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GEMS school gets thermal energy storage feature

Technology that involves using the building’s structural mass to regulate internal temperatures, has resulted in a 30-50% cut in energy consumption and improved indoor air quality, school says

| | May 4, 2019 | 7:47 pm
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Dubai, UAE, 1 May 2019: GEMS Dubai American Academy has become the first school in the region to win the ‘Best Innovation’ award by MEED for adopting an energy-saving and industry-leading build technology, TermoDeck, establishing it as the first thermal energy storage school of its kind, the school said through a Press communiqué. This follows an agreement with Eco-Structures International, which focuses on providing the best building envelopes and indoor air quality systems, the communiqué said The project was also recognised as the UAE’s Education Project of the Year and as the GCC winner at the recently concluded MEED Project Award under the ‘Best Innovation Category’, the communiqué added.

L-R: Tammy Murphy and Randa Mouammar

Tammy Murphy, Superintendent and CEO, GEMS Dubai American Academy, said: “In the GCC (region), approximately 70% of power is used for air-conditioning alone. With the installation of advanced technology, following our agreement with Eco-Structures, our eco footprint can be significantly reduced, while saving costs and providing students and teachers with the best air quality possible.

“We are also proud to have received the prestigious MEED Project Award, as our project stands for quality, innovation and environmental protection.”


The GEMS Dubai American Academy campus, spread over an area of over 40,000 square metres, includes classrooms, cafeterias, offices, lecture halls, theatres and a gymnasium.

To make the campus more environmentally-friendly, the TermoDeck design concept is being deployed, which uses the building’s structural mass to regulate internal temperatures for a wide spectrum of building types, the communiqué said.

DAA Exterior

Randa Mouammar, Chief Strategy Officer, Eco-Structures, said: “Schools are more likely to have environmental deficiencies and poor indoor environmental quality than other buildings. When TermoDeck was applied to the design of the GEMS Dubai American Academy campus, the total connected load requirements dropped from 7.4 to 4.9 megawatts. In spaces where TermoDeck now operates, there is a design minimum of 50% fresh air circulation during occupancy, and tests show the lowest possible counts for bacteria, mould and fungus.”


DAA Facilities entrance hall

According to the communiqué, tests of the new school environment have indicated stable temperatures without any cold airflows or drafts, and teachers have reported high levels of occupant comfort inside their quietly air conditioned classrooms. Illness-related absence has also been reported to be significantly lower, the communiqué said. During cooler desert nights, the communiqué further said, TermoDeck absorbs the warmth provided by the sun in the daytime, so that indoor temperature remains comfortable and stable, year-round without consuming too much energy.

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