marijnissen & van der Zee, 2017). For the facade          color temperatures at the outdoor areas, this is done
cladding we use ‘bio composite’ by NPSP. These panels      because lighting can greatly impact the emotions of
are completely made out of organic materials. Next to      the inhabitants and cooler indoor color temperatures
that, they can be fabricated in any shape, allowing us     will help create the feeling of a cooler environment in
to design the panels in such a way that the efficiency     contrast to the heat that is present outdoors. We are
of the shading and cooling of the house is further         also taking into account task based lighting into the
increased. Our wall system is an alternative form of       design to ensure that sufficient illuminance is available
timber platform method. This method uses EPS and           in areas where specific tasks need to be performed. In
Finn joist without plating, which makes it extremely       contrast to traditional luminaire design, the luminaires
light and reduces the amount of wood that the structure    used have been designed as a system that is compatible
would initially have required. The walls can be so         with a direct current infrastructure, thereby expanding
lightweight, because the core module of LINQ absorbs       the lifetime of the products. Furthermore, occupancy
all constructive forces. We designed and built this core   and daylight control strategies are implemented in an
module ourselves, so that it could be prefabricated        effort to further reduce energy consumption.
and it would exactly fit in a container. This makes
shipping and installing on the building site way
easier and cheaper.

Integration of solar system
Due to the passive cooling solutions that are
implemented in the shape of the apartment, the energy
demand for cooling is reduced and less solar panels
are needed. Also, the angle of the roof results in the
maximum yield of solar energy by the solar panels.
Normally, solar panels decrease the aesthetic value of
a house. So instead of placing solar panels randomly on
the roof the photovoltaic technology is integrated into
the roof using the energy roof of ‘Schiebroek’ so that
the roof can be aesthetically pleasing, even with the
PVT system. Because the solar panels are very thin, a
combination with solar collectors (underneath the solar
cells) is possible, which maximizes the use of solar
energy.

Lighting solutions
Lighting influences the way in which a space is
perceived. Lighting in homes is quite functional in
nature. It is important to find a balance between the
energy consumption due to lighting and the expected
welcoming ambience of a home. LINQ will make use of

18
SOLAR DECATHLON MIDDLE EAST 2018 - Team VIRTUe
VIRTUe              PROJECT MANUAL #5

References                                                    environment on city and neighbourhood level (pp. 41).
Alawadi, K. (2016). Rethinking Dubai’s urbanism:
Generating sustainable form-based urban design
strategies for an integrated neighborhood. Cities No 60,
p 353-366. Elsevier.

Dubai Statistic Center. (n.d.). Estimated Population
Number by Nationality –Emirate of Dubai (2016- 2014).
Government of Dubai

Said Zahlan, R. (1978). The origins of the United Arab
Emirates: Political and Social History of the
Trucial States. Routledge Library Editions: Society of
the Middle East.

Salama, S. (2015, 7th of October). Shaikh Rashid,
the father of modern Dubai. Retrieved from          http://
gulfnews.com/news/uae/government/shaikh-rashid-
the-father-of-modern-dubai-      1.1597090

Heijne, S. (2013, 2nd of November). Dubai weer in full
swing na stevige crisis. Retrieved from https://www.
volkskrant.nl/archief/dubai-weer-in-full-swing-na-
stevige-crisis~a3537678/

Dempsey, N., Bramley, G., Power, S., Brown, C. (2009).
The social dimension of sustainable       development:
Defining   urban   social   sustainability.     Sustainable
Development Vol 19, Issue 5,     pp 289-300.

Jacobs, J. (1961). The Death and Life of Great American
Cities. Random House

Leyden, K.M. (2003). Social Capital and the Built
Environment: The Importance of Walkable
Neighborhoods. American Public Health Association.

Ogaily, A. (2015). Urban Planning in Dubai: Cultural and
Human Scale Context. Hill International.
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

Andriessen, L. & Tax, S. (2017) Design guidelines to
improve social interaction and connection          between
expats in Dubai by making interventions in the built

