By Mark Anderson, CH2M HILL Senior Technologist and Project Manager, will be presenting on this topic (co-authored by  CH2M HILL employees Jared Thorpe,  Juchun (Jean) Hsieh, Mark A. Anderson, and Jay Witherspoon) at the World Environmental and Water Resources Congress (EWRI) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Wednesday, May 23, from 1:30 – 3:00 pm.

 Several countries on the Arabian Peninsula, particularly Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar, are investing heavily in developing leading edge cities that embody a holistic view toward resource management of water, energy and carbon.

To meet these goals in a financially viable manner, both horizontal and vertical infrastructure must be considered. This consideration is necessary to optimize the combined infrastructure elements, greatly reducing water and energy demands, and resulting in the lowest “cost viable” carbon footprint. This consideration also allows for a comprehensive system evaluation of the cost impacts for sustainable designs and key performance indicator attainment when picking a green building certification program.

Most green certification programs have not truly estimated costs for each certification level, cost range within a certification level, nor the overall life cycle costs analysis (LCA), capital expenditures and operational expenditure impacts for each level. In one costing example, significant variation exists between two green building certification programs as well as in certification level costs and the cost premiums above business as usual (BAU) in the Middle East. In one case, the cost of compliance is nearly double the cost of BAU.

The comparison to BAU is important, since many green programs and desires can cost a tenant or company out of being part of the sustainable city when looking at BAU rental rates surrounding the city.  The same analysis can be applied to redevelopment in existing cities.

For Capital District in the UAE, a planned city of nearly 400,000 people, and two other planned cities on the Arabian Peninsula, CH2M HILL’s object-oriented dynamic (time dependent) simulation model (Voyage™) was developed to integrate infrastructure and building supply and demands with development phasing and seasonal system variations. The model is designed to calculate LCA and carbon footprints, and provide an optimized technology solution to meet business case economic considerations, incorporating total water management principles to manage the urban water cycle.

Tools and strategies applied in these planned cities show how the water–energy nexus and supply and demand relationships can be optimized to meet an economic goal, and how powerful an integration model can be for completing scenario planning and developing phasing strategies to investigate cost and infrastructure needs over an extended development period. During my World Environmental and Water Resources Congress presentation I will share more information about these tools and strategies being utilized for Capital District, and how they can be applied to other planned cities to achieve sustainable resource management of water, energy and carbon.

Mr. Anderson is a senior technologist and project manager based in Portland, Oregon. He has more than 12 years of experience in urban infrastructure systems planning, design and construction and has performed a variety of engineering and project management roles for public and private clients. He is the Global Technology Leader for Resource Systems Analysis.