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Friday, 29 January 2016

Everything you need to know about Dubai's addiction to construction

Dubai is addicted to construction, but is its thirst for concrete sustainable?

Dubai is addicted to construction, but is its thirst for concrete sustainable?

Since the early 2000s wildly ambitious construction projects have put Dubai on the map. The desert state has built a name for itself – quite literally – by housing some of the world’s most ambitious projects and there is no sign that its construction bubble is about to burst. In 2015 Dubai’s project pipeline includes a rainforest in the desert, the world’s largest shopping mall and the tallest twin towers on earth. With all this planned work – not to mention large foreign investment - construction firms in Dubai are rubbing their hands together.

Dubai’s expanding environmental footprint

While Dubai’s construction sector is steadier than it has ever been – today it is underpinned by strong consumer demand and a more regulated real estate market – there is a notable and significant downside: Dubai’s ever expanding environmental footprint.
The average person in Dubai uses about double the amount of water than the global average, produces 2.5kg (5lb) of waste a day, and is among the world's worst carbon dioxide polluters.
That being said, gas turbines produce most of Dubai's energy and as a fuel source, this is a pretty clean option, as the grid's carbon emissions are only 60 percent of the world's average. Furthermore, the distribution of gas is also twice as efficient when compared globally, so the infrastructure is not the problem.
Couple this with the fact that Dubai’s rulers are keen to improve the situation and it could become a poster child for modern, sustainable building. Dubai's rulers want 15 percent of electricity from renewables, with 30 percent less consumed per head, by 2030 and this renewables target looks achievable.

Reduced prices

Solar electricity is cited to be a popular trend in 2015 and beyond. A pricing scheme launched last week helps people save on their own electricity costs and encourages them to earn by feeding back to the grid. On a much larger scale, the push for the emirate's grid to have its own mass solar supply has received some good news. Saudi-based power plant developer and operator Acwa Power will provide Dubai with 200MW of the world's cheapest solar power, at below 4p per kWh, for 25 years. Acwa chief executive Paddy Padmanathan said big savings were possible from utilising the creditworthiness of DEWA, the state-owned electricity company.

Dubai’s construction history

1991: 25 years after oil is discovered in Dubai, production peaks. Its economy has rapidly diversified since.
2002: Construction booms as foreigners are allowed to buy properties. Many are sold off-plan almost immediately - with few regulations in place.
2009: Following the global financial crisis, hundreds of construction projects are abandoned or suspended as credit dries up. Property prices fall by 30-50 percent.
2013: A second construction boom occurs. Property prices rise by over 30 percent exacerbated by the news Dubai will host Expo 2020.
2015: Dubai's property prices cool off slightly as new government regulations kick in amid a weakening global market. New constructions continues apace. Plans for the first rainforest in the desert in Dubai are unveiled as work gets under way on the biggest mall and observation wheel in the world.
The consumption target could be a much trickier challenge though, as that involves changing people's attitudes. DEWA already runs campaigns for people to turn down their air-conditioning in the summer months and do all the things responsible citizens are asked to do around the world, such as turn off lights and waste less.

Public awareness

Saeed Al Abbar, chair of the Emirates Green Building Council, told the BBC that “awareness of sustainability issues has definitely increased significantly over the past few years.”
But the figures show there is still a long way to go. One step the government has already taken is to ensure all new public and private buildings are constructed according to a far-reaching set of green building regulations introduced last year.
Saeed Al Abbar said: “Over 800 buildings have complied with the regulations so far at the design stage, which is a tremendous achievement. The real challenge is in ensuring that the code requirements are fully incorporated in the completed constructions through rigorous quality control measures.”
Government-backed environmental stunts have been used to help change attitudes. They also make good stories, such as this recent eagle flight and the opening of the Middle East's first eco-mosque.
Dubai now has just over five years to build what it calls “a monument to the green economy, a landmark in sustainable development,” when it hosts Expo 2020.
Some private projects may not help though. According to its developers, the Dubai Rainforest is a chance to learn about the jungle lifestyle in a dome-covered ecosystem. But Prof Ali El-Keblawy, director of the Sharjah Seed Bank and Herbarium, said it was challenging nature to create an artificial forest in harsh desert conditions and told a local newspaper, The National, the impact on the environment should be assessed before the project was built. That could indeed be sage advice for many of the constructions planned for Dubai, if the emirate is serious about its own environmental targets.

