A seemingly endless resource like Sand

A seemingly endless resource like Sand

The search for sustainable sand extraction is beginning

While most of us are not aware of it, sand is – after air and water – the third most used resource on the planet. Every house, dam, road, wine glass and cell phone contains it. Even a seemingly endless resource like sand cannot keep up with current demand.

“Sand is not infinite,” says Kiran Pereira, founder and chief storyteller at SandStories.org and one of the experts participating in the very first round-table focusing on sand, organized by UN Environment, GRID (Global Resources Information Database )-Geneva and the University of Geneva in mid-October.

Various stakeholders from the industrial, environmental and academic sector came together in Geneva on 11 October 2018 to discuss the emerging issue of sand extraction and solutions to address potential environmental impact. “It is extraordinary that so little attention has been given to this problem,” says Bart Geenen, head of the freshwater programme at the World Wildlife Fund – Netherlands.

Fifty billion tons of sand and gravel are used around the world every year. This is the equivalent to a 35-metre-high by 35-metre-wide wall around the equator. Most sand goes into the production of cement for concrete (which is made of cement, water, sand and gravel). Cement, a key input into concrete, the most widely used construction material in the world, is a major source of greenhouse gases, and accounts for about eight per cent of carbon dioxide emissions, according to a recent Chatham House report.

Sand is, essentially tiny grains of rock, is also used to replenish retreating beaches and extending territories through, for example, constructing artificial islands (think Palm Islands and The World, in Dubai) or infilling on the coast (Singapore). It is taken from rivers, beaches and the ocean floor. Desert sand, due to its smoothness, cannot be used for concrete.

If not managed correctly, sand extraction from places with fragile ecosystems can have a huge environmental impact. Extraction on a beach may, for example, not only lead to the destruction of local biodiversity but can also reduce the scope for tourism.

Furthermore, huge demand for sand may lead to illegal sand extraction, which is becoming an issue in many places. “Sand mafias” in India, for example, threaten local communities and their livelihoods as well as the environment.

“Sand is used by everybody. We are not here to halt the sector, but work together with all stakeholders on sustainable solutions,” notes Pascal Peduzzi, director of GRID-Geneva at UN Environment, who first raised the sand issue in a 2014 report titled Sand, rarer than one thinks.

Innovative solutions being tested

However, innovative solutions are being tested to replace sand in the construction of roads and buildings. Recycled plastic, earth, bamboo, wood, straw and other materials can be used as alternative building materials. The key seems to be to blend other materials with the all-encompassing concrete to give the mixture the necessary stability for a building.

Several countries have already been experimenting with plastic composite roads. The first ever cycle path made completely out of recycled plastic was opened in Zwolle, Netherlands, in September 2018.

Recycled plastic has the potential to become a serious alternative to sand in road-building. Plastic roads are estimated to be three times more durable than traditional asphalt roads. However, they are still in their testing phase as their longevity as well as their environmental impact need to be studied further: small particles of the plastic could eventually find their way into the soil and water through heat, wear and tear, and run-off.

While there is no magic bullet, the Geneva meeting agreed that it is important to raise awareness of the fact that sand is not a limitless resource and that there are possible negative effects of sand extraction. Good practices must be shared and the communication gap between policymakers and consumers overcome.

UNEP-GRID (United Nations Environment Programme-Global Resources Information Database) is working with the University of Geneva to raise awareness. “We are working on finding innovative solutions for sustainable resource consumption and connecting them to impactful awareness-raising at multiple levels,” says Anna Cinelli from the University of Geneva. Her fellow student Rebecca Jimenez adds: “At the end of the day it’s about finding sustainable solutions that are workable and are accepted by society at large.”


Brainstorming session at the University of Geneva: Working with the leaders of tomorrow on searching for innovative solutions. Photo by Davide Fornacca.

The Geneva meeting concluded that the way forward is to collect more data, and to work on implementing policies and standards to protect delicate ecosystems from illegal and environmentally harmful sand extraction. The search for sustainable solutions should start now, the meeting concluded.

For further information, please contact Janyl Moldalieva: zhanyl.moldalieva[at]un.org

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Top Projects in the Middle East Hotels under construction

Top Projects in the Middle East Hotels under construction

TOPHOTELPROJECTS, the specialized service provider of cutting-edge information on the hospitality industry, produced this article of great significance on the Top Projects in the Middle East Hotels under construction, specifically in the GCC countries. These are for all who know what is planned for this region of the Gulf, amongst many other things, no less than a Dubai Expo in 2020 and the next Football World Cup in 2022 in Qatar.

