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Tall buildings fail the sustainability test

Suppose the 800m Burj Dubai tower (NCE 22 November) were of a similar shape but horizontal instead of vertical. The structure and its foundations would be much lighter. The energy used to raise materials, plant and labour to the higher levels would be much less.
After completion, the energy used to raise the occupants, and the water and other consumables needed, to the higher levels would be much less.

As engineers, we have a professional duty to promote sustainable construction and development. Exceptionally tall buildings are a failure in sustainability terms, and I think you ought to have drawn attention to this in your coverage of the Burj Dubai tower. The same applies to your reports on the Chicago towers (NCE 25 October), and on plans for several iconic buildings in London earlier this year.

DAVID DERIAZ (M), david.deriaz@tiscali.co.uk

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