                                                                                                                19
VIRTUe    PROJECT MANUAL #5

     4.2 ENGINEERING AND CONSTRUCTION
                               REPORT

         VIRTU/e
20
VIRTUe                PROJECT MANUAL #5

                                                             space where ducts and pipes are entering or exiting the
4.2.1 INTRODUCTION
                                                             house.
As stated in our main vision, LINQ is all about
connecting. One of the three aspects is connecting and
                                                             Directly above the foundation module, in the middle of
integrating all the different systems in the house. The
                                                             LINQ, the central technical module is located. On top of
design of the engineering and construction system lets
                                                             this, another steel module is placed which is bearing roof
all implemented systems work together to make the
                                                             loads. Essential is their structural function, providing
house as efficient as possible.
                                                             stability of the entire structure, as core of the house.
                                                             All horizontal forces are guided to the module by the
After building LINQ in Dubai at the competition, the
                                                             rigid panels in the walls, roofs and floor. Connected to
house will be rebuilt as an educational exhibition in
                                                             the foundation through the floor by steel threaded rods,
the Netherlands. Therefore, the house is designed to
                                                             the technical module is transferring the loads to the
endure both climates. Next to the challenge of designing
                                                             foundation. These modules are completely integrated in
a sustainable self-sufficient solar energy house, the
                                                             the architecture, since they are providing a clear route
competition in Dubai comes with extra challenges like
                                                             through the house and finished as closets.
the climate differences, transporting the entire house
by sea and the short building time. Together with
                                                             Next, all structural floor, wall and roof elements
maximum reduction of material usage and enforcing
                                                             consist of I-profiled Finnjoist timber beams which are
efficient use of materials, innovative building strategy
                                                             40% lighter than traditional timber beams. Together
lead us to the solutions for challenges stated above. The
                                                             with Biofoam Inside insulation in between the beams
core principles regarding construction and engineering
                                                             and plywood finishing the panels are integrating and
design of LINQ are reduction, efficiency and innovation.
                                                             combining the advantages of the different materials. The
                                                             Finnjoist beams provide the strength and the Biofoam
4.2.2 STRUCTURAL DESIGN                                      Inside is the pressure-resistant insulation and prevents
Multiple solutions to keep to the core principles are        buckling of the beams. By applying plywood plates on
applied in the current structural design. First, the         top of the Finnjoist beams, the panels will work as rigid
foundation is designed to be as flexible for demounting,     plane elements which benefits the stability of the house.
transporting and rebuilding, which means it can easily       Using this box principle, which leads to more equal load
be disconnected into manageable parts. Consisting of         distribution, the big cantilever of the canopy roof can be
steel beams, footings and central foundation module,         constructed. In addition, each panel is designed to fit
the system is providing stability and functions as a solid   the standard shipping containers.
base for the house.

Integrated with the architectural and urban concept
of LINQ, the footings are specifically not placed at
the edges of the house. Foundation beams are also
decreasing in height towards the edges of the house.
These aspects are designed to show the fact LINQ is an
                                                             Figure 1: Basic construction of envelope panels, example of
apartment within an urban apartment building.
                                                             typical wall section.

Each footing can be adjusted in height, for easy             Then, the sloped roof and canopy roof of LINQ are
adaptation and installment of the foundation level           connected by one timber beam, the ‘north beam’. This
regardless of the subsurface. This module fits in total      beam is designed to transfer all loads from the roofs
in a shipping container and is therefore also providing      to the modules. It consists out of Kerto LVL Q-panels,

