City of gold

Friday 07 Jan 2011

US LEED Gold city centre offers international retail destination and a commitment to sustainability

Strategically located between the Dubai International Airport and the Mirdif residential district, Mirdif City Centre is a reflection of Dubai’s position as an international retail destination and commitment to sustainability. The 230,000 sq m centre’s design is driven by its surrounding environmental factors including infrastructure and transportation systems, and water and energy sources.

As one of the first Middle East retail venues designed to meet US LEED Gold standards, the centre’s architecture combines sustainable design with concepts that reflect the region’s arid but rich landscape. The design incorporates a number of sustainable strategies including native landscaping, shading devices and energy-efficient water and lighting accents that help maximize natural daylight while controlling heat gain.

Mirdif’s interior ‘Desert Villa’ concept is designed as a collection of enclosed and semi-enclosed spaces connected by a series of streets and passages. The centre combines traditional retail, dining, cinema and other leisure components within a two-level retail space that accommodates 430 retail outlets, including eight anchor stores, and a three-level car park with capacity for 7,000 cars.

Anchored by a hypermarket, the centre features a pedestrian plaza interconnecting public spaces that progress from the landscaped entrance through to the core of the centre which provides an indoor oasis from the hot desert climate. The public spaces, designed to accommodate large groups of people for promotional events, rise to three-stories and boast dramatic vaulted ceilings and lighting ornamentation.

Mirdif City Centre adopted sustainable and environmentally friendly construction and design from its inception. The project is predominantly constructed from concrete that provides high-thermal mass coupled with double glazing. The building envelope structure, external walls, floor, glazing and roof are highly efficient in reducing the solar heat gain into the mall. This reduces the size of the cooling plant and therefore the energy demand. The mall’s double glazing has been selected to reduce the solar heat gain while maximizing the daylight transmission.

The mall roof is constructed from 300mm in situ concrete with 120mm of polystyrene insulation and an 80mm concrete screed, which provides a high thermal mass and low thermal transmission. The external roof surface is treated with a special solar reflective white paint which reflects and dissipates the solar heat not only to further reduce the mall’s cooling load, but also to reduce the heat island effect. The mall and retail units are connected to an onsite mini district cooling system which is a highly energy-efficient system for cooling. The district cooling to retail units allow variable factors to be applied which reduce the energy used by the centralized refrigeration plant.

The district cooling plant incorporates variable speed technology including co-efficient performance/efficiency measurement centrifugal chillers, cooling towers and circulating pumps to reduce energy and a variable flow-chilled water distribution system which meets best practice system energy efficiency standards. The chilled water distribution system uses variable flow technology to match supply to demand which reduces the pumping power consumption. Exhaust air is passed through a thermal transfer system which pre-cools the incoming fresh air to reduce the chiller plant energy consumption.

The illumination levels of the mall have been reduced from 500lux to 400lux with low-energy T5 electronic ballasts and compact fluorescent lighting fittings used throughout the structure. Time switch and occupancy controlled lights are also used to significantly reduce the energy consumed for artificial lighting. Materials used in the mall, such as carpets, paints and concrete contain organic compounds and are sourced locally to reduce construction waste and transportation. Other materials such as wood products were sourced from FSC certified suppliers.

Landscaping and nature form key elements within the development. The garden area outside the mall’s main entrance seamlessly integrates with the indoor landscaping through the use of solar reflective glass, which helps to utilize the maximum amount of natural light during the day while at the same time protecting the building from becoming overheated. Native and adaptive plants and a drip irrigation system reduce the water needed for irrigation. Additionally, the cooling tower water comes from a recycled source to minimize the use of potable water.

Key Facts:

Commercial Retail

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