Highest possible rating on a retrofit of an existing building
19 January 2022, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Heriot-Watt University’s Dubai campus at Dubai Knowledge Park has been awarded Gold status by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED, the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Gold certification is the second highest level of LEED certification, and the highest possible certification that can be achieved on a retrofit of an existing building. The campus is designed to serve nearly 4,000 students and occupies 218,000 square feet distributed over seven floors, with eight different types of teaching spaces.
Commenting on this achievement, Lynda Johnstone, Global Director for Estates and Facilities at Heriot-Watt University said, “Our vision for the Dubai campus was to create a workplace that is safe and healthy and promotes improved health and productivity. Several studies have found that there is a clear link between the design of the building and employee health, and at the Dubai campus, we have done our best to undertake a holistic approach that takes into account efficient use of resources, good indoor environmental air quality, the use of non-toxic, sustainable, and ethical materials and more, all of which supports health and wellbeing. After all, we spend most of our waking hours at our workplaces, and we strongly believe that every single human being has the right to a workplace that has a positive effect on the occupants.”
According to Ross Trivett, General Manager at Khansaheb, “We are delighted that HWU has achieved LEED Gold. The project exemplifies what is possible when all stakeholders collaborate towards achieving sustainability goals and is testament to our commitment to creating places that balance our environmental obligations within the community and economy.’’
Paul Ludlam, Director and Head of Fit Out UAE at JLL Project & Development Services further added, “We are thrilled to have been part of this successful project and lead all phases from project inception through to project completion and occupation including LEED services. Obtaining the LEED Gold certificate was the culmination of the efforts of all the teams involved and it further demonstrates Heriot-Watt’s commitment to provide healthy and sustainable spaces for its students and employees. Now with the world emerging from the pandemic, it is even more important to prioritize occupant health and plan for a green and sustainable future for everyone.”
LEED uses a points system, and projects pursuing certification earn points for green building strategies across several categories. Based on the number of points achieved, a project earns one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.
There were several factors that helped Heriot-Watt University’s Dubai campus qualify for gold. Some key metrics that were achieved were:
- 46% reduction in water use compared to LEED’s baseline water consumption
- 94% of all equipment and appliances in the new campus are Energy Star compliant and optimize energy performance
- 34% reduction in lighting power consumption compared to ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1–2010’s baseline rates to optimize energy performance
- 98% of the lighting load is connected to occupancy sensors in order to optimize energy performance
- 63% of the lighting load is connected to daylight sensors in order to optimize energy performance
With sustainability being one of the main pillars for the design and implementation of the project, the campus includes facilities such as bicycle parking racks, water-efficient fixtures, demand-controlled ventilation for HVAC equipment, use of environmentally friendly construction materials and more. The campus is also in the process of implementing a green cleaning policy, that will ensure that levels of chemical, biological, and particulate contaminants that can compromise air quality, human health and the environment are reduced.
Heriot-Watt University’s Dubai campus is the only campus in the UAE to have achieved a gold certification. Additionally, it is also the only one of Heriot-Watt University’s five global campuses to have achieved this.
LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building types and building phases, it provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. Today, LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership.