American University in Cairo’s new campus was designed for efficient energy and water usage.
Most observers would not think of Egypt as an environmental leader. Instead, the smog and litter of Cairo come to mind, or the negative environmental impact of the Aswan Dam. Yet we recently reported here that Egypt ranks No. 1 in the Mideast (and No. 22 in the world) in renewable energy investment potential. Earlier this year, we also featured Cairo’s lush Al-Azhar Park, built on a former garbage dump.
Now comes some more good green tidings from The American University in Cairo (AUC). It seems that considerable environmental planning went into the construction of its new campus in suburban New Cairo, inaugurated last year. AUC’s lastest newsletter describes some of the campus’ environmental features:
• The campus is pedestrian-only. Cars park on the periphery and supplies arrive via electric cars through a 1.6-kilometer underground service tunnel that runs below ground across the entire campus.
• The efficiency of the irrigation network allows AUC to dispense 1,500 cubic meters of water per day for the 260-acre campus – less than half of the average for a property of this size.
• The 27 water fountains on campus are built to increase the level of relative humidity in the dry microclimate. Even evaporated water is not wasted; it plays a major role in cooling the campus.
• The walls of the buildings are constructed according to architectural energy management systems, which reduce air conditioning and heating energy costs by at least 50%.
• About 80% of the external walls on campus are made of sandstone, which helps keep rooms cool during the day and warm at night.
• The orientation of the buildings, as well as the design of indoor and outdoor spaces, has reduced the energy requirements for cooling on campus to 40% of the average.
• AUC generates 30-40% of its power requirements using a co-generation method – a process that reuses produced heat from air conditioning systems that is then augmented with natural gas and converted into electricity.
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