The Green Movement- Where the Grass is Greener.
"The Green Movement- Where the Grass is Greener"
The Green Movement has given many a chance to rise to the occasion of setting an environmentally friendly city. Over the past decade, Green Building sectors have been the fastest contributors towards environmental deterioration. This is evident in the rise in C02 emissions, energy use, landfill waste, and water and electricity consumption. Recent reports showcased alarming statistics of 68% electricity consumption, followed by nearly 40% of energy use and 38% in terms of CO2 emissions.
The lack of architectural consideration and practices that inculcate green materials and eco-friendly procedures in a project have cast a blind spot on the environment, not just in, the GCC but world-wide. Green building in essence was a movement to bring attention to this fact, and avoid irreparable damages.
Back to the basics
Green Building or The Green Movement starts from the very beginning of a project. It is not just a concept, but a suggested practice. The first step to incorporating these regimes into a project is to ensure the use of eco-friendly materials. This is an essential part of the process, as many building materials have an enormous impact on the environment due their pollutant releases. The most effective way to do this is through the process of resource conservation and investing in non-toxic building materials (including drywall, exterior wood and plaster). Although environmental life-cycle assessment may not be practical for some projects, it is advised to apply Life Cycle Thinking and making eco-friendly selections.
Standardized certifications within the Green movement help provide frameworks for organizations to follow and shine a light on ingenuine practices. Currently ‘L.E.E.D’ or the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is an international rating certification followed organization worldwide. This intensive course, introduced by the U.S Green Building Council is especially prevalent within many construction projects in the U.A.E . Another relevant framework crucial to the industry is ‘Estimada’.
Sub sequentially, one area where many fail to adhere to is in energy consumption area. There are many guidelines and practices in the industry currently followed to reduce the impact of high energy consumption. One interesting new practice to consider is the Net-Zero building. Net-Zero buildings are designed to match their energy input with their output therefore, minimizing excessive or unnecessary consumption and in turn cutting total and maintenance costs.
Last but not the least, ensuring low technological use can also heavily impact the construction phase. There are many alternatives to attain a sustainable method of project management. Green Technology is one such example. Distributed Energy Systems or DES are also systems that enable lower energy output assisted by a reduced carbon footprint.
A Few Road Blocks
Although green practices do not necessarily present downsides; they do atone to a few road blocks or obstacles. Starting with the ones below:
Longer procedures for approvals
Lack of skilled manpower and experts
Although the above could be elements that slow the adoption of these practices, they are not a hindrance. Adopting these practices early on the project, with suggested training sessions and research could result in a positive outcome.
Keep the Ball Rolling
Despite its cumbersome and time-taking nature, it is important for every organization, firm or engineer to keep all factors in mind and reduce environmental risk as much as possible. By keeping the above practices in mind, viewing sustainability as a practice rather a miniature concept would support the vision ten-fold.
In terms of the GCC, U.A.E is proudly presented as the third nation leading in sustainable practices. Key projects such as, Sustainable city located in Dubai, MASDAR city in Abu Dhabi and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia are just a few of the upcoming projects incorporating sustainable building practices. The U.A.E leads by examples through intensive practices such as Water Desalination, Utilising ‘green design’ and materials during the construction phase and the incorporation of L.E.E.D and Estimada practices. Let’s ensure that this is not just the start, but part of a purpose far bigger than a single movement.