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KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia

What is the LEED Certification?

KAUST (The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology), is the largest LEED Platinum project (September 24, 2009), occupying about 496.000 sq meters. This international research facility was founded by Aramco energy corporation. Construction works were finished in 2009. Project architect is HOK Architects, the main goal of which was to found an efficient, sustainable and energy-saving campus. Though the cost of electricity in Saudi Arabia is low, the administration of KAUST decided to include the concept of efficient energy consumption, as the founders of the campus wanted it to be a vivid example for similar buildings in the region. One important challenge for construction team was the humid and hot climate of the site. The building features an enormous roof, which reminds of Bedouin tents and provides the building with natural ventilation. Solar wind towers absorb solar heat.

Due to unique design, the building is shaded and passively cooled. Besides, the precise analysis of wind direction from the Red Sea helped designers to use wind as a means of cooling. The campus is 800 meters from the university town and gives its visitors an opportunity to use alternative means of transportation, such as biking or walking. The energy savings in the building is evaluated 27.1%. With the help of strategies for water conservation - low-flow showers, waterless toilets and irrigation systems - water demand is reduced by 40%. Approximately 38% of building materials (mainly stone and concrete) are recycled.

By Astghik Atabekyan,



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