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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

More Good News

The sweaty citizens of Dubai (completely inaccurate - the runny residents would be more like it) are soon to enjoy the benefits of air-conditioned bus shelters. An advertising company - of course, what other organisation could do such a thing - has been given a 10-year Build/Operate/Transfer contract to provide this facility (Emirates Today). They will initially be managing 500 out of Dubai's 1,500 bus stops. Locations are not yet decided, but if it's advertising-driven you can bet that Sonapur / Al Quoz / Al Ghusais won't be on the list.

It's all very fine, very high-tech. But I was thinking a while ago, when this concept was first mooted. Air-conditioning only really works in closed environments. The flimsy, uninsulated glass and metal structures that we use for bus shelters now (and that the new operators are proposing) are not really suitable - the energy cost will be very high.

So why not have a look at the traditional architecture of the region. Wind towers should work superbly well. You need some solid mass in the structure (absorbs the coolness of the night and slowly radiates it during the day, thereby offsetting the solar heat gain), but the wind towers deflect any breeze downwards and get the air moving. Operational energy cost: nil.

Or have a look at other alternative cooling methods (evaporative cooling is an excellent one). Combine that with solar power and you might be able to provide cool bus stops that do not require the construction of a new power station (exaggeration!). Operational energy costs: a fraction of air-conditioning.

Either way, it troubles me that the ad company are saying they'll have stuff like recycling bins at these shelters, implying that they have some interest in the environment, when their actual solution is such a serious energy guzzler - and it's actually completely the wrong solution.

7 Comments:

Blogger samuraisam said...

They could easily cover the roof in solar cells to provide 50% + power, and on cloudy days just run straight off the power lines.

They could also coat the windows in 30%ish tint which would cut down on the heat entering, other stuff could also be easily implemented.
It'll be interesting to see how this goes, i've seen bus stops with 50+ people waiting, who exactly is going to populate the tiny bus-stops? they could only house at maximum 10 people...

5:41 pm  
Anonymous Genious Fat Boy said...

I have a better suggestion. They cover up all the roads in UAE with proper ventilation and air conditioning, then remove AC unti from all the cars(since you don't need it inside an air conditioned space). My plan has lots of advantages:

1. No need to build AC'd stations

2. By removing AC unit from cars, fuel consumption would go down

3. They can cancel Metro project since lots of people would be willing to use buses or even walk around

4. It's agreat reduction of noise polution

5. Air polution can be controlled inside. Bascially whatever happens inside, stays inside.

6. UAE would have the longest man made tunnels in the world. Another tourist attraction to be.

Gush I'm a genious!

3:45 am  
Blogger Omni said...

We have an evaporative cooler, and it works really well... except when the humidity's high. Does it ever get humid there?

(lives somewhere warm and dry)

4:19 am  
Blogger sheikha cheryl said...

Good ideas going alternate, too bad nobody here thinks along that line.

8:13 am  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

Omni: humidity peaks at dawn and sunset, but it's ok the rest of the time except in summer when it can feel extremely uncomfortable during the day.

8:38 am  
Blogger Dhabi Dabbler said...

Yea, but you didn't say how long summer was!

10:13 pm  
Blogger Kristian said...

Dubai government care about they`r citizens. All for draw new investors in Dubai property

5:19 pm  

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