A free report is available on the same website and is full of interesting details of the region’s dynamics in the hotel development business.


A Look at the Top Projects in the Middle East Hotel Pipeline

JULY 13TH, 2018 

 ZACK QUAINTANCE PROJECTS

The Middle East region is a true modern success story within the hospitality industry.

Led by the glittering tourist paradise of Dubai, the region has arguably done more than any other to improve its appeal to international tourists over the past two decades. Whereas some years ago it was basically an afterthought for most global hospitality companies, these days it is becoming an increasingly vital region in the plans of many famous hotel brands.

The Middle East’s Hotel Project Pipeline

With that in mind, we recently took a look at the project pipeline for the Middle East by drawing information from the TOPHOTELPROJECTS database. What we found was no surprise: the hospitality market in the region continues to grow. In fact, within its pipeline right now there are currently some 618 projects that once completed will yield a total of 178,288 new rooms for guests. This puts the Middle East as the fourth biggest hospitality market on the planet, behind the likes of the Asia/Pacific region, North America, and Europe, all of which cover a substantially larger geographic space than the Middle East.

For the savvy hotel owner or operator, it is increasingly imperative to know about some of the marquee projects that are headlining development trends in that region. To learn more, we again turn to the TOPHOTELPROJECTS database.

Here’s what we found:

Paramount Hotel Jumeirah Waterfront

This hotel will offer a wellness and fitness center once it is completed in the third quarter of 2019, as well as an all-day dining restaurant, specialty restaurant, ultra-lounge / lobby lounge, pool bar / wellness and fitness cafe, retails outlets including the Paramount Hotels & Resorts boutique, swimming pool, work and play suites, screening room, kids club, meetings and events facilities, and much more. Located in Dubai, it will have 442 new rooms for guests.

 

Centara Grand West Bay Hotel Doha

Slated to open in 2018 with 360 new rooms for guests, this property is located in Qatar. It marks Thai hotel operator Centara Hotels & Resort’s first hotel in the Middle East, and it will be located in the capital city of Doha, with easy access to the Corniche and to the airport. The property will also feature family-friendly accommodations options such as multiple bedroom units, as well as club level business rooms and a club lounge. In terms of food and drink offerings, the hotel will boast four dining outlets, including a rooftop dining and entertainment venue for guests.

Marriott Jubail

This hotel is also slated for completion in the third quarter of 2019, with a total of 380 rooms for guests. It will be located in Jubail, Saudi Arabia.

More information on hotel projects in the Middle East can be found in the TOPHOTELPROJECTS database

Cement is a major contributor to Climate Change

Cement is a major contributor to Climate Change

As a key input into concrete, the most widely used construction material in the world, cement is a major contributor to climate change . The chemical and thermal combustion processes involved in the production of cement are a large source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Each year, more than 4 billion tonnes of cement are produced, accounting for around 8 per cent of global CO2 emissions.

Per Middle East Magazine and according to Citi’s MENA Projects Tracker, $2.5 trillion of projects are under development or actually under construction across the MENA region. Of these, 90% are in the Gulf and 60% are in just two countries: the UAE and Saudi Arabia. By sector, just over $1 trillion of this total is being invested in MENA real estate projects and $812bn in infrastructural schemes. The scale of this investment can be seen in comparison with the $376bn that is being spent on the lynchpin of the regional economy: oil and gas. The report’s author, Farek Soussa, commented: “There is a heavy bias in the UAE towards real estate projects, while infrastructure projects dominate in Qatar. The oil and gas sector is of greatest significance in Algeria, while Jordan is spending most on power and water.” Cement is of course the main ingredient that is an absolute must in any building and / or infrastructure development.


A Chatham House report on Making Concrete Change: Innovation in Low-carbon Cement and Concrete by Johanna Lehne, Research Associate, Energy, Environment and Resources and Felix Preston, Senior Research, Fellow and Deputy Research Director, Energy, Environment is excerpted here below starting with its Executive Summary first few words.

 

No silver bullet

Shifting to a Paris-compliant pathway, with net-zero CO2 emissions by around 2050,7 will require going further and moving faster on all available solutions, as well as making sure that the next generation of innovative technology options is ready as soon as possible.

