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 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 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

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

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 Building Sector in the UAE: Perspectives

The focus on sustainability is one of the biggest trends in the GCC’s building sector. This is underpinned by Dubai being ranked third in the list of global cities with the highest number of green certified buildings in the ‘Sustainability and Wellness in Dubai’ report by Core Savills with over 550 projects under LEED certification and the implementation of the Estidama framework in Abu Dhabi. Paving the Way In the UAE, the directives by the Federal and Local Government entities to establish a sustainable economy that advocates demand side-energy management, and water & energy use efficiency has encouraged real estate … Continue reading

Green Buildings and the Middle East

The Middle East region faces a unique set of challenges in terms of sustainable buildings and cities. For example, water shortage is mitigated by costly desalination and we are faced with high water consumption which leads to a higher carbon footprint and ultimately impacts climate change. Middle Eastern countries are at the top of the list of largest per capita ecological footprints. Qatar has the highest per capita level of carbon dioxide emissions, at 44 metric tons per person annually. Kuwait is second with 30.3 tons, followed by the UAE with 22.6. Therefore, integrating energy efficiency is a critical need. Benefits of Green … Continue reading

Green Roofs in MENA – Prospects and Challenges

Green roofs are emerging technologies that can provide a wide range of benefits to communities interested in enhancement and protection of their environment. 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.   According to a 2013 MENA renewable energy status report, the Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) in Middle East and North Africa has reached about 800 million tons of oil.  This … Continue reading

نظم تقييم المباني الخضراء في الشرق الأوسط

الأبنية الخضراء لا تساهم فقط في بيئة أفضل وطرق بناء مستدامه، ولكنها تجلب ايضا الكثير من المنافع والفوائد لمالكي المباني ومستخدميها. فتكلفة الانشاء أقل، وتكلفة التشغيل أقل، وسبل الراحه أكثر، والبيئة الداخلية أكثر صحة، والعمر الأفتراضي أطول وتكاليف الصيانة أقل في المبنى الأخضر. توجد العديد من النظم لتقدير وتقييم المباني الخضراء حول العالم، مثل LEED  و BREEAM . فالاستدامة الان تعد هامة جدا في منطقة الشرق الأوسط ودول مثل قطر والامارات لديهم انظمتهم الخاصة بهم لتقييم المباني لتشمل السمات الاجتماعية والبيئية والاقتصادية والثقافية في العمارة الحديثة نظام تقييم الاستدامة الشامل (قطر) ان نظام تقييم الاستدامة الشامل (GSAS) المعروف رسميا باسم … Continue reading

Rainwater Harvesting: A Plethora of Benefits

Rainwater harvesting, or collection of rainfall, is not a new concept.  It is simply the collection of water in regions of the globe where there is frequent and regular rainfall. The collected water is stored for use at a later date. Typically, rainwater runs across the rooftops of buildings and is collected in rainwater tanks. This is very common in rural areas for local consumption. Water can also be collected in dams and reservoirs for community usage on a long-term basis. The collection of rainwater from the roofs of buildings can easily take place within our cities and towns. Initial … Continue reading

UHI Effect: Impact on Sustainability

Urban Heat Island (UHI) Effect arises due to absorption of incident radiation from the sun by built surfaces of tall buildings, roof, concrete structures and asphalt roads and then releasing it in the form of heat. The term “urban heat island” describes the built-up areas that are significantly hotter than the surrounding open, natural or rural areas. It occurs on the surface and in the atmosphere. The built surfaces are made of high-percentage of non-reflective and water-resistant construction materials. These materials act as heat sinks that absorb the radiated heat and store it for long time. The Urban Heat Island … Continue reading

Qatar’s Fight Against Climate Change

Qatar's environmental records have always been in news, of course for the negative ones, but it has always strived to work towards reduction of GHGs emissions. Qatar is already doing plenty to help poor countries with financing and it seems unfair to focus on per capita emissions for a country with estimated population of 2.27 million making it the 143th most populous country on earth. (For climate talks, that is heresy). This may sound harsh, especially since Qatar's contribution to global warming is tiny compared with the United States, China or India. In recent years, Qatar is making itself a benchmark … Continue reading