Energy-efficient Building Envelopes in Oman – A Study

In Oman, extreme hot weather conditions and thermally inefficient building envelopes have led to high cooling loads in residential units. Residential buildings serve a smaller number of occupants per unit, when compared to other sectors in the building industry. Also, mechanical, electrical and other energy-intensive equipment are relatively lesser in quantity and complexity. Yet, as per statistics, the residential sector is the largest consumer of electricity in the industry. In Oman, the residential sector consumes most of the electricity produced, with over 70 % of the load contributed by cooling using air conditioners (Zurigat et al., 2003). A major reason … Continue reading

All About Building a Net Zero Home

It doesn’t matter where in the world you live, the time has come to realize the importance of building homes that use zero energy. You don’t even have to believe in catastrophic global warming to realize the financial, comfort, and environmental benefits of net-zero homes. But first, you need to have an understanding of net-zero and zero-carbon buildings and their implications for us all, as well as the elements and features that need to be incorporated into a net-zero home. Net-Zero Homes and Energy Efficiency You could say that a net-zero or zero-energy home represents the best in energy efficiency. … Continue reading

Green Building Sector in the Middle East: Sustainability Perspectives

Green buildings are no longer a marginal concept but are becoming the standard for sustainable building construction and modernization in the Middle East. Forward thinking organizations can realize the benefits of being environmentally aware of the impact of each and every action undertaken in the present world of development. It is no longer about the financial bottom line and whether we are eco-friendly, it is a fundamental component of sustainability. Institutes and organizations in the Middle East can embrace green building initiatives as a mandate, while educational institutes can embrace it as a good citizen initiative developing the minds of … Continue reading

Blue Roads in Doha: An Innovative Way to Combat Rising Temperatures

The streets of Abdullah Bin Jassim near the iconic Souq Waqif in Doha were painted blue recently as part of a pilot project to reduce the effects of extreme heat in the city. By reflecting the heat instead of absorbing it, the blue-coated asphalt roads will support Qatar’s battle to combat the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI). Image Source: The Peninsula (2019) Blue road project to bring temperature down What is UHI? With 55 per cent of the world’s population currently living in urban areas, cities struggle to meet their overflowing capacity resulting in a dense network of high-rise buildings, … Continue reading

World Habitat Day 2017: Affordable Homes

World Habitat Day, observed every year on the first Monday of October, is meant to reflect on the state of our urban areas and the basic human right regarding provision of adequate shelter to all human beings. World Habitat Day (WHD) also aims to remind the planners and government officials of the collective responsibility for the habitat of future generations and a day to encourage grassroots action from civil society organizations to advocate for universal decent housing. Each year, World Habitat Day takes on a new theme chosen by the United Nations based on current issues relevant to the Habitat … Continue reading

نصائح لتحسين جودة الهواء في الأماكن المغلقة

يعتبر تلوث الهواء في الأماكن المغلقة واحدا من أكبر المخاطر على الصحة العامة في جميع أنحاء العالم بسبب تزايد عدد الأمراض المرتبطة بالمباني. وجدت الدراسات أن تركيز الملوثات في الأماكن المغلقة هو أعلى بكثير في الداخل مما هي عليه في المناطق المفتوحة (الخارجية)، وتقارب النسبة مرتين إلى خمس مرات وفي بعض الأحيان مئة مرة أعلى من المستويات في المناطق المفتوحة (الخارجية). وبما أن معظم الناس يقضون 80٪ – 90٪ من حياتهم في الأماكن المغلقة، فإن جودة  الهواء في الأماكن المغلقة لها تأثير كبير على الاستدامة. يؤثر انخفاض جودة الهواء في الأماكن المغلقة على نوعية حياة السكان في المباني، ويؤدي إلى … Continue reading

Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems: Benefits and Opportunities

With changing weather patterns of frequent and intense rainfall, regions in the Middle East are struggling to cope with the influx of rain and stormwater runoff that often flood roads and residential areas. While a good network of surface drainage systems enforced with concrete, pipes and manholes may alleviate the situation, city planners can now adopt the use of more sustainable and environmentally beneficial methods to decrease urban flooding in the Middle East. This technique of utilising natural drainage systems to improve water management is also referred to as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). Different types of SuDS: Detention ponds, green … Continue reading

Practical Ways to Reduce Heat from the Outside Sun

Air conditioning is used today to battle extreme heat, it is indeed a marvelous creation. Even if you have air conditioning, blasting it at full capacity 24/7 is going to cost you a lot and may even not achieve the desired results. People throughout the ages used to battle heat in many innovative ways; Romans used their architecture, aqueducts circulating cold water through the buildings; an emperor used his influence to move a mountain of snow in his garden, he used donkey trains to transport all this snow. You don’t need to move mountains or build aqueducts in your home. … Continue reading

Green Spaces in Middle East – Perspectives

Often dubbed as “pockets of green in a grey landscape”, green spaces such as urban parks, vertical gardens and street trees, are increasingly being incorporated into city plans and designs for their multi-functional benefits of ecological, physical and social nature. An obvious benefit from increasing green space within cities is the increase in biodiversity. Often serving as refuges and habitat corridors for wildlife, studies have shown increases in both native and endemic flora and fauna with the expansion of green spaces in cities. Infact it has been observed that city planners choose to incorporate green spaces, such as urban parks … Continue reading

Recycling and Artwork

Art and recycling goes hand-in-hand. Eco-artists are, nowadays, transforming old, recycled and resued object into amazing pieces of contemporary art. The trend started gaining prominence in 1980s when museums and galleries in the Western world opened their doors for such innovation and creativity. In recent years, many artists in the Middle East has started expressing their support for recycling and sustainability through artworks where they merge traditional tone with contemporary themes creating attractive installation art that express local cultural heritage in the larger public interests. Artists are expressing their emotions and ideas through a wide range of recyclables glass, cans, plastics, CDs, PET bottles etc. Installation … Continue reading

Energy Efficiency Implementation in GCC’s Residential Sector: Actions and Technical Requirements

The huge existing stock of residential units in the GCC region, and the expected growth in residential construction projects, convey different challenges at the time of energy efficiency implementation. New developments require the definition and the enforcement of standards to be included at the design process; while owners and users of existing units require motivation and financial strategies to implement different levels of energy efficiency actions. A set of actions and requirements have been identified to improve energy efficiency in residential buildings, these include core management actions and specific technical requirements; and are defined for new developments and for already … Continue reading

How to Protect Green Spaces in the Middle East

One of the ecological benefits brought by green spaces is its capability to combat urban heat. The increasing urban heat is usually caused by the high number of heat reflective substances that are emerging in the cities. Green spaces such as gardens and parks can significantly reduce heat and promote natural cooling through an efficient ventilation and dynamic absorption. Some green spaces could even help prevent urban flooding, air pollution, and storm water run-off. So, how can we protect these beneficial green spaces in Middle East? Spread Awareness Dubai is expected to plant an estimated of 50 million flowers in … Continue reading