Going green does not cost the earth

Going green does not have to cost the earth.

Hazel Wong was a keynote speaker at Construction Week?s conference last week.
Hazel Wong was a keynote speaker at Construction Week?s conference last week.

Going green does not have to cost the earth.

This was the over-riding message at Construction Week's conference, ‘Building Sustainability into the Middle East' last week, which was attended by an international mix of key decision makers from across the industry.

The event, held at Dubai's Jumeirah Beach Hotel, was characterised by an air of determination among speakers and delegates, who pledged to cooperate to overcome the challenges of sustainable building.

The day's opening speaker was Michael Nates, senior general manager for Environment, Health & Safety and Sustainability at Nakheel, who said: "Sustainability is not only about the natural environment.

It's about how people need to find a way to live on the planet that is different to how we have been living for the past 15 or 20 years.

Nates continued along the theme of cooperation, saying: "If some of us can build green buildings, then let's help those who have not got there yet.

Terry Redding, head of projects at Dubai Real Estate Corporation, spoke of the "huge steps forward in addressing climate change and global warming" that he has seen in Dubai.

The day continued with an update on Masdar, the world's first zero carbon city, which is being constructed near Abu-Dhabi airport.

Director of project management Khaled Awad said: "We aim to create a sustainable mixed use community where residents live the highest quality of life with the lowest environmental footprint."

The conference split along two streams in the afternoon, addressing both architecture and design, and facilities management.

The event was chaired by Stephen Oehme, regional director - value management and sustainability at Hyder Consulting, who welcomed the Urban Planning Council's newly published guidelines, requiring all buildings in Abu Dhabi to conform to set green criteria.

Under the new rules, even existing buildings must be adapted to become energy efficient.

Event director Oscar Wendel summed up the exchange of ideas, saying: "The enthusiasm and encouragement from people has shown us that sustainable design and green building management is finally being taken seriously.

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Construction Week - Issue 767
Sep 01, 2020