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Sustainable build slashes 30% off operation costs

by CW Staff on Mar 29, 2012

Masdar City, a knowledge partner of World ecoConstruct is a prominent regional example of sustainable construction.
Masdar City, a knowledge partner of World ecoConstruct is a prominent regional example of sustainable construction.

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Middle East construction companies could slash 30% off operational costs by adopting sustainable building principles, and save up to 20% on initial investment in construction projects through proper design, according to an industry expert.

Dr Ghassan Ziadat, Atkins UAE Director of Infrastructure, said that there are three key principles to ‘going green’ in the construction industry, all contributing positively to the environment, economy and society. Ziadat will also be speaking at the ‘Infrastructure Arabia Summit’, 22-25 April, a feature of World ecoConstruct, Abu Dhabi.

“Through good design, construction companies can limit the initial investment to 10-20% of the cost of the building, which is more than offset by the savings in operation and maintenance and could save 20-30% of operational costs,” said Ziadat.

There is an increasing awareness that construction companies should adapt to sustainable practices, considering initial investment against long term benefits.

“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. “Additionally, savings in operational costs of infrastructure are made through optimal use of water and energy.”

In mid-March Construction Week revealed that roof coatings could slash 25% off energy budgets, reporting from the Middle Eastern Coatings Show 2012.

“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,” said Ziadat.

Fatma Amer, Building Code Advisor for Abu Dhabi’s Department of Municipal Affairs, said, “Green building in the construction industry is an extremely viable proposition, not just by exploring use of new materials, but also by opening up new opportunities to create jobs.”

Amer will also be speaking at the World ecoConstruct summit 22-25 April, an event is partnered with Masdar City and the Green Building Council.

“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.”

The Middle East poised for the fastest growth in the green building materials market, which is projected to reach $406bn by 2015.

“Architects and Engineers need to be innovative in introducing viable designs and materials that are easily achievable and cost effective,” said Amer. “The developer needs to understand that they may pay more at the beginning, but that extra cost will bring future savings.”

Other examples of high investment sustainable building projects within the GCC include the Sabah Al Ahmed International Financial Centre in Kuwait and Energy City in Qatar.