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

Zero Emissions Day: Our Planet is Counting on Us

The Zero Emissions Day or ‘Ze Day’ aims to put the Global 24 hour Moratorium on the Combustion of Fossil Fuels. The day started on March 21, 2008 with the launch of a website calling for “A Global Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Combustion on September 21” in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The message, “Giving our planet one day off a year”, was simple yet profound and was translated into 12 languages for easy reach of people. The idea behind is of giving everything a ‘rest day’ so why not for emissions and environment. The notion behind the Zero Emissions Day is … Continue reading

Energy and the Climate: Perspectives for Middle East

Since energy is an absolute necessity for life on Earth, we have utilized many sources of energy to maintain and improve the lives of people around the globe. The ultimate source of energy is the Sun of course, since all living things on Earth such as plants, trees, animals and humans need the Sun’s energy. In addition to the Sun, we have utilized other sources of energy such as oil, coal and nuclear fission.  However, energy has many different forms and we use different forms of energy for different applications. For example, nuclear energy is mostly used to generate electricity, … Continue reading

Merits of Anaerobic Digestion of Wastes

Anaerobic digestion is the natural biological process which stabilizes organic waste in the absence of air and transforms it into biofertilizer and biogas. It is a reliable technology for the treatment of wet, organic waste.  Organic waste from various sources is biochemically degraded in highly controlled, oxygen-free conditions circumstances resulting in the production of biogas which can be used to produce both electricity and heat. Almost any organic material can be processed with anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion is particularly suited to wet organic material and is commonly used for effluent and sewage treatment.  This includes biodegradable waste materials such as … Continue reading

Energy Answers for the Middle East

The economy of Middle East is practically synonymous with crude oil for the average Western observer, but what most people aren’t aware of is the Middle East hasn’t been doing so well out of its crude oil reserves in recent years. So much so, that it may be the first time in history that we can justifiably declare an imminent state of Peak Oil in these regions. It is an understandably bold statement, and one that will come as a surprise to many… especially those who have been blindsided by the more general, global statistics. Besides a slight dip over … Continue reading

Sustainable Development and the Arab World

Sustainable development is a pattern of growth in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come. Arab world is facing major sustainability challenges in achieving social, economic and environmental goals. Extremely arid climate, acute water scarcity, high energy consumption and polluting oil and gas industry present a unique challenge in Arab countries. There are four major dimensions of sustainable development – social, economic, environmental and institutional. Social Availability of energy has a direct impact on poverty, employment opportunities, education, demographic transition, indoor pollution and … Continue reading

Earth Hour – Making of a Movement

Earth Hour is a worldwide movement for the planet organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Earth Hour engages a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues. The event is held worldwide and held towards the end of March annually, encouraging individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the planet Making of a Movement Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia and was conceived by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). On the occasion, 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off … Continue reading

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

Energy Conservation in Mosques: A Guide

A mosque (or masjid) is a place where Muslims worship and offer prayers round the year. In addition, a mosque plays a pivotal role in Islamic communities worldwide. Mosques have a unique operating schedule and are occupied five different times daily for a period of around 30 – 60 minutes for each prayer (this may differ from one mosque to another). For special occasions like Friday Prayers, Eid Prayers and Ramadan nights, people may stay for longer periods in mosques. In recent years, mosques have become big consumers of electricity due to widespread use of air conditioning, hot water systems, … Continue reading

Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Arab Countries

Addressing water scarcity, both natural and human-induced, in the Arab region is considered one of the major and most critical challenges facing the Arab countries. This challenge is expected to grow with time due to many pressing driving forces, including population growth, food demand, unsettled and politicized shared water resources, climate change, and many others, forcing more countries into more expensive water sources, such as desalination, to augment their limited freshwater supplies. The heavy financial, economic, environmental, as well as social costs and burden to be borne cannot be overemphasized. Furthermore, the water scarcity challenge in the Arab world is being … Continue reading

Talking Green in Jordan

The global financial recession triggered serious debate among many countries in revealing the causes behind failures and in innovating affordable solutions. Seeking “transformational” economic growth is very fashionable nowadays bringing to the front-line clean energy and green investments as keys for a better future. And for those countries at the heart of change in the Arab World, the famous “Spring” is bringing a different flavor to the aspired change and reform. In Jordan, attention to sustainability (whether environmental or social) is a need as well as a strategic choice. For a country with very limited natural resources and increasingly growing … Continue reading

Drilling Waste Management and Cement Industry

During the exploration and production of oil, huge amounts of drilling wastes are produced in the form of mud and cuttings.  As per conservative estimates, around 0.37 kg of drilling wastes is generated for every barrel of oil produced. The American Petroleum Institute (API) has estimated that approximately 1.21 barrels of total drilling wastes are generated for every foot drilled. The Middle East oil and gas industry has made a lot of effort in order to reduce the environmental impact of their activities; modern drilling methods such as horizontal drilling, navigating the drill bits three dimensionally through the earth, contacting … Continue reading