To illustrate the scale of this challenge, Figure 1 shows the decarbonization pathway set out by the IEA and CSI’s 2018 Technology Roadmap.8 This scenario shows action on four mitigation levers – energy efficiency, fuel switching, clinker substitution and innovative technologies (including CCS) – to achieve CO2 reductions consistent with at least a 50 per cent chance of limiting the average global temperature increase to 2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

Figure 1: Towards a Paris-compatible pathway

Source: Authors’ analysis of scenario set out in International Energy Agency and Cement Sustainability Initiative (2018), Technology Roadmap: Low-Carbon Transition in the Cement Industry, Paris: International Energy Agency, https://www.wbcsdcement.org/index.php/key-issues/climate-protection/technology-roadmap (accessed 24 Apr. 2018). The B2DS is based on data in International Energy Agency (2017), Energy Technology Perspectives 2017.

Note: RTS stands for ‘reference technology scenario’, 2DS stands for ‘2°C Scenario’ and B2DS stands for ‘Beyond 2°C Scenario’. For descriptions of each model, refer to the original source. The ETP B2DS and roadmap models are not directly comparable as they are based on slightly different assumptions as to future demand for cement but they are shown together here as an indicative comparison.

As recognized in the 2018 roadmap, there is a considerable gap between this scenario and a scenario consistent with countries’ more ambitious aspirations in the Paris Agreement of limiting the temperature increase even further, towards 1.5°C. The IEA’s Beyond 2°C Scenario (B2DS) indicated earlier is only an illustration of the challenge such an emissions reduction would represent in relation to current industry ambitions.

Shifting towards B2DS will require more ambition across each of these levers, particularly in the short term:

·         Although many of the relatively straightforward gains have already been made, there is still scope for improvement in energy efficiency. Europe and the US now lag behind India and China on energy efficiency, due to the continuing use of older equipment, and will need to at least close this gap in the next decade if they are to meet industry targets. The key challenges will be the capital investment required and the fact that action on other levers such as alternative fuels and CCS may slow progress on energy efficiency.

·         Shifting away from the use of fossil fuels in cement production will also be key. China and India, in particular, have significant potential to switch to sustainable lower-carbon fuels. In Europe, cement plants have been shown to run on 90 per cent non-fossil fuels. A key challenge will be to ensure the availability of biomass from truly sustainable sources. Currently, the sector relies largely on waste-derived biomass; however, shifting towards a majority share of alternative fuels may eventually prompt the sector to turn to wood pellets.

·         Clinker substitution involves replacing a share of the clinker content in cement with other materials. This could play a greater role than currently anticipated. Achieving an average global clinker ratio of 0.60 by 2050, as set out by the 2018 Technology Roadmap, has the potential to mitigate almost 0.2 gigatonnes (GT) of CO2 in 2050.9 The share of clinker needed can be reduced even further in individual applications, with the potential to lower the CO2 emissions of those applications by as much as 70–90 per cent. At the very ambitious end of the scale, if 70 per cent replacement was achieved on a global scale, this could represent almost 1.5 GT of CO2emissions saved in 2050.10 Clinker substitution is not only a very effective solution, but also one that can be deployed cheaply today, as it does not generally require investments in new equipment or changes in fuel sources. It is, therefore, especially important to scale up clinker substitution in the near term while more radical options, such as the introduction of novel and carbon-negative cements, are still under development. The greatest constraints are the uncertain availability of clinker substitute materials and the lack of customer demand for low-clinker cements.

·         Many experts are understandably sceptical about the potential to rapidly scale up CCS. Although other technologies are included in this lever, as presented in Figure 1, in practice hopes are currently pinned on CCS. This is reflected in both the 2018 roadmap and other major modelling exercises today. Even if hopes for CCS prove optimistic, carbon-capture technology could still prove critical in moving to B2DS. Moreover, CCS could complement the development of some novel concretes, which rely on a source of pure captured CO2 for carbonation curing. One of the key challenges facing CCS is the cost of the technology versus that of other levers.

However, it will be impossible to even get close to B2DS without also achieving radical changes in cement consumption and breakthroughs in the development of novel cements:

·         Most cement emissions scenarios depend on projections of consumption that deserve far greater scrutiny. Concrete demand can be reduced, sometimes by more than 50 per cent, by taking a new approach to design, using higher-quality concretes, substituting concrete for other materials, improving the efficiency with which it is used on construction sites, and increasing the share of concrete that is reused and recycled. Deploying an array of such demand-side approaches in key growth markets such as China, India and African countries will be essential if the sector is to reach net-zero emissions. Action on material efficiency will, however, depend on the cooperation and motivation of a host of actors beyond the cement sector.

