Saudi Vision 2030 adds sustainability to the agenda as it pushes to expand urban development by including prolonged asset lifecycle, lower utility bills, and infrastructure to promote physical activity.

Shedding light on the role of sustainable building design in Saudi Arabia’s booming urban landscape, US Green Building Council Faculty Regional Manager, Mohammed S. Al-Surf, said: “Applying these building methods to residential projects is a win-win case where all stakeholders benefit from the economic, environmental and social pillars of sustainability; owners benefit by reducing the cost of running the building, the occupants will feel healthier, and the community will benefit from engaging together.”

Al-Surf will further explore the KSA Green Building movement at The Big 5 Saudi show next month at the Jeddah Center for Forums & Events; the event will run from March 5-8.

The show will offer 54 free talks on general construction, project management, sustainability, and architecture and design.

Omar Al-Touqi, senior civil engineer at the University of Jeddah, and a speaker on Vision 2030’s environmental dimensions at The Big 5 Saudi, pointed out initial cost as a current challenge with the green concept.

“Cost is particularly a challenge when choosing the right material and resources; however, we should understand the value of buildings which truly consider standards like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Sustainable buildings will be highly valued with capital appreciation and gradual reduction of cost at the end.”

CEO and partner of ENTEC Environmental Technology, Dina Al-Nahd, said: “The private sector is now aware of the need to build this way — they know that in this millennium you have to consider the sustainable concept; that’s energy efficiency, water efficiency and reuse, and solid waste management.”

She revealed the top mega projects considering sustainable building design in Saudi Arabia today: The Red Sea tourism project, NEOM in Tabuk, and Qidiya — Saudi’s largest entertainment city.

“Vision 2030 targets the contribution to GDP of real estate alone to grow from five percent to 10 percent by the deadline; in response there are over 3,300 urban projects underway, representing 70 percent of all Saudi construction. There are an incredible 4,700 construction projects active in the Kingdom today,” said Roni El-Haddad, event director for The Big 5 Saudi.

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