                                                                                                                   21
VIRTUe          PROJECT MANUAL #5

which are strong, dimensionally stable and able to have   technical modules are connected to the foundation. All
holes for equipment in the house.                         duct- and pipework underneath the floor is then placed
                                                          and connected. One of the most important parts of the
Innovations in Structural Design                          house is the central technical module, locating almost
To summarize the innovation aspects, the applied          all installations and systems including the kitchen
box principle in all floor, walls and roofs elements is   and bathroom. It is designed to benefit transportation
innovative design because it reduces the amount of        of the house and to reduce the building time at
material and combines the characteristics of applied      the competition. At the test phase of LINQ in the
materials to create a lightweight and efficient load      Netherlands all systems, installations and equipment
bearing structure. The technical module is used as        already have been installed in the module.
center of the house, locating kitchen, bathroom and
technical room and therefore integrating structure,       When the rest of the floor elements are placed and
systems and architecture. Both modules are designed       connected to the foundation, the walls are placed.
to fit in shipping containers for transport. Almost all   The south wall is tilted and therefore has a critical
systems and complex connections are installed within      connection with the other elements. The north
or around the module, which makes all other structural    beam and roofs are placed upon the module. In the
elements rather simple and fast to install.               meantime, connection work between systems and
                                                          ducts is done to complete installation work. The house
The innovative Finnjoist timber I-beam consists of        is finished with bio composite façade panels, façade
an upper and lower flange made of Kerto laminated         finishes made of rice, salt and oil and a double curved
veneer lumber (LVL), which is incredibly strong due to    green wall. In Dubai and other large cities, traffic noise
the homogeneous bonded structure. The characteristic      is said to be a large concern, so noise barriers such as
bending strength, flatwise and parallel to grain,         vegetated barriers as well as insulation materials are
of average Kerto-S beams is 50 N/mm2 and their            applied.
characteristic compressive strength, parallel to grain,
is 35 N/mm2 (Metsä Wood, 2017). The web of the profile    Innovations in Construction Systems
is made of a slender oriented strand board (OSB3)         The construction method of LINQ is adapted especially
which reduces the thermal bridges in the panels to a      to the challenge of building at the Solar Decathlon
minimum.                                                  Middle East within 15 days. By using lightweight
                                                          materials and prefabricated elements, the method
Biofoam Inside is insulation material made of recycled    aims to reduce the building time, create a comfortable
expanded polystyrene and a percentage of the innovative   workspace and improve flexibility for transporting
Biofoam, which is made of biopolymers, consisting         and demounting. Moreover, the structural system and
of raw vegetable material. The material is pressure       construction details are designed to make the house
resistant, moisture insensitive, resistant to pests,      easily and repeatedly demountable.
fungus and bacteria and has a lightweight structure.
Essential is the fact that the material is sustainable,   Most of the construction work in the module is done
recyclable and cradle-to-cradle.                          before the competition. Tasks like installing plumbing,
                                                          electrical work, connecting wiring and ducts are
                                                          thus kept to a minimum. Therefore, it is preventing
4.2.3 CONSTRUCTION SYSTEM
                                                          construction mistakes by human-error. Risks can be
After placing and levelling the foundation elements
                                                          controlled, since less and simpler tasks are left for
and ground anchors, two of eight timber floor
                                                          construction at the competition.
elements are placed. Through the floor, the central

22
VIRTUe            PROJECT MANUAL #5

4.2.4 PLUMBING SYSTEM                                      recycling of shower heat and water with the innovative
The plumbing system includes the domestic cold and         water treatment system of the Upfall Shower. Re-using
hot water that is used daily in residential buildings,     the cleaned water for showering does not only save
which includes showers, dishwashing, clothes               energy and water, but also reduces costs. Next to other
washing, and normal faucet use in bathrooms and            water efficient appliances, we make use of renewable
kitchens. In the Middle East, specifically in gulf         energy in the form of heat by using solar thermal
countries such as the United Arab Emirates, water          collectors combined with a storage vessel.
preservation is highly needed due to the water
scarcity in the arid climate of the region. Households
                                                           4.2.5 MECHANICAL SYSTEM
in the UAE, consume around 44% of the total water
                                                           Most of the required energy in buildings in the UAE
consumption. Our water-saving measures include
                                                           is by cooling the indoor environment. One of the
the Trias Hydrica, by first reducing the water use as
                                                           mechanical systems employed in LINQ is the radiant
much as possible. With the use of Altered’s Nozzle
                                                           cooling system. Chilled water stored in a 500-liter
Dual flow, a low-cost quick installation to faucets that
                                                           buffer tank is pumped into the radiant panels in the
enable a mist- and spray-mode which significantly
                                                           East, West and part of the North external walls, which
reduces the flow rate to around 0.2 and 2.5 litres per
                                                           then absorb heat through radiation and convection
minute respectively as opposed to typical faucets at
                                                           from the indoor space. The return water flows back
6 litres per minute (Altered, 2018). Faucets account
                                                           to the buffer tank throughout the entire day before
to around 34.28% of water use in UAE households
                                                           being cooled overnight using the existing PV-T system.
(Waterwise Regulation and Supervision Bureau, 2013).
                                                           The principle by which the water is cooled is called
Furthermore, one of the largest uses of water in UAE
                                                           “nocturnal sky radiant cooling”. The heat from the
households are in showers, which account for 21.13%
                                                           “warm” water in the buffer tank is rejected to the night
of water-use (Waterwise Regulation and Supervision
                                                           sky using longwave radiation since in some cases the
Bureau, 2013). In LINQ, the Upfall shower was chosen
                                                           effective sky temperature may be 10°C lower than
as a packaged shower unit, which recycles heat and
                                                           the ambient temperature. This measure may save
water from the shower and requires 31.1 litres of
                                                           up to 45% of cooling energy during the typical month
combined hot and cold water and delivers 127.1 litres
                                                           of November based on computer simulations using
of water due to continuous recycling (KIWA, 2016).
                                                           TRNSYS.