·         Moving towards net-zero emissions for all new construction will require a rapid scale-up in the deployment of novel cements. Some can achieve emissions reductions of more than 90 per cent. Others can sequester carbon, theoretically capturing more carbon than is emitted in their production, rendering them carbon-negative. So far, however, the majority of these products have failed to achieve commercial viability. Achieving breakthroughs in this area will require concerted investment in research and large-scale demonstration projects, as well as education and training of consumers to build the market for novel products.

Even with ambitious projections across all mitigation levers to meet the B2DS, more than o.8 GT of CO2 would still be emitted in 2050. These ‘residual emissions’ would need to be offset by other means. Achieving zero CO2 emissions, therefore, needs to remain an objective beyond 2050. Failure to do so will imply a greater reliance on negative-emissions technologies that have so far failed to scale.

Jeddah Tower: The World’s Tallest Building in 2020

Jeddah Tower: The World’s Tallest Building in 2020


A Looming Catastrophe: Power Grid Collapse Now In Sight in New York” by a gust blogger on how many staff people at various utility services such as DPS, DEC, and NYISO who know this is going to end badly.” Could perhaps be some sort of premonition for Jeddah Tower: The World’s Tallest Building in 2020. The story elaborating on this mile tall structure by Arch2O Editorial Team Home whilst at Coffee Break.

Could this analogy be real, otherwise please enjoy.


10 Things to Know About The World’s Tallest Building in 2020 “ Jeddah Tower” 

Jeddah Tower: In an attempt to promote development and tourism in Saudi Arabia’s most liberal city, Jeddah, a mega-tall skyscraper is now in the processing to become the tallest building on the planet. The creator and sponsor of the project is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the richest man in the Middle East and a member of the Saudi royal family.

The designing architect of the world’s first 1-kilometer high skyscraper is none other than Adrian Smith, from Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. Smith was also the designer of the world’s current tallest building, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and he is, generally, known for his soaring towers in the US, South Korea, and China.

Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture

The idea of this architectural marvel in Jeddah was not enthusiastically received all the way long, as some Saudis contemplate the possibility that it would have a negative financial effect on the kingdom. With a budget nearing $2 billion, its opening date was pushed till 2020 due to difficult economic circumstances in the country.

Here are some interesting facts you should know about Jeddah Tower:

1. The aerodynamic triangular shape and the sloping exterior of the tower help in reducing the wind load. Its tri-petal-shaped plan is inspired by the leaves of desert plants.

Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture

2. The multi-use tower will house the Four Seasons Hotel in addition to serviced residential apartments and office spaces, with transportation routes all around it.

3. Jeddah Tower will have the highest observatory deck and hanging balcony, about 652 meters above the sea level.

Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture

4. The sleek skyscraper will be the core of Jeddah Economic City project and will be surrounded by houses, schools, universities, malls, and hospitals.

Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture

5. One rendering will not be realistically able to enclose the whole colossal edifice. Only elevations and birds-eye views can do the job.

6. If you are sitting in a small room right now with a width of 10 feet, have a look around you, this is the diameter of one foundation pile; each pile is 360 feet in length. Concrete in some parts of the core is a few meters thick.

Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture

7. It will have 59 elevators. However, due to the extreme height of the tower, which is over one kilometer, elevators are made to move at a speed lower than ordinary lifts to avoid nausea due to the change in air pressure.

Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture

8. With the sizzling temperature in Jeddah which could reach 50 degrees Celsius in the summer, the exterior wall system of Jeddah tower comprises glass of low conductivity to reduce power use for air-conditioning.

Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture

9. Wonderful views of the city and the sea can be seen from the outdoor terraces. The three-sided building has magnificent patios as well as shaded pockets in each of the three sides.

Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture

10. A structure of such height requires a huge amount of steel for construction which can reach up to 80,000 tons.

Courtesy of Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture

 

Learning from the Great Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge

Learning from the Great Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge

Below is Daniel Brown, of Nottingham Trent University article; it has an introduction that says it all about yet an other attempt in today’s learning from the Great Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge that is put to test as technological advances allows us to go deeper into the ever so thinning layers of history...

The graph above is of a book on the Pyramid of Giza written by Eckhart R. Schmitz .

Ever since humans could look up to see the sky, we have been amazed by its beauty and untold mysteries. Naturally then, astronomy is often described as the oldest of the sciences, inspiring people for thousands of years. Celestial phenomena are featured in prehistoric cave paintings. And monuments such as the Great Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge seem to be aligned with precision to cardinal points or the positions where the moon, sun or stars rise and set on the horizon.

