Hydro opened its new test center for tailor-made energy-efficient façade solutions for warm climates in Qatar on Monday.
"In Qatar the climate is hot and humid. In addition, there is a lot of sand and sun. We will use the new test center to investigate which façade solutions are best suited for low-energy buildings in Qatar," says Hydro Executive Vice President Hilde Merete Aasheim, who officially opened the center, which is located on the same property as Hydro's joint-venture aluminium plant, Qatalum.
Hydro develops energy-efficient façade solutions in aluminium and has many customers in Qatar. Several of these attended the opening ceremony, and got to see how Hydro tests various solutions for cooling, lighting and ventilation in Qatar's demanding climate.
The guests also toured the Qatalum plant before participating in a seminary on energy-efficient buildings.
Energy-efficient façade solutions employ a number of elements such as ventilation systems, sun shading, solar energy components, and sensors and motors – all of which demand a large number of aluminium extrusion types.
Aluminium is often used because it is easy to shape and is endlessly recyclable. Hydro has test centers for energy-efficient façade solutions in Toulouse, France, and Ulm, Germany – and now Qatar.
In addition, Hydro is a partner in Powerhouse, a concept for developing buildings that produce more energy than they consume. Powerhouse currently has two projects in Norway – a new construction in Trondheim and a renovation of an office building near Oslo.
"The climatic conditions in Norway and Qatar couldn't be more different, so the solutions will be different. That's why is it important to test the façade solutions in various conditions," Aasheim says.
"Whether we're in Norway, Qatar or elsewhere in the world, the potential to reduce building-related energy consumption and emissions is huge. So we have to take action."
About 40 percent of global energy consumption is related construction and use.