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‘Clients need to show more commitment to green measures in buildings’

Industry experts feel that clients need to take into consideration the environmental impact of a project

| | Feb 6, 2017 | 7:59 pm
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Dubai, UAE: Governments in the GCC region have been insisting on having buildings that are sustainable and energy-efficient to reduce the impact of widespread construction on the environment. As a project involves several stages, the key to a sustainable building is proper planning by multiple stakeholders in consultation with each other. However, the practice at present is that unless clients give a go ahead to include green measures, MEP consultants have little room to be innovative.

Mario Seneviratne, Director of UAE-based Green Technologies, says that there is a ‘business-as-usual’ mindset in the case of most of the projects, unless the client specifically demands a LEED Platinum building. He further says that unless a client shows commitment towards including green measures, the consultants have little or no room to implement them, even if they are capable of designing super LEED Platinum. “I have been to Board of Directors meetings, where the clients are able to on their iPad ask, ‘What is the built-up area, and what is the rentable area?’ But they do not ask how many tonnes of air conditioning would be needed for that area or what is the energy consumed,” he says. “That savviness is not there in the client. I am hoping for the day when clients will ask if their building is 50% better than ASHRAE, and the architect listening will respond by calling an MEP consultant to ensure this.”

Such a change in mindset, where it is felt that including green measures are vital in the long run, can happen only “when green is first appreciated in the heart”, says Ghaleb Abusaa, the Saudi Arabia-based CEO of consultancy firm, GASO. “I may like green as a consultant, but I need someone to give me that kind of a project.”

Elaborating Abussa’s point further, Kandasamy Anbalagan, Managing Partner of UAE-based Proleed Engineering Consultants, says that there is need for developers to take the initiative, however, they lack concern for the environment. According to him, if buildings are being constructed to be sold to end-users, then developers don’t necessarily pay attention to sustainable development. “On the other hand,” he says, “if it is a mall by Emaar, for instance, they would consider something that is environmentally friendly. In the case of most other developers, though, unless commercially viable, the imagination is not going to be driven.”

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