Qatar looks to build next generation of smart houses

Qatar looks to build next generation of smart houses

A wave of new futuristic homes will be built in Qatar as the country continues to plough investment into infrastructure projects of all shapes and sizes.

Ooredoo and Alfardan Properties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop the next generation of “smart living houses” for Qatar.
The MoU, which was signed by Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al Thani, CEO, Ooredoo Qatar and Omar Hussain Alfardan, President & CEO, Alfardan Group, outlined the companies’ intent to develop smart homes for the general public over the next few months.
This is the first partnership for innovative smart home solutions in Qatar, and the agreement states that the first smart home will be available to view by the end of June 2015.
The new smart homes will include appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio and video systems and security that are capable of communicating with each other and can be controlled from any room in the house, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or Internet.
Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al Thani, CEO, Ooredoo Qatar, said: “With technology moving forward daily, our lifestyles are rapidly integrating with our smart devices. Smart living development is the future, and we are excited to be able to work on such a truly innovative project with Alfardan Properties.”
Omar Hussain Alfardan, President & CEO, Alfardan Group, added: “The MoU with Ooredoo marks another milestone for Alfardan Properties. It demonstrates our commitment to offer the latest advanced technological services to our tenants, in order to consistently provide them with luxury living solutions and we are confident that
Ooredoo’s ‘Smart Home’ solution will add value to their experience.”
“We are thrilled to be working with one of the leading telecommunications companies in the region. In implementing the project, both parties have consented on the important aspects thoroughly to ensure seamless execution of the solution in our residential communities. We are looking forward to offering this highly innovative service to our residents,” he added.
In line with the agreement, Alfardan properties will provide a suitable property for the smart home, whilst Ooredoo will provide top-tier technology and connectivity on its bigger, faster network from within their range of smart solutions for the home, enabling businesses and the public to view their portfolio and strengthen their position as a top ICT solutions provider.

Το Ντουμπάι τη νύχτα είναι μαγευτικό!

Ο Ολλανδός φωτογράφος Albert Dros ταξίδεψε μέχρι το Ντουμπάι προκειμένου να φωτογραφίσει την αγαπημένη του πόλη τη νύχτα… “Τα φώτα συνδυάζονται μαγευτικά, τα χρώματα αλλάζουν με γρήγορο ρυθμό, τα πανύψηλα κτήρια φωτίζονται από πάνω μέχρι κάτω και όλη η πόλη ζει στο ρυθμό της… νύχτας που την κάνει να μοιάζει ότι έχει έρθει από άλλο πλανήτη. Το φουτουριστικό Ντουμπάι δείχνει το βράδυ το πρόσωπό του και εντυπωσιάζει”, είπε ο ίδιος στην Daily Mail… - Το Ντουμπάι τη νύχτα είναι μαγευτικό! - Το Ντουμπάι τη νύχτα είναι μαγευτικό! - Το Ντουμπάι τη νύχτα είναι μαγευτικό! - Το Ντουμπάι τη νύχτα είναι μαγευτικό! - Το Ντουμπάι τη νύχτα είναι μαγευτικό! - Το Ντουμπάι τη νύχτα είναι μαγευτικό! - Το Ντουμπάι τη νύχτα είναι μαγευτικό!

Ασυνήθιστο πλωτό… δάσος στο Ρότερνταμ!

Στις 16 Μαρτίου 2016 ένα πλωτό δάσος από 20 δέντρα θα κάνει την εμφάνισή του στο Ρότερνταμ της Ολλανδίας. Εμπνευσμένο από ένα έργο τέχνης που ονομάζεται “In Search Of Habitus,” από τον καλλιτέχνη Jorge Bakker, αυτό το φιλόδοξο σχέδιο έχει σκοπό να ομορφύνει την πόλη και να πρασινίσει τα κανάλια. “Το Δάσος Bobbing θα γίνει κυρίως από προϋπάρχοντα υλικά”, αναφέρει η ιστοσελίδα του έργου.
Ασυνήθιστο πλωτό δάσος στο Ρότερνταμ!
“Τα δέντρα θα καλλιεργηθούν πάνω σε παλιές σημαδούρες και θα πέσουν στο νερό. Αρκετά από αυτά ήδη έχουν φυτευτεί σε μεγάλο μέγεθος ενώ κάποια είναι μικρά ακόμα και θα μεγαλώσουν κατά τη διάρκεια της παραμονής τους στο νερό”, συμπληρώνεται. Αυτή η “πράσινη” πρωτοβουλία έχει βρει υποστηρικτές όλους τους κατοίκους της πόλης που περιμένουν με αγωνία να θαυμάσουν το πλωτό τους δάσος!
Ασυνήθιστο πλωτό δάσος στο Ρότερνταμ!
Ασυνήθιστο πλωτό δάσος στο Ρότερνταμ!
Ασυνήθιστο πλωτό δάσος στο Ρότερνταμ!

