Middle East construction companies can slash up to 30 per cent off operational costs by adopting sustainable building principles, and save up to 20 per cent on initial investment in construction projects through proper design, according to an industry expert.
Dr. Ghassan Ziadat, Director of Infrastructure (UAE), and Regional Head of Bridges, Middle East & India at Atkins, UAE, said that there are three key principles to ‘going green’ in the construction industry, all contributing positively to the environment, economy and society.
“Most of the savings that construction companies can potentially achieve from ‘going green’ are realised through good design with minimal wastage of materials,” said Ziadat, who will address delegates at the infrastructure ARABIA Summit, a feature of WORLD ecoConstruct, taking place from 22-25 April 2012 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, UAE.
“Additionally, savings in operational costs of infrastructure are made through optimal use of water and energy. Through good design, construction companies can limit the initial investment to 10-20 per cent of the cost of the building, which is more than offset by the savings in operation and maintenance and could save 20-30 per cent of operational costs.”
Ziadat added that sustainable building practices are gaining pace on a local and international level, and that construction companies which are yet to adapt need to consider its initial investment against the longer term benefits.
“Sustainability is becoming increasingly adopted as one of the primary considerations in the design and construction of the built environment at both the regional and global levels,” he added. “At Atkins we have introduced carbon critical design as part of our philosophy on all projects we are involved with.”
Fatma Amer, Advisor of Building Code and Construction, Municipal Regulations Divisions at the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA), added that there are short and long term economic benefits of adopting sustainable green building practises in construction.
“Green building in the construction industry is an extremely viable proposition, not just by exploring use of new materials and avoiding bad ones, but it also by opening up new opportunities to employ more people and create jobs,” said Amer, who will also be speaking at the WORLD ecoConstruct Summit, another feature of the event.
“Short term benefits include reduction of maintenance costs, utility bills and construction debris at dump sites, savings on water and energy usage, cleaner indoor air quality and the reduction of construction costs attributed to recycling building material.”
“These all lead onto longer term benefits such as the reduction of carbon emissions, improving overall human health and preserving the earth’s ecosystem.”
Amer added that sustainable development needs to be a focus for everyone involved in the creation of a building, from design through to development. “Architects and Engineers need to be innovative in introducing viable designs and materials that are easily achievable and cost effective,” she added. “The developer needs to understand that they may pay more at the beginning, but that extra cost will bring future savings.”
WORLD ecoConstruct, a crucial collaboration between Abu Dhabi’s two leading building and construction events, CityBuild and Arabian Construction Week, is the region’s only dedicated exhibition focusing on sustainable design and construction for the built environment.
The market for green building materials is projected to reach US$ 406 billion by 2015 with the Middle East poised for the fastest growth. The Gulf States have invested heavily in creating major sustainable building projects utilising the latest green building technologies, such as Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, Sabah Al Ahmed International Financial Centre in Kuwait and Energy City in Qatar.
Co-located with the 6th edition of Cityscape Abu Dhabi, WORLD ecoConstruct provides a crucial sourcing and knowledge platform for the billions of dollars committed to major projects within Abu Dhabi and the surrounding region. Together the events attract more than 30,000 visitors.
WORLD ecoConstruct is supported by its Foundation Partner, the Department of Municipal Affairs, Sustainable Knowledge Partner Masdar City, Strategic Partner Emirates Green Building Council, Principal Sponsor Emirates Steel, Platinum Sponsor Rajhi Steel, and is endorsed by the UAE Business Council for Sustainable Development.