The ambition of the Middle East to adopt models of green buildings

With growing international concern about global warming, the construction industry in the Middle East has begun to witness a shift towards more sustainable construction as part of broader efforts to address the high levels of hydrocarbon gases in the region’s economy. To cross the border of billions.

In the Middle East, where this industry is booming, everyone is aware of the seriousness of the effects of carbon emissions that are harmful to the environment, and especially the Gulf countries realize that the per capita share of these emissions is among the highest in the world, and therefore they believe in their leading role in taking effective measures to reduce this phenomenon.

Both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and 2060, respectively, and this came with a serious effort to make the construction industry more sustainable and environmentally friendly. In terms of energy use, focusing on renewable energy has naturally become a necessity and is no longer an option if we want to achieve regional environmental goals.

To understand the extent of the impact of the construction industry and its contribution to the increase of carbon emissions, suffice it to say that it accounts for approximately 40% of total emissions in the world, and at the same time, the annual production of Cement alone reaches 4 billion , which is equal to 8% of gas emissions, and also we can not ignore the percentage of energy consumption from residential and commercial properties in the Middle East, as it exceeds the percentages consumed in other regions of the world. , mainly due to the nature of the weather in the region and the heat intensity that increases the rate of glass use and the great dependence on air conditioners as shown by the studies of the regional environmental institute EcoMENA.

As part of its work to address the effects of carbon footprint in the construction sector, leading companies in this field are working harder than ever to achieve sustainable practices, and among these practices can be seen the use of renewable energy, recyclable materials . , and reducing energy and waste consumption in the construction process, in addition to increasing the use of solar panels and insulation technologies.

As EcoMENA reports, the construction model in the Middle East today focuses on the application of environmentally friendly architecture models and sustainable construction practices, with green building designs emerging as a top priority in the region. For example, Dubai’s 3D printing strategy aims to ensure a quarter of home buildings by 2030 will be built using technology, reducing construction waste and materials transportation costs, and Saudi Arabia has set similar ambitious goals to build 1.5 million homes using innovative technologies like 3D printing and robotics. By 2030 it has already established more than 40 factories focusing on these technologies in construction.

Although there are concerns about the high cost of green buildings, Construction Week (Construction Week) that contractors in the Middle East, such as Acciona of Spain and ASGC of the UAE, are demonstrating through their efforts the importance of having social and environmental awareness that provides a business model that supports sustainable and profitable construction in the same time.

Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have made great strides in developing sustainable and energy-efficient buildings, including dozens of projects that have been certified by the internationally recognized green design rating system. LEED (LEED), and the American Council on Green Building identified several projects last year, including the King Salman Energy Complex in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. In addition, work is underway to create a developing industrial city covering an area of ​​50 square miles, where the Council commended its outstanding commitment to developing sustainable construction solutions.

Inside, Saudi Arabia recently launched its own green building appraisal system with a focus on water and energy conservation following similar laws in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where all new building projects must comply.

To know the level of compliance in the development of a city like Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, it is enough to know that buildings should be built using low carbon cement, 90% recycled aluminum and dramatically reduce energy and water consumption .

Today we can say that the biggest engine of sustainable construction in the region is the vision strategy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 2030, which is a clear and ambitious effort to diversify and maintain the Kingdom economy based on hydrocarbons. achieving these goals, the strategy adopts a wide range of projects for renewable energy and environmental protection. As well as promoting the design of green buildings in new real estate, infrastructure and urban areas, we can point to an example of this $ 500 billion NEOM city, which was designed to be the world’s first zero-carbon city .

However, it will urge the government to move towards more environmentally friendly construction across the region and support local top leaders to further this trend. Acceptance indicators look pretty good in this regard, according to a Honeywell survey of 300 business executives and decision makers in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, 84% of respondents said energy management and sustainability are of paramount importance. for their organizations. Many of them said that its importance has increased recently.

One of the business leaders who strongly advocates sustainable construction practices is Mishaal Bin Omairah, CEO of Abdullah Al Othaim Investment Group, a leading developer, developer and operator of shopping malls in Saudi Arabia; Its complexes attract fifty million visitors a year.

Bin Amira, who has previously worked for some of the UK’s largest companies, seeks to make Al Othaim the region’s leading shopping and entertainment destination for both tenants and buyers, and this approach reflects the company’s commitment to social development. and economic of the Kingdom. in line with Saudi Arabia’s vision for 2030.

Bin Amira is also committed to ensuring that all of the company’s existing and new assets comply with the highest standards of sustainability and as stated: “As we have invested in people with some of the most advanced human resource policies in the region of MENA, we prioritize environmental protection and energy efficiency in our approach. ” Construction and Construction Administration.

“The government is committed to achieving the goals of climate change and as a corporate entity with strong local roots for the family business, Al-Othaim seeks to play a key role in efforts to secure a sustainable future for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region as a whole. ”

The beginnings of the Middle East shift to renewable energy have grabbed headlines recently as hydrocarbon production dominates the Gulf economy, but the green revolution that is clearly taking shape in the construction industry is just as important – and could significantly reduce carbon footprint in the region.

This article was published in the newspaper EUthinkTank on March 31 this year, in which the author examines the transition to more sustainable construction in the region.

Written by: Mishaal bin Amira

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