In households, hot water is needed for end-uses
as aforementioned, therefore a combined solar
thermal system with a water-to-water heat pump was
utilized to achieve in order to minimize the electricity
consumption needed to heat the water. Furthermore,
value engineering (VE) was executed in order to
minimize the required pipe accessories that increase
the booster pump’s energy consumption. The toilet,
wash basins and the shower in LINQ are all placed
close together to reduce piping distances and isolates
all the supplies and drains within a single structural
module.

Innovations in Pluming Systems
                                                           Figure 2. Multi-Valent PV-T System of LINQ
The innovative aspects to the plumbing system are the

                                                                                                                  23
VIRTUe          PROJECT MANUAL #5

The main part of the HVAC system uses indirect            Innovations in Mechanical Systems
evaporative cooling and heat recovery to cool outdoor     The use of indirect evaporative cooling with water
air for conditioning the indoor spaces. The system does   makes the cooling system more efficient, since it only
not reuse or recirculate the foul air from the rooms      uses energy for the air circulation and water pumping
and thus provides 100% fresh air into the conditioned     for the sprays, reducing the house’s energy demand
space. The OxyCell system employed uses water to          significantly. Furthermore, the indoor air quality is
wet a specially designed mesh of material. Hot air is     increased due to the supply of 100% outdoor fresh air
then passed through this mesh to cool it to the desired   as opposed to recirculation methodologies by typical
temperature. Since the air is being indirectly cooled,    systems.
better efficiency in temperature drop is achieved.

                                                          4.2.6 ELECTRICAL SYSTEM
                                                          We currently depend on fossil fuel to generate
                                                          energy that must meet our increasing demands.
                                                          To work towards solving this issue, more owners
                                                          are switching to on-site renewable energy and
                                                          large-scale solar or wind farms. This will add
                                                          stress on the current structure of the distribution
                                                          grid. There is an increasing mismatch between the
                                                          energy generation and consumption in our current
                                                          distribution grid, where the power plants are
                                                          struggling to serve the demands simultaneously,
                                                          resulting in overproduction of electricity supply. As
                                                          more electronics are being developed and used in
Figure 3. Overview of Oxycom cooling system               society and with mobility shifting towards electrical
                                                          vehicles, the distribution network currently is unable
                                                          to handle the capacity from a top-down approach
The diffusers employ underfloor air distribution
                                                          while solving the carbon emissions problem. Most of
(UFAD) with displacement ventilation. The walls of
                                                          today’s electrical equipment, appliances and devices,
the central module have return vents at the highest
                                                          especially solar energy generating technologies
point, which exhaust out the return air. The advantage
                                                          and energy storage technologies already use direct
of the UFAD system is two-fold. Firstly, the thermal
                                                          current (DC), thus having to transform the generated
stratification reduces the cooling energy since only
                                                          energy to alternating current (AC) would result in an
the breathing zone (up to 1.80 meters) is cooled
                                                          unnecessary energy loss.
whereas the upper zone is relatively hotter air that is
exhausted. Secondly, displacement ventilation avoids
                                                          Self-sufficient and sustainable districts is a growing
mixing of air using low velocities, which as a result
                                                          topic and is a very promising solution that is time-
effectively removes indoor contaminants. It must be
                                                          effective in achieving the Paris Agreement carbon
noted however, that this is the case when humans
                                                          target. As aforementioned, more owners are switching
are the source of contaminants only. The return air
                                                          to on-site renewable energy sources, which are proven
is channeled through the air handling unit to recover
                                                          to be cost-effective and environmentally friendly. The
“coolness” by absorbing heat only from incoming
                                                          concept of creating district-scale utility grids where
outdoor air before being exhausted, meaning there is
                                                          renewables serve the energy demands and stored in
only sensible heat that is transferred.
                                                          electrochemical storage systems (ESS) is achievable

24
VIRTUe            PROJECT MANUAL #5

and, according to recent studies, solves mismatching      which would require additional efforts for stability
problems in net-zero energy concepts (self-sufficiency)   and maintenance. DC does not carry signals that
(Lopes, Martins, Aelenei, & Lima, 2016). Furthermore,     can otherwise interfere with communication units
this removes the dependency on single electricity         installed around a building circuit. Less infrastructure
plants that lack storage capabilities and are becoming    requirements suffice to guarantee stable electrical
more stressed due to increasing demands. It must be       communication between the source and the load.
further noted that the electricity plants generate AC
power and are required to convert to DC at the end-       As a result, grid management is reduced compared
uses by most electronics. Electricity in AC switches      to maintaining the 50 Hz fundamental frequency in an
direction 100 times a second (thus 50 Hz), which          AC system. Since LINQ concept aims for a modular
results into temporary loss of energy in the form of      installation/infrastructure practice, DC allows direct
heat, electromagnetic radiation.                          communication between energy source (solar panels)
                                                          and electronic loads.

