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‘LEED for Homes is the new paradigm’

KSA to see a wave of green building projects for individual homes

| | Sep 15, 2014 | 2:25 pm
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KSA to see a wave of green building projects for individual homes

LEED for individual villas is the new paradigm, according to Dubai-headquartered Green Technologies. The company’s Managing Director, Mario Seneviratne said LEED for individual homes was the way forward in the residential sector and the route to a new wave of sustainability in the GCC.

Seneviratne was speaking at an August 21 Business Lunch, in which Sanyog Rathod, the President and CEO of US-based Sol Design + Consulting was the guest speaker.

Seneviratne revealed how Green Technologies was involved in an initiative to usher in a new wave of green building projects in Saudi Arabia under the LEED for Homes programme of the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Sanyog, he added, would play a critical role in the initiative, providing the LEED Home expertise.

According to Green Technologies, the LEED for Homes programme started in 2005 and was officially launched in 2008. In 2011, the LEED Homes international pilot programme was launched, making the programme applicable to projects outside of the USA. The scope of the programme includes single-family homes, low-rise buildings (three storeys or lower), mid-rise buildings (four storeys or higher), single-family production villa and gut rehab (retrofitting).

In a traditional LEED green building project, which involves the owner, the design team and the construction team, the onus is on the design team to gather information and submit the required documents to the USGBC-GBCI, Green Technologies explained.

The LEED for Homes programme follows a different process, simply because it typically involves a project containing a large number of housing units (for example, single-family villas), which means it becomes impractical for the USGBC-GBCI to verify the credentials of every unit. The LEED for Homes programme, hence, allows a green-rater (verifier), upon who would fall the responsibility of evaluating the designs of the units and reporting to the USGBC, Rathod said. “That way, the USGBC does not have to check, say, 300 units,” said Rathod. “Instead, it has the simpler task of conducting random but sample checks.”

In Saudi Arabia, Rathod’s firm, Sol Design, will be fulfilling the role of the verifier. Green Technologies will be playing the role of the LEED Consultant.

In the US, incentives are reportedly available for individual green home projects. For instance, homes owners in Cincinnati, Ohio, can benefit from property tax abatement if their unit comes under the LEED for Homes programme. In a country like Saudi Arabia, though, the driving force would be a countrywide programme to reduce domestic energy consumption, said Seneviratne, adding that the Kingdom was aggressively pursuing an energy efficiency programme to ward off the potential of over-consumption of energy, with reference to production.

Seneviratne expressed optimism over the LEED for Homes programme finding traction in the GCC, adding that there was ample evidence of a market shift towards green buildings, in general. “The world is moving from +30% electricity consumption over the baseline to -66% energy consumption, as is the case with the new DEWA Sustainable Building in Dubai,” Seneviratne said. “If you are not building green, you are catering for the dinosaurs.”

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