Low carbon commercial towers may one day become a reality in Dubai thanks to international consultants Atkins, whose Middle East operation is currently undertaking the concept design for ‘The Lighthouse’, located in the heart of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).In setting a new benchmark for Dubai, the 400-metre luxury office tower aspires to be a low carbon commercial building which aims to reduce its total energy consumption by up to 65% and water consumption by up to 40%. This will be achieved through the use of passive solar architecture, many low energy, low water engineering solutions, recovery strategies for both energy and water and building integrated renewables – including large scale wind turbines and photovoltaics. During the development of the design Atkins will map and manage the embodied energy content of the building and select materials from sustainable sources, so that impact on global resources is controlled. Already this is leading designers to consider a steel frame solution for this structure.Additionally, features such as floorplates interconnected by micro-atria and the inclusion of inter connecting vertical gardens are being actively considered to enhance the social aspects of this building.From the early stages of the project, Atkins will work closely with DIFC to establish and rigorously evaluate options for achieving a low carbon building before making final recommendations. Inspired by the rectilinear context and simple minimalist lines of the existing DIFC precinct, as well as the client’s requirement of creating a ‘lighthouse’ for DIFC, the building generates active energy through three integrated 29m diameter wind turbines. To optimise performance and operational periods, the turbines have windward directional wind vanes or limited yaw and the spandrel glazing sections of the south facing vertical façade incorporate 4000 photo voltaic panels.This unique building, with a total construction area of 140,000 sq m, will become a working prototype for low carbon towers within the region and a model for more sustainable developments in the future.Features: 400m high; 66-storey commercial office tower; three 29m diameter, 225 KV wind turbines; 4000 PV spandrel panels; 84,000 sq m of commercial space as well as basement and podium parking, convention centres, retail, environmental visitor centre and a park connecting to the DIFC central spine.