                                                          In LINQ, the renewable energy source of electricity
                                                          and an electrical storage system are designed and
                                                          implemented to meet the finalized load requirements
                                                          of our building concept. An inverter that interfaces
                                                          the renewable energy source to the AC-loads and the
                                                          Solar Hai AC grid was necessary due to regulatory
                                                          restrictions.

                                                          The PV system is designed to supply above the
                                                          maximum demand load due to competition
                                                          requirements in being net-zero energy over the
                                                          competition duration. Miasolé’s FLEX-02NL model
Figure 4. Hybrid Power System of LINQ                     solar panels are used, which supply as much as 7700
                                                          watt-peak of electricity.
Using DC compared to AC involves less variables for
building power distribution due to lack of frequency      The inverters are designed with nameplate power
variation, leaving only voltage and current as main       ratings that are compatible for 80% of the total supply
quantities, therefore less losses. In addition, DC        from PV array. Therefore, any inverter that is rated
saves on materials costs due to lesser insulation         at least 6 kW is compatible for the PV array designed
requirements, lower cable, tower, poles and               and implemented. Our final circuit is wired to two
insulators costs. Furthermore, the current levels         inverters: A primary inverter that only outputs energy
determine the “state of charge” of the distribution       from PV array to the AC-loads and Solar Hai grid, and
grid in DC. Every load and telecommunication units        a secondary inverter that interfaces both PV array and
(especially in the controls engineering industry)         energy storage system (ESS) with the AC-loads in the
operate in DC, a common medium for loads. Since           house.
in telecommunication (control) systems these units
can communicate with each other, they operate in the      The electrical ESS is satisfied with Lithium ion (Li-ion)
same medium, which is DC. The rotational/angular          batteries, where 3 units of Li-ion batteries rated 50V
nature of AC makes AC generators and motors (loads)       and 50Ah each are used. With parallel connection, the
susceptible to phase differences and harmonics,           ESS is rated at 3 times the current of a unit battery,

                                                                                                                 25
VIRTUe             PROJECT MANUAL #5

resulting into 150 Amp-hour or 7500 Watt-hour              integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) panels. The cumulative
system. Lastly, the inverter dictates how much of the      solar irradiance on the East façade is 1278 kWh/
load can be supplied by the batteries. A secondary         m2/year, therefore approximately 192 kWh/m2/year
inverter that is compatible with the batteries is added    may be generated in addition to the 262.5 kWh/m2/
to the power system. Since this inverter is designed to    year. VIRTUe is currently performing building energy
operate during off-grid mode, it will be enabled only      simulations for the whole residential complex and
when the primary inverter turns off at insufficient        the results will follow on the net electrical balance
sunlight.                                                  including the payback time.