Οι δρόμοι της Σεούλ γέμισαν μικρές βιβλιοθήκες!

Η πόλη της Σεούλ γέμισε μικρές βιβλιοθήκες που δίνουν τη δυνατότητα στους κατοίκους να διαβάσουν όποτε θέλουν αλλά και να δανειστούν βιβλία της επιλογής τους. Μικρές βιβλιοθήκες με πρωτότυπο σχεδιασμό έχουν τοποθετηθεί σε διάφορα σημεία της πόλης προσκαλώντας τον κόσμο να αφιερώσει λίγο από τον χρόνο του στο διάβασμα. - Οι δρόμοι της Σεούλ γέμισαν μικρές βιβλιοθήκες!
Το project σκοπό έχει να παρακινήσει μικρούς και μεγάλους να ανοίξουν ένα βιβλίο και ευελπιστεί να δημιουργήσει πολλές τέτοιες μικρές βιβλιοθήκες στους δρόμους. Οι κάτοικοι αγκάλιασαν ήδη την προσπάθεια αυτή και συρρέουν στις βιβλιοθήκες για να διαβάσουν αλλά και για να συνδιαλαγούν με συμπολίτες τους μιλώντας περί Τέχνης. - Οι δρόμοι της Σεούλ γέμισαν μικρές βιβλιοθήκες! - Οι δρόμοι της Σεούλ γέμισαν μικρές βιβλιοθήκες! - Οι δρόμοι της Σεούλ γέμισαν μικρές βιβλιοθήκες! - Οι δρόμοι της Σεούλ γέμισαν μικρές βιβλιοθήκες! - Οι δρόμοι της Σεούλ γέμισαν μικρές βιβλιοθήκες! - Οι δρόμοι της Σεούλ γέμισαν μικρές βιβλιοθήκες! - Οι δρόμοι της Σεούλ γέμισαν μικρές βιβλιοθήκες!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Announcing New Language "Arabic" on Europlan Website

We are all delighted to announce that we have added a new language selection to our already multilingual website.

After numerous visits to UAE and the increased interest from the area, we decided that we needed to incorporate Arabic into the language selection. This will enable all our present and future clients from UAE to keep up to date with the latest relevant information from our company.

To date, our website is available in 8 languages including English, Greek, German, French, Chinese, Russian, Italian and now Arabic.  

As a company we believe communication is the key to success and with all the languages that we provide through our website we know that we can provide perfect clarity to all our clients in their own words.

We hope to carry on providing a great service to all of our clients through our website and continue to cater to the ever expanding market that we are currently embracing.

To have a closer look at our website in Arabic, follow the link below:

Introducing the UK's first eco-town

The future of residential construction.

North West Bicester will soon become the UK’s first eco-town, designed to achieve high standards of environmental sustainability, functioning as a phased extension to Bicester. 
Developed primarily by A2Dominion and contracted by Willmott Dixon, it is Stewart Milne Timber Systems who will supply its award winning Sigma II Build System for 91 homes as part of phase one, which will consist of homes which will achieve CSH Level 5.
With the potential for an additional 5,000 homes to join the 393 currently planned, Construction Global caught up with Steward Milne Group’s Director of Product Development, Stewart Dalgarno to discuss the eco-town and its significance.

Construction Global (CG): How does the planned town earn the title of the UK’s first eco town?

