Sickness of Buildings – Causes, Risks and Solutions

Environment is not only important for its own sake, but also as a resource for healthier living conditions and well-being. Poor environmental quality and its current and future impact on human health is a significant concern worldwide. Air pollution causes significant health problems. In fact, knowledge about the links between health and air quality has considerably improved in the last few decades. According to a WHO report, more than 30% of new and renovated buildings worldwide may generate severe complaints related to indoor air quality. What is Sick Building Syndrome Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is used to describe situations in which … Continue reading

Water Conservation Strategies for Middle East

To deal with freshwater management challenges in the Middle East, it is important to bring a balance between both water supply and demand side. This can be done by employing strategies to increase water efficiency and conservation. Water conservation strategies for the Middle East include reducing the use of potable water where possible, find alternative source of water for various water usage and increase the water efficiency of fixtures and equipments.  Efficient strategies along with water monitoring that tracks water consumption and identifies problems can significantly reduce both indoor and outdoor water consumption in water-scarce GCC countries like UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and … Continue reading

Green Roof Potential in Arab Cities

Urban green roofs have long been promoted as an easy and effective strategy for beautifying the built environment and increasing investment opportunity. The building roof is very important because it has a direct impact on thermal comfort and energy conservation in and around buildings. Urban green roofs can help to address the lack of green space in many urban areas. Urban green roofs provides the city with open spaces that helps reduce urban heat island effect and provides the human population on the site with a connection to the outdoors. However, we must differentiate between two types of urban green … Continue reading

Top Green Building Trends Worldwide

With green building movement sweeping across the world, innovative technologies are being developed to keep pace with increasing shift towards sustainability. Integration of biodegradable, recycled, recyclable and renewable materials in the construction of buildings is attracting great attention worldwide. Natural paints, recycled steel, cellular concrete, clay bricks, wood, bamboo etc. are getting huge popularity in construction of green buildings. Another interesting innovation is zero-energy building which utilizes solar cells/panels, wind micro-turbines, fuel cells and biofuels, among others, to meet electricity and HVAC requirements of the building. Likewise, net-zero-water-use buildings make use of water conservation systems to efficiently manage water consumption, … Continue reading

Mitigating the Effects of Sand and Dust Storms

Sand and dust storms cause significant negative impacts on society, economy and environment at local, regional and global scale.  There are three key factors responsible for the generation of sand and dust storms – strong wind, lack of vegetation and absence of rainfall. The environmental and health hazards of such storms cannot be reduced permanently, however its impact can be reduced by taking appropriate measures. As the dust cloud rises, it reduces the horizontal visibility which can impact human life in many ways. The fine suspended particles also contain contaminants, bacteria, pollens, which cause negative health impacts such as allergies and respiratory diseases. Dust also … Continue reading

Introduction to Green Roofs

Green roofs are emerging technologies that can provide a wide range of tangible and intangible benefits to communities interested in enhancement of their environment.  Green roof development involves the construction of a vegetative layer on top of a human-made structure or building adding green space to areas that would otherwise be unused.  The major benefits of green roofs are reducing energy use as well as air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing stormwater management and water quality, decreasing heat island effect by regulating temperature for the roof and the surrounding areas and providing aesthetic value and habitats for many species.  … Continue reading

Trends in Sustainable Housing

There has been large-scale proliferation in construction of buildings worldwide due to population growth, economic development, urbanization and migration. According to UN Habitat, there has been a migration of the world's population from rural areas to cities or smaller urban areas. In fact, this trend is expected to continue and cities within the developed as well as developing nations are expected to grow in terms of population. As a result all forms of construction activities are expected to become more intense than ever in the years to come. Usually the development of urban areas suffers from weak process of planning … Continue reading

Green Building Rating System in Jordan

Building consume 21% of the primary energy and 43% of the electricity generated in Jordan, according to a recent report by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. Efforts started in 2009 to develop a rating system for buildings that will reduce the energy and water demand and provide an efficient and healthier environment. Jordan has several LEED registered buildings since 2009. One of them is LEED Silver and two are LEED Gold, and around 20 more building are registered online and are in the process of applying for LEED. The energy crisis started in Jordan in 2008 after the sharp … Continue reading

Unending Benefits of Natural Ventilation

Natural ventilation is a method of allowing fresh outdoor air into indoor living spaces by natural means without the use of air conditioning units and other types of mechanically driven devices. It  is the process of changing or replacing stale or noxious air with fresh air in any space to provide high indoor air quality to control temperature, replenish oxygen, remove moisture, odors, smoke, heat, dust, airborne bacteria and carbon dioxide. Ventilation is important as it reduces unhealthy air pollutants, such as formaldehyde and radon. It reduces excessive moisture and humidity levels, which can lead to mold growth and can … Continue reading