The Conceptual System Design
Discuss about the Environment Conscious Building.
According to Adams et al. (2014), systems design refers to process that leads to the identification of system elements, like that of components, interfaces, elements, etc, such that specific requirements of business organization (or a project) are met through a coherent engineering process.
The Green Square North Tower, located in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, is one of the most well known commercial complexes of Queensland that has been designed in environment - conscious manner (Gbca.org.au 2016). This particular report is aimed at shedding some light on this particular project, in the context of systems design.
The following sections of the report provide an insight into the constructional designs that have been utilized in developing this building, which has already been awarded with the prestigious certifications like 6 Star Green Star - Office As Built v2 and 6 Star Green Star - Office Design v2. The utilities of these designs would be discussed, besides recommending strategies that can be utilized to enhance the manner in which the building uses natural resources. A discussion on the relevant theories, as available from the scholarly papers that have been reviewed, would also be made so as to support the discussions made in the sections mentioned above.
Researcher Kibert (2016) is of the opinion that buildings that are constructed with the help of green technologies ( that are more conscious towards the sustainable use of natural resources), are considered as environmentally-conscious buildings. The author has also pointed out the fact that the use of green technologies not only ensure that the buildings have long lives but also aimed at reducing the adverse effects that these buildings have on the environment.
The Green Square North Tower, as indicated by the information available at the official w website of the Green Building Council of Australia (www.gbca.org.au), was designed with the aim of developing an industrial complex having the minimum rate of green house gas emission, along with the optimum usage of natural resources and significant reduction in power consumption.
The Green Square North Tower, as developed by Leighton Properties ( the construction work was conducted by the Leighton Contractors), was designed primarily with the aim of reducing the power consumption and making an optimal usage of the ground water consumed by the building (Gbca.org.au 2016). These system requirements were taken into consideration while developing the project management plan, based on which the technical requirements and the engineering systems requirements of the project were being designed (Buyle, Braet and Audenaert 2013). The systems engineering management plan, as developed by Floth and Lincohe Scott, lead to the identification of the system specification of the entire project.
- Cogeneration plants located on the roof of the towers: The preliminary designs ensured that the cogeneration plants would ensure the optimal usage of the electric power consumed by the building (Yudelson 2013) .
- Water storage facility: The water storage facility was designed with the aim of retaining storm water, along the water being flushed down the toilets, such that the same can be utilized for irrigation and other onsite usage (Zuo and Zhao 2014).
Defining the ‘Need’ of the Concept
The following figure depicts the steps used for identifying the systems requirements and developing the preliminary architectural designs:
Figure: Early system design phase of the project
The final architectural design, based on which the building was constructed, included the following elements:
- An efficient power management system: The cogeneration plant located on the terrace of the building utilizes a gas engine generator which facilitates capturing waste heat energy from various electrical (and electronic systems). The heat energy thus captured is utilized for running the absorption chillerwhich is used for cooling the building. This particular power management system thus allows the building to have “two bites of the one cherry”: the rate of green house gas emission of the building has been found to be at least 85 percent less than that of constructions of similar size (Namkung and Jang 2013). On the other hand, the Carbon monoxide emission of the building has also been found to significantly less compared to the total floor area of the building.
Researchers Sharma and Gupta (2016) are of the opinion that the cogeneration plant has been of much help in reducing the total energy consumption of the building. The authors are of the opinion that the said system reduces the pressure on the power station to quite an extent, minimizing the power loss that occurs during the transmission process (Buyle, Braet and Audenaert 2013).
Besides this, the installation of intelligent power meters on all the major electrical systems of the building facilitates the process of monitoring and recording the performance of the said systems, thus encouraging their optimized usage (Kobayashi et al. 2014).
- Water saving equipments: On the other hand, efficient water fittings and fixture have been installed in the building, which along with the ‘water harvesting system’ facilitates the process of saving approximately 1.5 million litres of water year . Researches Yumino et al. (2015) are of the opinion that the collection of storm water so as to utilize in flushing toilets and watering plants in the garden area are some of the most intelligent ways of saving ground water: Green Square North Tower utilizes both these methods for saving water. In fact, the information available from the official website of the Green Building Council of Australia states that the architectural design of the building allows collection of rainwater from the entire roof region, by the utilization of a “symphonic storm water system” (Gbca.org.au,. 2016). The water thus collected is stored in a storm water tank located in the basement region of the building, which has a total capacity of 85,000 litres. The storm water collected in this tank is reused for several purposes, like that of irrigating the gardens, and flushing toilets.
