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Riyadh takes a giant green leap
RIYADH: The Kingdom has put forward almost 50 buildings to be registered as energy-efficient in accordance with global standards, according to the secretary general of a forum on green buildings that opened Sunday.

Faisal Saleh Al-Fadl said the Saudi Green Buildings Forum works to promote research in the field.


“The Forum, called 'Innovation in Energy, Water and Materials,' discusses the guidelines governing sustainability, building laws, rating systems and green initiatives that are being developed and implemented in the Kingdom,” he said.

He added that as a result of the government's efforts in this area, the Kingdom provided 47 buildings to be registered as global high-efficiency constructions. Riyadh, Al-Fadl says, has 29, which reflects “a universal great leap.”

General supervisor of the the Minister of Municipal Affairs’s office Abdul Rahman Al-Dahmash said this forum is a chance to review the achievements of the previous forum's recommendations.

He stressed the role of architects and engineers and owners of personal housing to work on adopting new innovations in the field of green buildings.

Al-Dahmash added that it is well known that local Saudi traditional construction methods have a lot in common with the principles of green building.

“It is the responsibility of such a forum of experts and researchers to remove the dust from those ancient traditions and align them with green and natural house concepts,” he added.

One of the first goals of the Arab Institute for Urban Development, according to its Chairman Abdullah Al-Nuaim, is to preserve the identity of an Arab city and its environment, cultural heritage and architecture.


Al-Nuaim pointed out that studies indicated Saudi Arabia faces a major housing crisis because of accelerated population growth and influx of foreign workers.

“The Kingdom would need one and a half million homes by 2015,” Al-Nuaim said.

Yet, he added that with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s order to construct 500,000 homes and raising the limit of loans provided by Real Estate Development Fund to SR500,000, there will be a revolution in home building and construction, which will also have negative impact on the environment and human health.

Al-Nuaim said the goals of green building is to earmark building structures that are environmentally sustainable.

Country President of Schneider Electric Christophe Campagne agrees that green buildings contribute strongly toward preserving natural resources.

“It is commonly said that the Kingdom has plenty of natural resources that can be used forever,” said Campagne. However, Campagne pointed out that people are starting to realize that given the demography, the country's development, infrastructure and increase in energy consumption might jeopardize the availability of resources to be imported.

In the Kingdom, 70 percent of energy consumed in the buildings comes from air conditioning. Therefore, insulation is the key feature in green building according to Campagne, as it saves up to 60 to 70 percent of energy.

“The remaining 30 to 40 percent comes from the automated system that controls air conditioning and lighting in the building,” said Campagne.

“The Saudi government is leading by example to create initiative through incentives and favoring the emergence of the industry.”

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