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Kent State Students Visit United Arab Emirates University

Posted June 20, 2011 | Khaled A. Al-Sallal, Ph.D.
United Arab Emirates
Dr. Adil Sharag-Eldin, associate professor at Kent State’s
College of Architecture and Environmental Design, speaks
to a class at the United Arab Emirates University in Al-Ain city.

The architectural engineering department of the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) collaborated with Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design and the International Building Performance Simulation Association United Arab Emirates chapter (IBPSA-UAE) to stage a successful Zero Net-Energy Design Gallery and Seminar in the new campus of the UAEU in Al-Ain city.

The event included three major activities: a public lecture and discussion on Zero Net-Energy (ZNE) Design, a gallery of student projects from the two participating universities, and a student tour of historical sites and traditional architecture of Al-Ain city. It also saw the first public appearance of IBPSA-UAE’s new student chapter, which has been set up by the UAEU architectural engineering students with support from IBPSA-UAE. Adil Sharag-Eldin, Ph.D., associate professor at Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, and nine of his students were invited and played a vital role. Sharag-Eldin is also a board member at Green Energy Ohio and a research coordinator. Khaled Al-Sallal, Ph.D., associate professor of architectural engineering at UAEU and president of IBPSA-UAE, and his students, welcomed the visitors at the Al-Jahili Fort, Al-Ain city’s most prestigious historical site.

The main highlight of the event was the lecture on Zero Net Energy Design: A Didactic Primer given by the invited speaker Sharag-Eldin. This was attended by more than 60 academic, professional and student delegates. The lecture emphasized the need to take a holistic approach to ZNE design and addressed energy efficiency, healthy environment and depletion of natural resources. It also discussed how integrated strategies for achieving energy efficiency and sustainable sites can have a major impact on our communities. It gave an insight into the importance of building performance modeling and simulation and the need to shift to performance-oriented design process and tools.

The students’ design works gallery was another successful highlight. More than 25 projects were exhibited, and the students of both universities had the chance to explain their projects and learn from each other’s experiences. During lunch time and breaks, they were able to exchange opinions and socialize, and the Kent State students had an opportunity to tour the UAEU’s new campus and take photographs of its climatic-responsive architecture, designed for the hot arid conditions of the UAE.

The third highlight of the event was the faculty and students’ tour of the historical sites and traditional architecture of Al-Ain city. Al-Sallal and the UAEU-AE students took the Kent State visitors to Al-Jahili Fort to tour the building and examine its traditional construction and materials. They also visited the Dawn of History exhibition, which was adjacent to the Fort. This displayed ancient archaeological remains, spanning 10,000 years of history, which were excavated in Abu Dhabi by a Danish team between 1958 and 1972. From there, they proceeded to Al-Ain Palace Museum, which was the residence of the former president of the UAE (the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nhyan) between 1937 and 1966, and had a glimpse of how people lived at that time.

This article was written by Khaled A. Al-Sallal, Ph.D., associate professor of architectural engineering at United Arab Emirates University. It first appeared in the newsletter of the International Building Performance Simulation Association.