Based on the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which pays special attention to three areas: water, energy, human health, and comfort, subsequently, in cooperation with the Ministry of Housing, the Mstadam program (English: Sustainable) has been developed to handle the classification of green buildings based on local and international standards.
Before we get to how these buildings are made green and sustainable, let’s get to know the terminology first. The term green or sustainable buildings is used to refer to modern and environmentally friendly buildings, where resources are used appropriately for thoughtful consumption without any extravagance or exaggeration, especially concerning energy.
This article focuses on the most important practices that you should pay attention to in building sustainable green buildings, whether you are the owner of the building, a construction company, or a facilities management company. Let’s collaborate for a better environment across generations!
Key practices for building a green and sustainable building:
Improving energy efficiency
Many methods reduce energy consumption inside buildings and facilities and thus, reduce the electricity bill and preserve the environment at the same time. One of the most important methods is attention to thermal insulation. Thermal insulation reduces extreme hot and cold temperature changes inside the building that are caused by outdoor weather and seasonal changes, which contributes to reducing the frequency of need for climate control equipment.
Another key factor in improving energy efficiency is the use of renewable energy such as solar energy, which is widely available in the Kingdom, as well as the energy of wind and bioenergy. Renewable energies when used on a large scale, end up reducing the carbon footprint of these buildings.
We cannot underestimate the effect of our choice of electrical appliances on improving efficiency. For example, when using an A +++ rated air conditioner instead of an A-rated air conditioner, you save at least 40% of energy. Air conditioners consume more than
half of the electricity produced in the Kingdom, and a good choice of electrical appliances with adequate consumption can make a big difference!
In addition, it is of high importance to shed light on using lighting sensors in large homes, offices, and other large facilities to ensure that the lighting is not left on when it is not needed. Furthermore, replacing regular lighting with longer-lasting LED lighting, and taking advantage of natural sunlight as much as possible is one of many methods used to appropriately reduce cost and promote more sustainable use of resources.
Utilizing environmentally friendly cleaning products
Many people associate environmentally friendly cleaning supplies with misconceptions about their efficiency, believing that it’s lower than commercial cleaning tools and that their price is much higher. Yet, as the world is trying to control and reduce the sources of pollution, it is also working diligently on improving quality.
It is important to ensure that the facility management company employs these products in all of its operations as it reflects on its commitment to environmental safety and of course, preserving the general health of the facilities’ users.
The application of recycling or as it is commonly known as recycling of waste is a very important factor in environmental sustainability, which is practiced in the facilities by providing divided containers for everything that can be recycled such as containers for paper, plastics, metals, and other recyclable materials. Following that, the facility management company collects and recycles the materials through recycling companies. These containers should be located in places easily accessible to all users.
This process can also be extended through the facility’s use of recyclable products such as cleaning tools, garbage bags, and the like.
Improving indoor air quality
Due to the harsh and hot weather in most regions of the Kingdom during most of the year, residents resort to being in closed and air-conditioned spaces much more than in open spaces, which makes the task of improving the air quality indoors an important requirement. You can improve air quality, which is measured by how clean the air is,
with some simple practices that each and every facility management company should take care of periodically and continuously:
- Paying close attention to building design, making sure it includes proper ventilation.
- Employing air filters and air conditioners, and ensuring their cleaning and maintenance.
- Placing suitable indoor plants with air-purifying capabilities.
- Banning smoking inside closed buildings.
Reducing water consumption
Rationalizing water consumption does not only help out the environment, it is also one of the most important recommendations of our true Islamic religion.
Green spaces are the largest source of water consumption in establishments, so to save water consumption, the facility management company must be keen to examine the soil before planting anything, choosing trees and crops suitable for the area and soil, and finally utilizing modern irrigation methods such as:
- Establishing watering schedules as appropriate for the plants and their needs.
- Using drip irrigation, where the water reaches the roots directly, reducing the evaporation that occurs in other irrigation systems and saves up to 80% of the water consumed by traditional irrigation methods
As for the facility itself, water consumption can be rationalized in several simple ways, such as choosing electronic devices that use water with high accuracies, such as getting a washing machine that uses water according to the number of clothes or a dishwasher that includes a light wash option. Sensors can also be installed in the sinks to regulate the flow of water during use.
Finally, it is imperative to build not only sustainable buildings but a sustainable society, and that with every decision, our goal is to strive for a decent life for future generations.
In Takamul Al-Oula, we are committed to all that is mentioned in this article for a better life for the owners, the users of the facilities. At the end of the day, it is ultimately a part of our social responsibility.