Innovations in Electrical System                           With around 15% of the total irradiance used up by the
In addition to saving energy from conversions between      photovoltaic modules, there is still 85% that can be
components, a direct current (DC) electrical grid is:      harvested. To reduce installation costs and maintain
                                                           aesthetics, a building-integrated photovoltaic-thermal
•   Easier to manage and more efficient                    system is used to capture heat and store it in water
•   Requires less material due to multifunctional use      for domestic use. The panels are unglazed, with
    of a single cable and redundancy of equipment to       an efficiency of around 8.4% during the month of
    maintain AC grids.                                     November. Therefore, the PV-T system has a combined
•   More flexible than a traditional alternative current   22.4% efficiency.
    electricity grid since the current levels
                                                           Innovations in Solar Systems
                                                           To summarize, the ‘thin film photovoltaic panels’,
4.2.7 SOLAR SYSTEM
                                                           which are generating green electrical energy, will
The sun is the main source of energy for Earth. On
                                                           fully meet the house’s energy demand. These solar
average the irradiance from the sun in Dubai is
                                                           panels are flexible and generate more Wh per Wp in
approximately 500 Wh/m2 per hour. This shows that
                                                           comparison to the use of conventional a-Si solar cells.
a soccer grass field (~7400 m2), can generate 3.7
MWh per hour. On average LINQ consumes 108 kWh/
m2/year in electricity, whereas the irradiance is 1750     4.2.8 CONTROLS AND
kWh/m2/year. This shows the massive potential of
                                                           AUTOMATIZATION SYSTEM
energy that can be harvested. Photovoltaic modules
                                                           The operation of systems is crucial to serve their
are currently the leading renewable resource for
                                                           respective functions. These functions in the case
electricity with prices on average being 5.5 AED/
                                                           of a residential building are achieving indoor
Wp. The average efficiency of thin-film PV systems is
                                                           environmental comfort conditions and hot water
around 15% at standard test conditions (25°C @ 1000
                                                           delivery for typical residential end-uses. In addition,
W/m2). Using the efficiency and annual irradiance
                                                           it is essential to optimize this process by minimizing
flux, approximately a total of 262.5 kWh/m2/year
                                                           energy consumption and maximizing comfort. With
may be generated. This value shows that there is an
                                                           that in mind, the systems in LINQ are controlled
~140% surplus of energy available. The challenge
                                                           independently per system in the apartment.
however, remains that when a building becomes
more demanding within the same surface area as in
                                                           There exist seven controllers in total. Three for
the case of high-rise buildings for example. In LINQ,
                                                           cooling, one for ventilation, two for solar energy
we present the concept of an apartment as part of a
                                                           (PV and energy storage) and one for the boiler. The
mid-rise residential complex. To tackle this problem,
                                                           controllers for cooling are split into building-side and
we use the East facade by proposing to install building
                                                           exterior-side. The building side is the control of the

26
VIRTUe           PROJECT MANUAL #5

indoor environment by two basic thermostats for each      References
of the two cooling systems. One main air-based IEC        ​Altered. (2018). Altered: Nozzle Dual Flow. (Altered)
system and one supplementary radiant cooling system.      Retrieved from https://www.alteredcompany.com/the-
These have set-points different from each other with      nozzle-1/
the supplementary having a lower set-point (21°C)
in order to avoid the air-based cooling system (23°C)     Behne, M. (1999). Indoor air quality in rooms
from dominating that will cause the radiant system to     with cooled ceilings.: Mixing ventilation or rather
never function. On the exterior-side, the PV-T system     displacement ventilation? Energy and Buildings, 30(2),
being unglazed has a high emissivity and therefore is     155-166.
used during the night when the sky temperatures are
adequate to cool water and store it in a 500 L buffer     KIWA. (2016). Verklaring Stortdouche met hergebruik
storage tank. Furthermore, the water heater, which is     van warm water. KIWA.
a water-to-water heat pump, is used as an alternative
to cool down the water by using the evaporator as a       Lopes, R., Martins, J., Aelenei, D., & Lima, C. (2016).
heat sink and the 500 L buffer tank as the heat source    A cooperative net zero energy community to improve
thereby cooling the water down.                           load matching. Renewable Energy, 1-13.

The FSP solar charger is an inverter that connects        Metsä Wood. (2017). Kerto Manual, Mechanical
a part of the PV system and energy storage system         Properties. Metsäliitto Cooperative.
(ESS) as and distributes the energy to charge the ESS
or export it to the house/grid. The priority depends      ​Waterwise Regulation and Supervision Bureau. (2013).
on the time of day and state of charge of the ESS. The    Summary Report: The Residential End Use of Water
priority is to be off-grid during the peak or shoulder    Project. Abu Dhabi: Waterwise.
hours and therefore the ESS and PV system will supply
the house during those hours. The priority function
allows the control to remain at a higher level in terms
of the operating the system. This achieves the goal of
demand response and maximizing self-consumption
of renewable energy as well as simplifies the control
scheme to be implemented.

The last controller is of the boiler which utilizes a
water-to-water heat pump. The controller is built-in
that maintains minimal requirements for the boiler to
function. This includes limiting the water temperature
to a maximum of 65°C and flow detection to avoid the
condenser from reaching freezing temperatures.

