Green Buildings Certification in MENA – Issues and Challenges

Green building rating systems are increasingly gaining attention in the building industry in the MENA region. During the last 15 years, there has been a regional trend in developing and applying green building ratings systems. In several countries such systems have been developed in an attempt to follow the international green movement. For example, the Pearl Building Rating System (PBRS) was founded in UAE in 2007, the Green Pyramid (GPRS) and ARZ Building Rating System in Egypt and Lebanon respectively were founded in 2008, the Edama was proposed in Jordan in 2009 and Qatar Sustainability Assessment System (QSAS) was founded in 2010.  … Continue reading

Green Career Tips by Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar, Founder of EcoMENA, talks to Bhavani Prakash of Green Collar Asia about cleantech industry trends, and offers tips for professionals trying to enter renewable energy and waste management sectors. This interview was originally published on www.greencollarasia.com and is being republished with the kind permission of Bhavani Prakash.  Green Collar Asia: How did you become so interested in renewable energy and waste management technologies? Salman Zafar: I am a chemical engineer by education. After completing my Master’s degree program in 2004, I got the opportunity to work as a Research Fellow on large-scale biogas power projects which initiated me into waste management/bioenergy sector. During the course … Continue reading

Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air pollution is considered as one of the top environmental risks to public health worldwide due to increasing number of building-related illnesses. Studies have found that concentration of indoor pollutants is significantly higher indoors than they are in outdoor environment, which is two to five times and sometimes hundred times higher than outdoor levels. As most of the people spend 80% to 90% of their lives indoor, indoor air quality has significant implication on sustainability. Decreased indoor air quality can affect quality of life of the building occupant, increase health risks and increase the liability for building owner, decrease … Continue reading

Green SMEs in Middle East: Obstacles and Challenges

With ‘green’ being the buzzword across all industries, greening of the business sector and development of green skills has assumed greater importance all over the world, and Middle East is no exception. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in eco-design, green architecture, renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainability are spearheading the transition to green economy across a wide range of industries. Green SME sector in the Middle East has been growing steadily, albeit at a slower pace than anticipated.  Regulations One of the major obstacles in the progress of green SMEs in the Middle East the has been poorly-designed regulation. According … Continue reading

EcoMENA – Vision and Mission

The MENA region is plagued by a host of issues including water scarcity, waste disposal, food security, industrial pollution and desertification. Providing free access to quality information and knowledge-based resources motivates youngsters in a big way. EcoMENA provides encouragement to masses in tackling major environmental challenges by empowering them with knowledge and by providing them a solid platform to share their views with the outside world. Salman Zafar, Founder of EcoMENA, talks to the Florentine Association of International Relations (FAIR) about the vision, aims, objectives and rationale behind the creation of EcoMENA. The original version of the interview can be viewed … Continue reading

Connected Vehicles – Enabling Green Transport

Connected vehicles technology is a wireless-based technology which enables vehicles (light as well as heavy) to instantly communicate with each other, through an onboard installed device that receives warning signals ahead of time about road closures, pile-ups and other potential hazards related to weather conditions. Connected vehicle aims to enable safe, inter-operable networked wireless communications among vehicles, the infrastructure, and passengers’ personal communications devices. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) defines this revolutionary technology as achieving “cleaner air through smarter transportation.” DOT, in coordination with major automakers and other public and private sector innovators, has been working to advance … Continue reading

Environmental Conservation and International Solidarity

Environment is a global public good and a prerequisite for the enjoyment of human rights. Environment has no respect for international boundaries and borders, and belongs to all countries and peoples. However the capacity of environment is limited and a common issue for the entire mankind is to conserve this limited global environment so that all people on earth (and coming generations) can enjoy a healthy life. Right to Healthy Environment The right to a healthy and sustainable environment is getting increasing importance in the light of climate change concerns. With fast-changing geo-political situations and ever-increasing conflicts, conservation of the … Continue reading

Smart Grid – Key to Managing Energy Demand in Saudi Arabia

Electricity consumption in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been climbing steadily for the past few decades. Saudi electricity market is growing at an accelerating rate due to higher consumption rates in the private, commercial and industrial sectors. Current domestic energy consuming behaviors pose unescapable fatal consequences that affect both the Kingdom’s production and export levels. Therefore, an urgent action is needed to curb the increasing electricity demand and promote energy conservation. Smart grid is a dynamic solution which can bridge the gap between the current supply and increasing demand in Saudi Arabia. What is Smart Grid? A smart grid network … Continue reading

Polylactic Acid – An Emerging Bioplastic

During the last decade, the movement towards biobased products has increased dramatically as a result of increasing environment awareness and high increase in fossil fuel prices. Polylactic Acid (PLA) is an eco-friendly polymer derived from lactic acid which can be produced by fermentation of renewable resources. It is a new type of biocompatible material produced from utilizing lactic acid as monomer. Since lactic acid is a non-toxic component, which exists in human metabolism, PLA is safe polyester for human-related applications. In comparison to traditional plastics, PLA has great potential in the plastic market. Petroleum-based plastic takes hundreds of year to biologically … Continue reading

Cleantech Investment by AfDB

The African Development Bank, through its public and private sector departments, is currently implementing several clean energy projects and programs to address these priorities particularly in the energy and forestry sectors. The Bank's energy portfolio currently stands at about USD2 billion. The AfDB provides two lending windows. The first is a public window, with mostly concessional funds available to governments. The second is a private window, which offers debt and equity on commercial terms.  The World Bank Group and the African Development Bank are in the process of applying to the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) Trust Fund Committee for use … Continue reading

#InspireMENA – Storytelling on Sustainable Development in MENA

Over 350 million people live in MENA and share Arabic as a common language. To date, there is very little literature in Arabic about sustainable development in general and specifically on the United Nation’s new global goals and the associated agencies and initiatives. More than half of that population is below 25 and is currently going through a lot in terms of political, economic, and social change. Despite all of this, those young people are innovating and making positive change in their communities. It is of utmost importance to support such impact with credible information, more visibility for success stories, … Continue reading

سيارات تتحدث مع بعضها

تعد تقنية السيارة "المتواصلة لاسلكيًا" إحدى التقنيات الحديثة اللاسلكية، التي تمنح السيارة (الصغيرة والكبيرة) بأن تتواصل لاسلكيًا مع بعضها بعضا بواسطة تقنية (كمبيوترية) متصلة بها، بإستطاعتها أن يستطلع (أوضاع) الطريق للسائق (لاسلكيا) قبل الوصول إلى الوجهة المطلوبة، مثال ذلك الطرق المغلقة أو المكتظة، وكذلك تقليل الأخطار المترتبة من تقلبات الظروف المناخية.  كما تهدف السيارات المتواصلة لاسلكيا؛ للاستفادة من الاتصالات اللاسلكية بين المركبات أثناء عملها، وكذلك البنية التحتية وأجهزة اتصال الركاب. هذا و تُعرّف إدارة النقل الأمريكية هذه التقنية الحديثة " بأنها الحصول على جودة هواء أفضل عبر تقنية وسائل النقل الذكية" ويكون ذلك بالتنسيق مع مصانع السيارات وغيرها من القطاعات … Continue reading