Besides this, the following green technological systems have been installed in the Green Square North Tower:
- Energy Saving equipments: Single tubes of T5 luminaries have been utilized for lightning the building, along with louvers of low brightness: the power consumption of the building has thus lowered to less than 5 W/m2 (Domenica et al. 2013).
- Energy Management systems: In order to monitor and control the water and power being consumed by the building, intelligent meters have been installed all over the building. These meters ensure the optimal usage of electric power and ground water resources in the building (Srinivasan et al. 2012).
Materials: Researchers Hosseinijou, Mansour and Shirazi (2014) are of the opinion that the materials used for developing and furnishing buildings act as some of the major sources of environmental pollution. However, the architectural designs of the Green Square North Tower have encouraged the use of recycled steel and recycled concrete to a significant extent (60 percent and 40 percent respectively). The building also utilizes at least 60 per cent less PVC materials as compared to other structures of same size, thus reducing the total amount of VOC emissions (Wang, Toppinen and Juslin 2014).
- Water Saving Systems: The Green Square North Tower utilizes tank having a capacity of 160,000 litres for the purpose of rainwater harvesting. It has already been mentioned that the storm water is utilized for flushing toilets and irrigating garden areas, thus ensuring a saving of 1.2 million litres per annum (Gbca.org.au 2016).
In order to understand the basic factors of the environmentally-conscious buildings technologies and the existing projects developed by using the technology, several previous research articles or literatures have been reviewed. The examples of buildings constructed by using this technology and the potential impact of the technology are reviewed in the papers.
The new Research and Development building of NTT Facilities was constructed using the environmentally-conscious building technologies, which was inaugurated in the year of 2014. This building can be taken as one of the best examples of the eco-friendly buildings developed using this technology. The different types of facilities available in the rooms of the building can be controlled according to the presence of people in the rooms (Cabeza et al. 2013). The monitoring facilities, lighting facilities and the air conditioning systems of the building are able to save almost 35 percent of the total energy used for the general systems (Kibert 2016).
The Preliminary System Design
The building has a server room, which uses the maximum amount of energies and produces the maximum heat in the building. This heat is used for heating the cool rooms of the building by exhausting the heat form the server room and cool energy is extracted from the ground level room for cooling the server room (Cabeza et al. 2013). This technique is helping to save the total amount of energy required for marinating the temperature of the whole building.
The similar types of using of the technology were found in many buildings in the Michigan City. This was reported in the review article published by the Urban City Associates. The energy saving facilities of the buildings is almost same as the previous one. Some of these buildings are also using the recycling of the raw materials used in various purposes. In some buildings, the use of VOC free raw materials also found (Buyle, Braet and Audenaert 2013). This is helping to reduce the environmental damage caused to general household activities besides keeping the energy consumptions at the lower level.
As mentioned by Madurwar, Ralegaonkar and Mandavgane (2013), the environmentally-conscious building technology is very efficient for managing all the facilities available in the general buildings. The internal environments of the buildings developed by using this technology are healthier than the general buildings. The main facility provided by the buildings constructed by using this technology is to reduce the amount of energy required for providing the modern facilities in the indoor environment of the building.
Conclusion and Recommendation
The preceding sections of the report provide detailed discussion on one of the most well known environmentally-conscious buildings of Queensland, the Green Square North Tower. The preliminary system requirements of the project, as identified in the conceptual designing phase have been discussed in section 2.1 of the report, whereas the detailed architectural plan used for developing the building has been discussed in section 2.2 of the report. A discussion on some of some of the literary articles that had been reviewed for developing this report has also been provided in section 3 of the report.
In the light of the discussions made in the report, the following recommendation is being provided to the owners of the Green Square North Tower:
- Cork lining walls: The building currently contains 4 auditoriums and several meeting rooms that utilize efficient system for adjusting sound. Although intelligent meters have been installed for monitoring and controlling the power being consumed by these systems, the utilization of cork lining on the walls of these auditoriums and rooms would reduce the requirement of using these sound system facilities. This in turn would essentially reduce the total power consumption of the building.
- Energy exchanger: At present, the waste heat energy collected from various electrical systems is currently being used to run the cooling devices of the building. In a very similar fashion, the warm heat generated from the server rooms can be utilized for warming up the colder sections of the building, thus reducing the use of room heaters.
- Solar energy: The owners of the office spaces are being recommended to utilize solar power for lighting their facilities, thus reducing the power consumption rate of the building to a further extent.
- Roof top garden: The terrace area of the building can be converted into a garden area. Such transformation would not only make the building even more environment friendly, but would also lower down the temperature of the building, thus reducing the usage of air conditioning devices.
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