Green building projects in Kingdom to hit over USD26bn

JEDDAH – Investment in environmentally friendly building projects in Saudi Arabia is set is to reach SR100 billion (over $26 billion) across 76 projects, Faisal Al-Fadl, Secretary General of the Saudi Green Building Forum, told a Saudi Arabic newspaper.
“Out of 76 projects, 43 are based in Riyadh,” he said.
Green building is the practice of creating and using healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance and demolition, according to the United Nations’ Environmental Protection agency.
The number of green building projects has reached 40,500 around the globe, Al-Fadl said. Most of the projects took place in North Africa, and 1,350 projects are based in the Middle East, he added.
Saudi Arabia is home to 5 percent of the Middle East green building projects, he noted.
He further said the scarcity in numbers of Saudi engineers specialized in green building has crippled the sector’s growth. “There are only 150 Saudi engineers specialized in green building,” he pointed out.
“We hope the number of engineers specialized in green buildings will reach 1,000 within the next three years,” he added.
Al-Fadl noted that over 200 engineers are currently undergoing training each year. Constructing green buildings is 2 percent to 13 percent more costly than constructing normal buildings. But they are more economic and sustainable on the long run, Al-Fadl said.
Green building was a main topic addressed at The Big 5 Saudi, an international building and construction show, which took place last March in Jeddah.
“Jeddah Municipality is working on a number of infrastructure and construction projects, and on making Jeddah a green city, therefore there is a focus on sustainability in all its future projects,” The Big 5 Saudi quoted Dr. Hani Mohammad Aburas, Jeddah’s municipality mayor, at the opening of the show.
The Arab-African Forum on Green Building will take place in December 2013, and is one of the events taking place in preparation for Habitat III Conference 2016.
The forum is organized by UN-Habitat, the United Nations’ agency for human settlements.
A green building is the outcome of energy efficient, resource efficient and environmentally responsible building which incorporates planning, design, construction and operational practices that significantly reduce or eliminate its negative impact on the environment and its occupants, while promoting the occupational health and productivity. Green building when considering social and economic factors will lead to sustainable living.
Saudi Green building Council is promoting and facilitating the green building practice in Saudi Arabia. This includes raising public awareness, provide training and education, helping the construction industry transform to the green building requirements, encourage building materials manufactures and suppliers to produce and supply environmentally responsible products, promote green labeling, adapt, develop and operate local green building rating system that meet the local environmental requirements while considering the international experience.
Saudi Arabia would maintain its status as the leading global oil exporter by adopting green building solutions in the development of new infrastructure and construction of new buildings, Ali U. Al Najim, Deputy Chairman of the Saudi Green Building Council (SGBC), said earlier.
He underscored that “energy savings is the most important factor” when considering the design of green building. Al Najim said by following green building guidelines, though the energy demand will grow up to 120 GW as forecast, “by implementing green building strategies…19 gigawatt could be saved easily… and 28 GW if existing demand considered” until 2030.