Real Estate & Construction

Leeding The Way

Sustainable Materials

The next 15 years of Qatar’s development are going to shape the way the country will grow for many years to come. Through the Qatar National Vision 2030, the government […]

The next 15 years of Qatar’s development are going to shape the way the country will grow for many years to come. Through the Qatar National Vision 2030, the government is aiming to establish a diversified and sustainable economy for all that is able to continually cater to the needs of its citizens. In line with this, the government is also aiming to introduce greener and more sustainable building practices and root them into the standard practice of the building industry. By doing this, Qatar will be able to preserve its natural resources while still exploiting growth opportunities. In December 2013, the Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) and the Qatar Society of Engineers signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote sustainability in the region. The MoU looks to explore the opportunities and options in the construction industry through joint research and projects for the implementation of sustainable practices and materials. The QGBC is also trying to break the myth that sustainability is solely about protecting ecology, but is also about the efficient management of resources and can save companies money in the long run. According to the World Green Building Council’s (WGBC’s) 2013 report, The Business Case of Green Building, a green building does not necessarily cost more to begin with, and if it does then it is very often not as high as is perceived by the development industry. In addition, any initial higher cost in a green is then offset by the low operational cost in the long term when it comes to energy, water, maintenance, and repair bills when compared to a conventional building. In terms of the capital cost of a sustainable building, the design of a sustainable and a conventional building cost the same, but the added features to achieve certain certifications, such as LEED, can increase the initial cost. But with sustainable buildings, it always comes back to the fact that any initial increased investment will be made back over time due to lower operational costs. In fact, according to Ahmed Fouad, Head of Planning and Risk Management Coordinator of Consolidated Contractors Company in a conversation with the local press, through the innovative use of sustainable materials and an integrated design the initial cost of a sustainable building can be the same or indeed lower than that of a conventional design.

One of the pioneers of green and sustainable buildings is Qatar Foundation. Its LEED certified buildings have been attracting attention across the region, especially that of its integrated public transport system, which is showcased at the GreenBuild 2013 International Conference and Expo in Philadelphia, US. The system is based on a light rail and an “e-bike circuit.” The network is fully electric whereby the rail cars will recharge at each station before continuing on its journey. The system will also have large car parks at each station to allow people to “park and ride” around Education City. This is just one project vying for LEED certification, but there were 160 projects in Qatar in 2013 that are aiming for this recognition, which accounted for 16% of the total (1,236) LEED-related projects in the GCC.Sustainable and green construction as a practice and idea is still in its infancy in Qatar, but it is gaining traction as more companies realize the long-term economic benefits of going green.

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