Green flag, green economy: Saudi Arabian investments in green projects to exceed $26 billion

Published September 11th, 2014 - 03:55 GMT
“Saudi Arabia has already shown strong interest in strengthening its green building presence."
“Saudi Arabia has already shown strong interest in strengthening its green building presence."

International experts expect to see more organizations in Saudi Arabia take action to make existing buildings more efficient.


Their comments were made as they gathered to further the dialogue around sustainable building transformation, including energy conservation and efficiency improvement during the Distinguished Sustainability Lecture Series held in Jeddah on Tuesday.

With the Kingdom’s commitment to advancing sustainable development plans, the event brought together more than 200 sustainability thought leaders, energy-efficiency experts and green building professionals from countries with emerging economies.

According to the Saudi Green Building Forum, investment in green building projects in the Kingdom is set to exceed $26 billion across 76 projects. These projects include the King Abdullah Financial District, the world’s largest green building development, covering more than 1.6 million square meters of gross site area. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs is also planning to make at least 90,000 mosques across the kingdom eco-friendly, using various renewable energy sources.

Dr. Nils Kok, associate professor of finance and real estate at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, took a closer look at the economic implications of energy efficiency and sustainability in the commercial and residential property segments, with new data supporting higher rent rates for energy-efficient buildings. Valentine A. Lehr, an expert in innovative high-rise construction, hoteldesign and master planning of mega-projects, discussed how trends in building construction affect building design and system selection, particularly in locations such as Saudi Arabia, where energy is plentiful and inexpensive. 

“UTC Building & Industrial Systems has been a leader in sustainability and the green building movement. With buildings in the Middle East accounting for more than 50 percent of the region’s energy consumption, we place sustainability and energy efficiency at the core of our building solutions. 

The Distinguished Sustainability Lecture Series shows our commitment to sustainability awareness and education, and connects international sustainability thought experts with local professionals in countries with emerging economies,” said Rolando Furlong, vice president, UTC Building & Industrial Systems, Middle East & Turkey.

The event featured presentations by experts in sustainable planning and construction, and also included green building training. The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) trainingis a timely offering, given the government’s recent decree that all businesses will have five years to meet new air, water and noise pollution standards.  

“Saudi Arabia has already shown strong interest in strengthening its green building presence. We hope our discussions here this week will help further drive advancements and shape the decisions made for years to come,” said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, UTC Building & Industrial Systems. 

The event was convened by UTC Building & Industrial Systems brands Carrier, the world’s leader in high-technology heating, air conditioning and refrigeration solutions, and Otis, the world’s leading manufacturer of elevators, escalators and moving walkways, with support from fire and security brands Edwards, Kidde and Marioff. 

Launched in the Middle East in 2011, the Distinguished Sustainability Lecture Series has reached more than 2,500 professionals through 22 events in Brazil, China, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

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