                                                                                                                27
VIRTUe    PROJECT MANUAL #5

       4.5 SUSTAINABILITY REPORT

     VIRTU/e
44
VIRTUe              PROJECT MANUAL #5

                                                                               to guarantee a project’s sustainability. These pillars are
4.5.1 SUSTAINABLILTY NARRATIVE
                                                                               environmental sustainability, social sustainability and
Climate change and its negative effect on our
                                                                               economic sustainability as can be seen in figure 1.
environment have become a reality rather than a future
possibility. It has therefore become imperative to
introduce sustainability into every aspect of our lives to
                                                                               4.5.2 ENVIRONMENTAL
prevent further environmental degradation.
                                                                               SUSTAINABILITY
One of the sectors that has a tremendous impact on                             Environmental sustainability can be defined as “meeting
our environment is the building industry. The UN                               the resource and service needs of current and future
Environment (2016) states that “energy use in buildings                        generations without compromising the health of the
and for building construction represents more than                             ecosystems that provide them” (Morelli, 2011).
one-third of global final energy consumption and
contributes to nearly one-quarter of greenhouse gas                            Within the ‘environment’ pillar we use the Trias
emissions worldwide”. If we broaden our scope to the                           Ecologica (see figure 2) as a basic decision tool which
built environment we even see that cities emit up to                           was developed in 1996 by the ‘Dutch Organization for
80% of all greenhouse gases (UN-HABITAT, 2007).                                Energy and Environment’ and has become an important
                                                                               building strategy in the Netherlands. We first minimized
These numbers reinforced our decision to put the                               the demand and prevented unnecessary use. Then, we
emphasis of our concept on sustainability and to design                        used sustainable, renewable and infinite sources and
the most sustainable apartment for the Solar Decathlon                         finally, if necessary, we used finite sources as sensible
Middle East 2018 in Dubai.                                                     as possible.

However,      assessing                sustainability           is   not   a
                                                                                  minimize the                            use sustainable,
straightforward process and requires a lot of research,                        demand and prevent                          renewable and
                                                                                 unnecessary use                           infinite sources
data gathering and foresight. To guide us and to help
us make decisions on the basis of sustainability we                                                  1           2
therefore first set up a framework including several
well-known models to assess possible options.
                                                                                                           3
                                                                                                  use finite sources as
                                                                                                  sensible as possible
                                  Sustainability
                                                                               Figure 2: Trias Ecologica
                  Environmental

                                                   Economical
                                       Social

                                                                               We applied this principle to three different fields; the
                                                                               energy demand of LINQ (Trias Energetica), material
                                                                               demand during the production phase (Trias Hylica) and
                                                                               water demand (Trias Hydrica).

Figure 1: The three pillars of sustainability                                  Trias Energetica: the Trias Energetica is used as a
                                                                               guideline for energy management. The demand for
Sustainability can be divided into several criteria. We                        energy is minimized by using passive and active design
used the ‘three pillars of sustainability’ - set up by the                     strategies (such as an innovative HVAC system, radiant
United Nations (2005) - that all need to be addressed                          panels, clever lighting solutions, a water treatment

                                                                                                                                              45
VIRTUe               PROJECT MANUAL #5

system, an energy saving architectural design, natural       which allows for a 50% material reduction during the
and cross ventilation and a green wall), highly energy-      manufacturing process (Marijnissen & van der Zee,
efficient appliances and a smart system that not only        2017).
allows the user to turn the light on and off from a
distance but also educates the inhabitants of LINQ on        Trias Hydrica: The demand for water is minimized by
their real-time energy consumption via an interactive        using native low-water plants, highly water-efficient
WebApp and monitors the energy use of each appliance         appliances and fixtures such as water saving faucets
to allow the user to distribute the energy demand            as well as an innovative water treatment system called
more evenly throughout the day. The remaining energy         Upfall Shower that recycles and then reuses shower
that is used in LINQ is generated by the solar cells on      heat and water. This recycling of water guarantees
the roof of the building. LINQ does not require finite       a much smaller water demand as well as a smaller
sources to satisfy its energy demand because the solar       impact on the sewage system in a country where water
cells generate enough energy to cover the apartments         is scarce.
energy consumption. To be more precise, the energy
generated by the thin film solar panels covers nearly        The water consumption is furthermore regulated by
200% of LINQ’s energy demand making LINQ energy              the smart system which measures the amount of water
positive building (see 5. Simulation Report).                used and gives feedback to the inhabitants on how to
                                                             use water more efficiently. Where necessary, clean and
To satisfy energy demand throughout the whole day,           ‘new’ water is used as efficiently as possible.
batteries and water storage vessels will store the
energy surplus during the day and supply energy during       To make sure that the phases within the lifecycle
the night.                                                   of LINQ, namely the production, use and disposal
                                                             phase, are as efficient and sustainable as possible, we
Trias Hylica: The Trias Ecologica can also be applied        furthermore conducted a life cycle assessment (LCA)
for material choices, called the Trias Hylica. Here the      to discover hidden impacts on the environment so that
demand for material is minimized by prefabricating           we could adjust the design of LINQ. The categories
elements in a factory, using sustainable, reusable or        considered were the type of materials used, the amount
recycled materials, providing shared facilities within the   of materials used, their impact on the environment, the
apartment complex building like a theater and a shared       lifespan of LINQ, the duration of the material used, and
kitchen, and using space efficiently. To name a few of       the emissions emitted during the production, use and
the innovative and sustainable materials that are used       disposal phase.
in LINQ; the biocomposite façade cladding is completely
made out of organic materials sourced locally; the wall      The results of the LCA conducted by Andriessen
system uses an innovative plating method that reduces        (2018) showed among other, a high sensitivity to the
the amount of wood needed by adding more recyclable          certification of wood. Because LINQ is made out of a
isolation material; and the material that is used to         timber framework, it became very important to only use
isolate LINQ is in part made out of biofoam which is         certified wood. Therefore, the timber that was used to
C-2-C certified, bio-based, recyclable, biodegradable        construct LINQ is FSC-certified.
and even edible while remaining as strong as EPS
(expanded polystyrene) isolation.                            An unexpected outcome was that while solar cells lead
                                                             to a smaller environmental impact during their use-
If it is necessary to use non-sustainable materials,         phase, they are very pollutant during their production
this will be done in a clean and efficient way by for        and disposal phase. To compensate the impact that
example using 3D printing techniques to print concrete       our PV panels have during these two phases, first the