From the pyramids to Stonehenge – were prehistoric people astronomers?

File 20180306 146661 134tohl.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Ricardo Liberato/wikimedia, CC BY-ND

 

Today, we seem to struggle to imagine how ancient people could build and orient such structures. This has led to many assumptions. Some suggest prehistoric people must have had some knowledge of mathematics and sciences to do this, whereas others go so far as to speculate that alien visitors showed them how to do it.

But what do we actually know about how people of the past understood the sky and developed a cosmology? A scientific discipline called “archaeoastronomy” or “cultural astronomy”, developed in the 1970s, is starting to provide insights. This subject combines various specialist areas, such as astronomy, archaeology, anthropology and ethno-astronomy.

Simplistic methods

The pyramids of Egypt are some of the most impressive ancient monuments, and several are oriented with high precision. Egyptologist Flinder Petrie carried out the first high-precision survey of the Giza pyramids in the 19th century. He found that each of the four edges of the pyramids’ bases point towards a cardinal direction to within a quarter of a degree.

But how did the Egyptians know that? Just recently, Glen Dash, an engineer who studies the Giza pyramids, proposed a theory. He draws upon the ancient method of the “Indian circle”, which only requires a shadow casting stick and string to construct an east-west direction. He outlined how this method could have been used for the pyramids based on its simplicity alone.

So could this have been the case? It’s not impossible, but at this point we are in danger of falling into a popular trap of reflecting our current world views, methods and ideas into the past. Insight into mythology and relevant methods known and used at the time are likely to provide a more reliable answer.

Stonehenge sun. simonwakefield/Flickr, CC BY-SA

This is not the first time scientists have jumped to conclusions about a scientific approach applied to the past. A similar thing happened with Stonehenge. In 1964, the late astronomer Gerald Hawkins developed an intricate method to use pit holes and markers to predict eclipses at the mysterious monument. However, this does not mean that this is how Stonehenge was intended to be used.

Way forward

To start understanding the past we need to include various approaches from other disciplines to support an idea. We also have to understand that there will never be only one explanation or answer to how a monument might have been aligned or used.

So how can cultural astronomy explain the pyramids’ alignment? A study from 2001 proposed that two stars, Megrez and Phad, in the stellar constellation known as Ursa Major may have been the key. These stars are visible through the entire night. Their lowest position in the sky during a night can mark north using the merkhet – an ancient timekeeping instrument composing a bar with a plumb line attached to a wooden handle to track stars’ alignment.

The benefit of this interpretation is that it links to star mythology drawn from inscriptions in the temple of Horus in Edfu. These elaborate on using the merkhet as a surveying tool – a technique that can also explain the orientation of other Egyptian sites. The inscription includes the hieroglyph “the Bull’s Foreleg” which represents the Big Dipper star constellation and its possible position in the sky.

The use of the two stars Megrez and Phad of Ursa Major to line up with the cardinal north direction (meridian indicated in orange) as simulated for 2562BC. Daniel Brown

Similarly, better ideas for Stonehenge have been offered. One study identified strange circles of wood near the monument, and suggested these may have represented the living while the rocks at Stonehenge represented the dead. Similar practices are seen in monuments found in Madagascar, suggesting it may have been a common way for prehistoric people to think about the living and the dead. It also offers an exciting new way of understanding Stonehenge in its wider landscape. Others have interpreted Stonehenge and especially its avenue as marking the ritual passage through the underworld with views of the moon on the horizon.

Cultural astronomy has also helped shed light on 6,000-year-old passage graves – a type of tomb consisting of a chamber of connected stones and a long narrow entrance – in Portugal. Archaeologist Fabio Silva has shown how views from inside the tombs frame the horizon where the star Aldebaran rises above a mountain range. This might mean it was built to give a view of the star from the inside either for the dead or the living, possibly as an initiation ritual.

Fieldwork at one of the passage graves in Portugal, Dolmen da Orca. Next to the stone structure is a replica tent to simulate the view from inside of the passage grave. Daniel Brown

But Silva also drew upon wider supporting evidence. The framed mountain range is where the builders of the graves would have migrated with their livestock over summer. The star Aldebaran rises for the first time here in the year – known as a helical rising – during the beginning of this migration. Interestingly, ancient folklore also talks about a shepherd in this area who spotted a star so bright that it lit up the mountain range. Arriving there he decided to name both the mountain range and his dog after the star – both names still exist today.

Current work carried out by myself in collaboration with Silva has also shown how a view from within the long, narrow entrance passages to the tombs could enhance the star’s visibility by restricting the view through an aperture.