Stewart Dalgarno (SD): The development is the first eco-town to adhere to the Government’s original Eco Town Policy Planning Statement and is designed to encourage low carbon living as well as fostering sustainable communities.
Among the notable aspects of the project: very high performance  building fabric, offsite manufacture of materials enables a cost effective and faster speed of build, photovoltaic panels on roofs, rainwater harvesting, high spec landscaping, and with a community feel built into the basic place making design.
Every house will also be heated from a central energy plant meaning no homes require internal boilers.

 CG: What is Stewart Milne Timber System’s role in NW Bicester?

At the core of the energy performance of this development is the homes’ fabric and build systems - that’s where our role in the project comes in. With factories in Aberdeen and Witney, we are both local to the project and very experienced in designing and delivering high quality, high performance homes.
Our Sigma II Build Systems, which will be precision engineered offsite, reduces environmental impact and waste, and will also increase the speed of build, enabling us to keep on track with the ambitious build schedule of roughly four completed homes a week.
We take a fabric first approach to design which ensures we achieve the maximum energy efficiency standards, whilst building in assured performance, in this case, Code level 5. 

CG:  What is the role of timber frame in achieving sustainability?

SD: Timber is a natural carbon sink and is the most sustainable building material available today.  Because energy efficiency is designed into our Sigma II Build System, timber frame homes are better insulated and more energy efficient than conventional methods.
The use of timber systems also allows a high degree of design flexibility allowing many external finishes and house type designs to be achieved.
Our Witney facility is an automated factory which allows for high quality, greater productivity and lower waste.
Furthermore, our highly-streamlined factory processes reduce the amount of waste in the factory and on site, as well as building in assured performance by pre-insulating and air-sealing panel designs.
At Bicester our use of closed panels, which are manufactured offsite and pre-insulated, allow for much quicker construction where homes can be made wind and watertight with 78 hours. This is important given the project is a fast build over a winter build involving a wide mix of different house types, as the closed panel method allows rapid progress and early weather and air tightness with minimum on site waste.

CG: What are the other sustainable features of the buildings/homes themselves?  

SD: We’re using our award winning Sigma II Build System, “195 C-Stud”. This system delivers maximum energy efficiency, excellent heat retention, low thermal bridging and air tightness with a 0.15 U-value.
The party walls and roof will be site insulated and made air tight with membranes, as part of our work package. This, along with conventional roof trusses and insulated flat roof cassettes, means a pair of semi-detached homes can be weather tight, air tight, secure and fully insulated within 72 hours, providing a safe and efficient means to complete the homes on site.
Included among the many sustainable aspects of NW Bicester will be a superior building fabric, PV arrays, combined heat and power, rainwater harvesting, in-home consoles displaying energy and water consumption, real-time information on local public transport and  an electric car club.
Some homes will also have future-adaptable roofs which can be transformed with ease into increased working or living space to improve the life cycle of the buildings and lessen travel requirements. 

CG: What is the latest status of the project and what are the next milestones for Stewart Milne Timber Systems in the coming weeks and months?

SD: The project began at the end of October with construction scheduled to complete in spring 2015. The build programme is approx. four-five homes per week.

CG: How do you see developments like these impacting on the wider housing market, its sustainability and the future of sustainable living?

SD: We hope that projects like Bicester will challenge the perception of what eco homes can be and help to stimulate demand across the UK. One day, I think zero carbon towns and sustainable housing development will be commonplace. I would like to see the housing market in general develop to a point where a fabric first approach is the norm, and not the exception.
One way of incentivising people to consider buying eco-homes would be for the Government to introduce added incentives such as reduced levels of stamp duty and Council Tax, particularly as further pressure to deliver change is likely in the coming years.
In my opinion, low-carbon homes and other buildings are going to take on growing importance in the future, and timber frames’ inherent energy efficiency and structural integrity can play a key role in helping to achieve those objectives. 