46
VIRTUe                PROJECT MANUAL #5

materials required to make solar cells, were reduced            neighborhood.
by using thin film solar cells which require much
less silicon for production than standard panels.
Furthermore, we will make sure that when we do not
need the solar panels anymore, we will first seek a new
purpose for them or if this is not possible because they
have for example become outdated or damaged, the thin
film solar cells will be properly stripped and recycled.

A sensitivity analysis showed that the lifespan of
LINQ is a very important factor when calculating the
environmental impact of our apartment. The longer
LINQ ‘lives’ the smaller the impact becomes. We have
therefore been looking into re-purposing LINQ after
the SDME competition and several options were found
that will give LINQ a permanent purpose and extend its
lifespan.
                                                                Figure 3: ‘Social Sustainability Framework’ by the Berkley
While the highest impact of traditional buildings on            Group
the environment occurs during the use-phase (Abd
Rashid & Yusoff, 2015), the results of the LCA also             To reach social sustainability three key dimensions of
showed that LINQ barely has any impact during its use-          the framework have to be satisfied. These three key
phase, supporting our claim that LINQ is indeed an              dimensions are ‘social cultural life’, ‘voice and influence’
environmentally sustainable apartment compared to               and ‘amenities and social infrastructure’.
traditional buildings.
                                                                The first key dimension ‘social cultural life’ considers
                                                                what it is like to live in the apartment complex and in
4.5.3 SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY
                                                                the neighborhood. The second dimension, ‘voice and
The second pillar of sustainability is social sustainability.
                                                                influence’ evaluates how and if people can influence
Before discussing this second pillar it is important to
                                                                what goes on in their neighborhood and building. The
first understand what social sustainability actually is.
                                                                last key dimension is ‘amenities and infrastructure’
                                                                which looks at the design and facilities of the building
“Social     sustainability   occurs   when     the   formal
                                                                and the neighborhood.
and informal processes, systems, structures and
relationships actively support the capacity of current
                                                                To be able to further evaluate social sustainability
and future generations to create healthy and livable
                                                                within our project, we also took into consideration the
communities. Socially sustainable communities are
                                                                research of sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies (2012), Georg
equitable, diverse, connected [...] and provide a good
                                                                Simmel (1990) and Henry L Tischler (2007) on why
quality of life” (McKenzie, 2004).
                                                                social alienation is increasingly emerging in the built
                                                                environment. To prevent social alienation we looked
Here we use the ‘Social Sustainability Framework’
                                                                towards the renowned urbanist Jane Jacobs (1961) and
by the Berkley Group (2012) (see figure 3) as a way to
                                                                concepts such as ‘de wijkgedachte’ (which translates
direct LINQ’s concept and to measure people’s quality
                                                                into ‘the neighborhood thought’) and ‘New Urbanism’
of life and wellbeing within our apartment complex and
                                                                to find a solution on how to stimulate social interaction

                                                                                                                        47
You can also read