Muscat: A team of students and professors of the GUtech's Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design has designed and planned a pioneering energy-efficient prototype for a residential Ecohouse villa.
The launch of the construction of the GUtech EcoHaus was celebrated at the campus in Halban yesterday, under the auspices of Sheikh Abdullah Salim Al Salmi, member of the Board of Governors and the Board of Directors of GUtech, besides Hans-Christian Freiherr von Reibnitz, the German Ambassador to the Sultanate.
"Saving energy is an issue all around the world. Eco houses have become a standard in Germany now. Today we can witness the construction of the first of its kind in Oman. The project brings together German expertise and Omani building traditions. It also brings local products to the forefront as well as German and European companies showing their innovations," said the German Ambassador.
The design is based on a student project, and was carried out as per professional levels with the help of professors, graduates, consultants, and companies.
"The EcoHaus project shows GUtech's idea of a university. We always want to find links between teaching, research, and execution, and here is an excellent example of such a project," said Prof. Modigell, Rector of GUtech.
The EcoHouse uses different strategies to reduce the demand for energy, generate its own electricity supply, and further reduce the embedded energy in materials, water, and planting.
This set of strategies, which can be replicated in any other project, consists of compact volume, optimal orientation, natural ventilation, protective envelope, thermal zoning, radiant cooling, recovered energy, efficient appliances, solar power, recyclable materials, natural water treatment, and native plants. "After a year of planning, it is great to now see the building coming up day by day.
This progress on the site is a common achievement of everyone involved – consultants, companies, contractors, craftsmen, The Research Council, GUtech, and of course our students. Only through having all these parties on board can we make the project work," said Associate Prof. Nikolaus Knebel, team leader of the EcoHaus project at GUtech.
"The project is on schedule, and even though it involves trying out new ways of building, we are optimistic about finishing the building in time, because we have established a good working relationship between the contractor, Rownak Al A'asma, GUtech staff and students, and companies which are donating material for the project," said Daniel Jung of New Innovative Technologies and construction manager for the EcoHaus.
"We were part of the student group that did the initial design for the EcoHaus in the class of Assoc. Prof. Martin Werminghausen. Since then, we could experience first-hand the progress of planning and construction. Throughout the last semester break, we did an internship with the team, and also had regular site visits to learn from the project happening on our campus," says Amna Al Shaji, BSc-Student in Urban Planning and Architectural Design.