The new Emirates Towers was designed to offer unrivaled flexibility and efficiency to a range of businesses.

The hotel and business center located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf, is among the tallest buildings in the Middle East.

Rising 1,165 ft in height, the office tower, the taller of the two-tower development, provides a suitable environment for Dubai’s emerging high-tech sector. The second tower houses a five-star hotel with 500 rooms, which featuring its own Internet connection and digital video-on-demand. A five-level podium building connects the two towers, incorporating a shopping boulevard covering 96,875 sq ft, including 40 stores and seven food and beverage units over two levels. The entire complex is connected and functions through the latest high-speed fiber optic information technology (IT) network and a fully integrated Metasys® building automation system (bas) by Johnson Controls, Inc.(Milwaukee).

“The vision for Emirates Towers was to create a state-of-the art technological infrastructure which could be scalable to future information and building management technology developments,” says Ivan Brinkley, corporate technical director for Jumeirah International, owner of Emirates Towers.

Scalable Technology Enables Cost-efficient Upgrading

A long-term consideration for Emirates Towers’ officials was that retrofitting and upgrading expenses often represent approximately 50% of the lifetime cost of a building. The ability to upgrade was crucial to ensure that the technology in Emirates Towers remained current. With this in mind early in the planning stage, Emirates Towers’ officials approached the local Johnson Controls office to accept responsibility for the twin-towers system integration and network.

Given the exacting criteria for the towers, Johnson Controls introduced a single-seat operation solution through a total integrated IT and bas infrastructure with about 20 subsystems. Aside from the Metasys system, other major systems include a hotel management system, a facility and property management system, computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) and telecommunications systems, such as digital video-on-demand (live TV, prerecorded programs, and audio), a telephone system, Internet, e-mail services, computer games, and e-commerce capabilities. Life safety systems include fire alarm, closed circuit television (CCTV), and intrusion detection alarms. Presentation media for conference rooms is available with videoconferencing capabilities, an audio system, and projectors.

Physical integration of all the subsystems and applications is achieved through one common IT-network based on ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) and Gigabit Ethernet technology. The network management system handles the high-speed network and its connected devices. The change from a standalone system approach to an integrated system leads to significant changes in the engineering and management processes. The key elements to the Emirates Towers Integrated System concept are the Metasys system, ATM-backbone, and Interactive Guest Multimedia System.

A number of factors made the control system’s installation challenging. Johnson Controls global products marketing manager Terry Hoffman says the location posed some logistical difficulties from the start. “The fact that the equipment had to be shipped from around the world, and that if you don’t have the right plug or if a connection doesn’t work, you’re calling Germany or Sweden, made things a bit interesting,” he says. Additionally, some differences in language and cultures also complicated matters. Workers from outside the country and U.A.E. workers often observe different holy days, so coordinating schedules was sometimes difficult.

An Integration Foundation

The basic platform for the integrated solution is the Ethernet technology and TCP/IP (Internet) compatibility of the Metasys family. This provides the foundation for the integration technology in Emirates Towers. The use of open protocols and standards in the Metasys system ensured that Emirates Tower’s officials were able to choose the best solutions for creating an intelligent building without losing connectivity or features.

With a 23,000-datapoint capacity, the Metasys system takes full advantage of the distributed intelligence concept. Four M5 Graphic-Workstations create the basis for a personal command center at Emirates Towers to manage the entire bas network.

Due to the desert climate in Dubai, one of the major issues in the design was maintaining dependable temperature and mechanical control in the building. Temperatures in the city can reach 120˚F between May and October, dropping to the low 90s the rest of the year, and 110˚ at midnight is not uncommon. If temperature isn’t maintained in the buildings, it could lead to disaffected tenants who don’t renew their leases and dissatisfied hotel patrons. For this reason, all office areas and guestrooms were provided with advanced LonMark™ certified direct digital controls (ddc) controllers connected to the local area network.

One highlight of the system architecture is the various integrations of different low-voltage-systems, including chillers, elevators, and the fire alarm system. A CMMS was integrated for maintenance and facility management. To satisfy the increasing demand for security and property protection, CCTV and an emergency lighting system were integrated. Further integrations to the hotel management system, power monitoring system, and the staff paging system round out the picture of the intelligent building concept.

Emirates Towers’ integrated system package is an ideal solution for today’s sophisticated mixed-use facilities. It provides Internet-based technologies for business and entertainment today while offering the ability to address the demands of the next decade.

“Johnson Controls helped us to refine our building specifications to ensure maximum building performance for today, tomorrow, and throughout the complete lifecycle of the building,” says Brinkley. ES