Towards the middle of this year it looked like the continuous climb of energy prices was finally going to get people focused on improving, monitoring and comparing energy efficiency in buildings. Tall buildings, in particular, are major users of energy, simply because of the concentration of people within a given volume, and there is a real need for the users, operators and designers of these buildings to understand how much energy they use. Unfortunately actual energy data on buildings is still very difficult to come by, although legislation in places such as Europe is forcing building operators to declare their energy usage. This is leading to increased competition between operators to improve energy efficiency set new performance standards.
Unfortunately the recent drop in oil prices has reinforced the view that we are still in the era of cheap and plentiful fuel, and some companies/countries are even talking about putting their sustainable agenda on hold. This would be a mistake; as we will eventually have to understand that we have already passed Peak Oil, and when the world economy returns, energy prices have the potential to skyrocket. The short term fall in energy costs presents a false sense of security, however it also is an opportunity for some developers to make their building profile more sustainable which will have long term benefits.
We are very pleased that this final newsletter of 2008 coincides with the issue of the CTBUH Journal 2008 Issue 3. We have now managed to achieve our goal of printing three editions per year, and with each edition we have had a notable increase in quality. The Journal is fast becoming recognized as the best multi-disciplinary publication whose focus is on the technical issues associated with tall buildings and their place in the urban habitat. The success of the Journal is dependant on the quality of the articles that are submitted to us, and all members are invited to contribute. To reflect our increasing focus on sustainability we plan to feature articles on the sustainable refurbishment of tall buildings in future issues of the Journal and all members are invited to participate. It is sobering to consider that buildings consume some 30~40% of the world’s energy. While new buildings tend to be increasingly sustainable and energy efficient, one of the big challenges that the world faces is to improve the performance of its existing building stock. Even on buildings completed within the last 10 years, diligent operators have managed to create energy savings of 30~50%, by improving operations and by improving systems. We have a lot to learn from such examples.
The Council is very pleased that the members of our Sustainability Working Group, under the leadership of Sadhu Johnston and Antony Wood, are making significant progress in their objective of describing the issues of tall buildings and sustainability. Also in line with the Council’s sustainable objectives, we are planning for our next affiliate conference to focus on the issues of sustainable urban planning and issues of sustainability that are best considered on a city or mega-project scale. This conference is scheduled for May 2009 and will be located in Mumbai.
At this time of year the Council recognizes several exceptional tall building projects and some exceptional tall building designers in our annual Awards program. This year the Council has expanded its awards program to reflect the growing interest in tall buildings in all regions of the world. I would like to congratulate all the winners and all the runners up in our 2008 annual tall building awards. We had a record attendance at our awards dinner on 20th November – 240 people – who joined the winning teams that had flown in from Shanghai, Bahrain, London and New York to celebrate the ‘Best Tall Building Awards’, and to honor the considerable lifetime achievements of Cesar Pelli and Bill Baker. The design and construction of these tall buildings is an enormous collaborative effort between architects, engineers, builders and developers; and most of us involved in the industry are extremely proud, pleased and committed to giving our best to these projects. I would particularly like to congratulate Cesar and Bill for their overall and individual achievements in the tall building industry. Both Cesar and Bill have helped to shape the skylines of the world and we are pleased to recognize this with the Lynn Beedle Medal and the Fazlur Kahn Medal respectively. The Council is also pleased to congratulate Sabah Al Rayes and Jim Forbes who have been elected as Fellows of the Council, in recognition of the hard work that they have given to the Council and the many years of support.
Also a first was the inaugural ‘Best Tall Buildings 2008’ book produced by CTBUH in conjunction with Elsevier which was distributed at the dinner. This will be the first in a series produced each year. Also taking place on the day was the work underpinning our new ‘Podcast’ initiative, with interviews with Shaun Killa of Atkins Dubai, Larry Ng from Pelli Clark Pelli, and Eugene Kohn and Bill Pedersen of KPF speaking together. Watch for the footage from this which will be hitting your computer screens in the New Year.
For a year which began in event terms with our 8th World Congress Dubai in early March and has finished with the 7th Annual Awards dinner, 2008 will be marked as a fantastic year for the Council. Although, of course, the worldwide economic crisis now puts continued growth under threat, the tripling of our membership base in the past two years has allowed a significant expansion of staff at CTBUH HQ. The final members of the new team will be joining us at the start of 2009 so look out for an introduction to them early in 2009. In the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, please visit the Council website: www.ctbuh.org to enjoy the fruits of our labors over the past 12 months – a new free-to-download image database, ‘tallest’ lists from around the world, a video library, design research projects, international tall buildings news features updated every day, and the wealth of technical papers etc which have been the stock trade of CTBUH for many years. We will be celebrating our 40th Anniversary next year, since our founding in 1969. Please watch this space for an even-more impressive line-up of outputs and events from the world’s leading multi-disciplinary body in the field of tall buildings!
All the best for 2009.