Sustainability’s SPARK

King Salman Energy Park LEED Certification

Located in the Eastern Province, the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) is an industrial city that seeks to revolutionize the energy sector of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East with a revolutionary sustainable approach.

Saudi Arabia is revolutionizing the region’s energy sector through the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK), an ambitious 50sqkm industrial park that will play a key role in achieving Vision 2030 by encouraging sustainable energy production and diversifying revenue.

From the start, SPARK has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability through numerous green construction techniques and innovative technologies. In 2020, it became the first industrial city in the world to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification. LEED Silver verifies that buildings are designed to improve performance across key sustainability metrics such as energy savings, carbon reduction, water efficiency, and more.

This certification effort was made possible through the support provided by Parsons, a premier project management firm and leading disruptive technology provider in critical infrastructure. Working as a designer during the certification effort, Parsons’ sustainability team led the documentation of the LEED Resilience Planning credit, which included performing a vulnerability and capacity assessment to identify the frequency of exposure to hazards and associated risks.

In addition to its work as a designer, Parsons provided project and construction management services, developed a resilience plan that included mitigation and adaptation strategies, and delivered a sustainability-focused, site-wide building and infrastructure strategy.

“In close collaboration with our customer, Parsons’ in-country design team and US-based sustainability team took an innovative, proactive approach to helping SPARK achieve LEED Silver status,” said Pierre Santoni, President of the Middle East and Africa regions at Parsons.

“Our team is conscious of the impact that our work has on the environment, and it is energizing to work with customers who also put sustainability at the heart of development.”

Parsons’ personalized advisory service enabled SPARK to win awards such as the US Green Building Council’s 2021 Leadership Award for the Middle East for its contribution to the creation of sustainable and resilient buildings and communities.

The region’s sole fully integrated energy hub also received the Innovation Project of the Year at the Middle East Construction Innovation Awards 2021 ceremony, recognizing its use of green building techniques and advanced materials that minimize environmental impact and offer advantages to investors.

In just a short time, the industrial city has become a regional example for its use of sustainable practices and environmentally friendly building materials. SPARK is the first project in the Middle East to use Conxtech’s structural steel technology, a system that can erect structures in as little as two weeks instead of the six weeks that conventional methods usually take.

This has reduced steel wastage during fabrication and environmental damage from construction-related activities. SPARK also achieved a 30% reduction of cement in concrete mixes by using recycled road pavement.

In addition, SPARK has decreased the use of natural resources for construction and has used alternative products that do not emit toxins, such as formaldehyde.

These are just a few examples of the methods this city has used to improve sustainability in its development that have been made possible by the support the city’s management has received from Parsons to advance environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

SPARK goes beyond an industrial innovation hub and will become a prosperous community with thriving residential and commercial city zones.

A logistic zone is also in development and will include an inland dry port, bonded area, and warehouses to handle 10 million metric tons of cargo. SPARK is expected to contribute more than USD6 billion to the GDP of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and create up to 100,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“At SPARK, we are committed to ensuring sustainable solutions are continuously implemented as we grow to become the leading energy-centric ecosystem in the world,” said Saif Al Qahtani, President & CEO at SPARK after it was awarded the US Green Building Council’s award.

“We are very proud of our team and the work they have done to guarantee SPARK provides long-term value and supports national and regional programs aimed at building a more sustainable future,” he added in a press release.