The ConversationBut while it is easy to assume that prehistoric people were analytic astronomers with great knowledge of science, it’s important to remember that this only reflects our modern views of astronomy. Findings from cultural astronomy show that people of the past were indeed sky watchers and incorporated what they saw in many aspects of their lives. While there are still many mysteries surrounding the meaning and origins of ancient structures, an approach drawing on as many areas as possible, including experiences and engaging in meaning is likely our best bet to work out just what they were once used for.

Daniel Brown, Lecturer in Astronomy, Nottingham Trent University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Environmentally Responsible and Resource-efficient

Environmentally Responsible and Resource-efficient

Per Wikipedia, Green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from planning to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.

Environmentally Responsible and Resource-efficient

In fact, in the Middle East, concerns for anything green were second to that fundamentally frantic development of buildings and all related infrastructure to nevertheless greater and greater awareness of their various environmental impact.  As a matter of fact, the brunt of all development was and still is located in the Arabian Gulf where carbon footprints of any urban agglomeration were recently assessed to be at critical levels.  Elsewhere in the Middle East apart from the large conurbation of Cairo, Damascus, Bagdad, Beirut, etc. things were less acutely perceived but still not exactly as clear of any criticism as one would have hoped.  Hence this ecoMENA write-up that elaborates fairly well on the subject.
We republish Ruba’s article with our compliments and thanks to ecoMENA for such an enriching contribution.
We would also like to republish this InHabitat produced back in 2011 survey of 7 Gorgeous Green Buildings in the Middle East undertaken by Tafline Laylin. To our knowledge, nothing

Greener Built Environment in the Middle East

By Ruba Al-Zu’bi | July 24, 2017

The key drivers for greener built environment in the Middle East are economic in nature. Green and energy-efficient buildings are getting traction in the region due to increasing energy prices and the need for energy efficient and affordable energy solutions and practices within the construction sector. Large real estate developers find in this a new marketing and PR tool that contributes to their bottom line and to demonstrating their commitment to sustainable development goals and environmental responsibility. From the supply side, suppliers and service providers find new business opportunities in this market transformation and this has become a driver for new services and materials.

Key Drivers

Transformation in the built environment requires change on the demand side that triggers change on the supply side. Consumer behavior and preferences are the key driver in the market. Understanding what shapes the various consumers’ preferences in various communities and countries would help make the green change more sustainable. The data on buildings performance and the social, economic and environmental impact of such performance is hardly available.

Deploying ICT solutions to enable monitoring and verification is another market enabler and opportunity for local businesses and professionals. Finally, establishing a local green buildings industry is what would sustain the green movement. Leveraging local resources and guiding local innovation towards green building solutions should be the focus of the future.

Vital Ingredients

Awareness raising is usually the long-term investment in behavioral change. When it comes to greening the real estate sector, there are several target groups across the supply chain that require different forms of awareness raising. Starting from architects, designers and developers and passing by electro-mechanical and construction engineers, towards contractors, material suppliers and consultants.

Each of those has a different need and mindset and would require creative messages and tools to join the green movement. The financial implications on short and long terms are usually important to include in addition to other factors like health, comfort, and environmental stewardship. Communicators need to work with green professionals in order to design awareness campaigns that can lead to behavior change.

Situation in Jordan

Jordan is one of the non-oil-producing countries and is striving to achieve ambitious energy efficiency and renewable energy targets to overcome its energy challenges. In addition, it is one of the world’s most water-scarce countries. Green buildings are one of the key enablers for green jobs, energy savings and clean tech innovation. Today, Jordan is the home for 19 LEED registered buildings of which 7 are already LEED Certified Buildings (4 Gold, 1 Platinum and 2 Sliver). The sector is attracting many professionals to get certified and penetrate local and regional markets as LEED professionals. To date, 164 LEED Green Associates and 53 LEED APs exist along with a Jordanian USGBC Faculty member; many of which are working on projects in the region.

Communicators need to work with green professionals to facilitate behavioral change.

The government as well as private sector and NGOs have strong appetite to enable this sector through advocating for greener building codes and effective enforcement of codes and regulations as well as building capacity and raising awareness among various target groups. Donors and international agencies are supporting these efforts especially within the energy sector support programmes through technical assistance and pilot projects. While cities like Amman embarked into green buildings as part of their sustainability strategies and adopted some incentive schemes to promote green building practices; the country still needs to move towards greening other cities and anchoring such direction within various municipalities.