Δάθη βυθισμένα στο νερό…

Βυθισμένο δάσος” είναι ένας όρος που χρησιμοποιείται για να περιγράψει τα ερείπια των δέντρων (κυρίως τα πρέμνα δένδρων), που καλύφθηκαν από την άνοδο της στάθμης της θάλασσας. Αυτά τα δάση ήταν συνήθως θαμμένα στη λάσπη, στην τύρφη ή στην άμμο για αρκετές χιλιάδες χρόνια πριν αποκαλυφθούν από την αλλαγή της στάθμης του νερού και τη διάβρωση. Δείτε λοιπόν στη συνέχεια 7 βυθισμένα δάση στον κόσμο…

1. Λίμνη Kaindy, Καζακστάν - Βυθισμένα δάση στον κόσμο!
2. Λίμνη Bezid, Ρουμανία - Βυθισμένα δάση στον κόσμο!
3. Λίμνη Periyar, Ινδία - Βυθισμένα δάση στον κόσμο!
4. Udawalawe, Σρι Λάνκα - Βυθισμένα δάση στον κόσμο!
5. Λίμνη Volta, Γκάνα - Βυθισμένα δάση στον κόσμο!
6. Λίμνη Caddo, Τέξας - Βυθισμένα δάση στον κόσμο!
7. Kampong Pluk, Καμπότζη - Βυθισμένα δάση στον κόσμο!

Παγωμένα “γλυπτά” στη λίμνη της Γενεύης!

Κάθε χρόνο ο χειμώνας αγγίζει τη λίμνη της Γενεύης στην Ελβετία και αφήνει δυνατό το στίγμα του ολόγυρα. Οι χαμηλές θερμοκρασίες παγώνουν τα πάντα και οι εικόνες που αντικρίζουν οι κάτοικοι είναι εκπληκτικές. Μπορεί βέβαια στη θέα τους να θαυμάζουμε αλλά η καθημερινότητα δυσκολεύει πολύ για όλους. - Παγωμένα "γλυπτά" στη λίμνη της Γενεύης!
Ο χιονιάς παγώνει ό,τι βρει στο πέρασμά του και τα πάντα αλλάζουν μορφή. Αυτοκίνητα, δέντρα, βάρκες, παγκάκια, κολόνες καλύπτονται από χοντρό πάγο, ο οποίος σχηματίζει όμορφα μοτίβα ανάλογα με τον άνεμο. Οι εικόνες μιλάνε από μόνες τους, παρουσιάζοντας και φέτος ένα μοναδικό θέαμα παγωμένων γλυπτών… - Παγωμένα "γλυπτά" στη λίμνη της Γενεύης! - Παγωμένα "γλυπτά" στη λίμνη της Γενεύης! - Παγωμένα "γλυπτά" στη λίμνη της Γενεύης! - Παγωμένα "γλυπτά" στη λίμνη της Γενεύης! - Παγωμένα "γλυπτά" στη λίμνη της Γενεύης! - Παγωμένα "γλυπτά" στη λίμνη της Γενεύης! - Παγωμένα "γλυπτά" στη λίμνη της Γενεύης! - Παγωμένα "γλυπτά" στη λίμνη της Γενεύης! - Παγωμένα "γλυπτά" στη λίμνη της Γενεύης!

Έξυπνες χρήσεις παλιών εργαλείων της κουζίνας!

Τα αντικείμενα που υπάρχουν σε κάθε κουζίνα είναι σίγουρα πολλά… Κάποια στιγμή έρχεται φυσιολογικά η ώρα της φθοράς τους και της αντικατάστασης. Αντί να πεταχτούν λοιπόν στον κάλαθο των αχρήστων ή να παροπλιστούν σε κάποιο ντουλάπι, δείτε στη συνέχεια έξυπνες ιδέες για να τα μεταμορφώσετε σε κάτι διαφορετικό και να τα χρησιμοποιήσετε αλλιώς…
1. Τσαγιέρες και κανάτες γλάστρες - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!
2. Κουτάλια-κρεμάστρες - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!
3. Φωτιστικά από σουρωτήρια - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!
4. Φωτιστικά με κουτάλια - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!
5. Κουτάλες-κηροπήγια - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!
6. Φλιτζάνια-γλάστρες - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!
7. Βάση για το tablet - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!
8. Φωτιστικό με τρίφτες - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!
9. Πολυέλαιος από παλιά μπουκάλια κρασιού - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!
10. Φωτιστικά με φλιτζάνια - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!
11. Φελλοί μίνι γλάστρες - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!
12. Πλαστικά μπουκάλια-γλάστρες - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!
13. Αναδευτήρες-ρεσό - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!
14. Πηρούνια-κρεμάστρες - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!
15. Πλάστες-κρεμάστρες - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!
16. Καφετιέρα-τεράριουμ - Ευφάνταστες χρήσεις εργαλείων της κουζίνας!