[TECHNOLOGY] Baharain is Back To The Future

Developers in Bahrain are stepping back in time using a traditional method of air-conditioning a home to provide wind power generation in one of the island's latest towering projects.

Eight thousand lights in the planned BD35 million Orchid Plaza will be powered by employing an adapted 'badgir' or Bahraini 'wind-catcher' also called a 'badqeer'.

Orchid Developers believe it will be the world's tallest electricity-generating wind tower. Orchid Plaza, a 47-storey apartment building comprising 365 apartments will commence construction next month and will take three years to complete.

The badgir will be built on top of Orchid Plaza thus giving the tower a unique standing in the property market of Bahrain.

Situated near Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa Bridge which connects Juffair to Hidd, the tower is one of the several freehold properties that Orchid Developers has successfully launched on the island.

[TECHNOLOGY] Baharain is Back To The FutureThe blueprints of Orchid Plaza were finalised and the building was launched four months ago but the concept of the wind tower was only conceived last week by the owner of Orchid Developers, Dr Bashar Ahmadi.

He said: "It is a simple concept that has been used to cool homes in Bahrain in the past. But we are using the concept to generate electricity which will eventually be used to operate approximately 8,000 lights in the building. Apart from being cost effective, the concept is an amalgamation of the tradition and the modern - traditional technique in a modern environment."

Badgir was a traditional device used for many centuries to create natural ventilation in buildings and homes.

The tall chimney like structure was a natural air-conditioner which used wind from four directions and channelled it down into the house.

To this day, badgirs can be seen on the rooftops of old houses and buildings in parts of Muharraq and Manama and the tourist attraction Beit Shaikh Isa in Muharraq is a popular example of a badgir in a Bahraini home.

The 21st Century wind-catching tower will be built on the rooftop of Orchid Plaza, 230 metres above the ground and will be eight metres by nine metres and will stand at the height of a five-storey building.

Orchid Developers team is employing the assistance of University of Bahrain's engineering department to design the wind tower and details regarding the size of turbines, theory of generating electricity and the electro-mechanical side of the wind tower is presently under scrutiny.

"Apart from giving Orchid Plaza the competitive edge in the market by building the tallest wind tower in the world, for the first time ever badgir will be used to generate electricity while in the past it has only been used as a natural air-conditioner.

"Since Orchid Plaza will have an additional advantage of being quite high and close to the open sea with no tall buildings in its vicinity, badgir will be particularly effective as it will be able to use wind from all four directions," said Dr Ahmadi.

This concept is likely to make it even more efficient in generating power from wind than the celebrated turbines attached to the World Trade Centre in Manama. Adding superlatives is an attention-grabber like the superlative hungry Dubai but Orchid Developers is doing more than just that.

Utilising an age-old Bahraini tradition will prove to be an energy saver which will be the hallmarks of the ultra modern Orchid Plaza which will house studios, one and two bedrooms duplex and loft-style apartments.

Source: Daily News Week

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