Green Building towards ME sustainable cities | Jane Boyle | WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff

1a8fb0aAmidst the growing number of green construction in the Middle East, green buildings pose a multitude of challenges and opportunities.

To face the rising challenges in the sector, a Senior Sustainability Professional, Jane Boyle, recognized the benefits of green buildings as a sustainability approach by ensuring that high-performance buildings can significantly contribute to the development of a green city during times of rapid urbanization.

Jane Boyle, Head of Sustainability and Energy of WSP, talks exclusively with MiddleEastGreenBuildings on the current trends and main challenges in green buildings across the Middle East region.


Can you share some of the recent green building industry highlights in the Middle East?

I think the green building industry in the Middle East has taken off in a big way in recent years. There are a couple of indicators that can be related to this, such as the introduction of green building regulations. We have Estidama in Abu Dhabi and also have the Dubai green building regulation in Dubai. These building regulations came to kick start it.

In terms of strategy in Dubai, there’s an overall strategic plan aiming to be met by year 2030 and so there are quite a lot of different aspects for the built environment, one of them is the retrofitting of buildings at place. There’s a very large proportion of buildings in Dubai that have been built to comply with building regulations.

What kind of opportunities do you see in the Middle East region ?

In terms of opportunities, I think the next big thing is renewable energy. At the moment in this region, there’s still quite a lot of countries that have subsidized their energy cost and I think moving forward with these changes,  solar energy makes a lot of sense, and obviously solar is very much developing, is becoming more efficient, and is becoming more cost-effective too. So I think there’s massive opportunities for that.

What are the main challenges in spooning the Green Building growth across the Middle East? And how do you cope with it ?

 Probably the biggest challenge we face in the Middle East is the high costs.

But it depends on how well you design that building. If we start from the very outside of design and plan what we are going to do, what you want to achieve, there isn’t always costs involved, also in terms if we are looking at not just the construction cost of the building, but also looking at the entire life-cycle cost of the building.

If you’re looking at the construction cost compared to a 40 year life-cycle of the building, it’s actually fairly small compared to the running cost in everything else. And I think that is changing now.

In terms of other challenges in this part of the world, sometimes it’s looking at things maybe global green building certification systems aren’t specifically designed for the Middle East and developers have  to apply them anyway. So culturally here, in terms of community or something, I think that it is different from elsewhere around the world.  So that can also be a part of the challenge sometimes: Applying a global certification system in the Middle East.

What can other Asia countries learn from the green building industries in the Middle East ?

I think one of the best things about the application of green buildings in the Middle East is that Abu Dhabi and Dubai have both gone for building regulations as part of their national rating tools. Even though the rating tools are still very much used, building regulations are actually far more successful in improving the overall quality of the buildings, and also reducing energy consumption.


About WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

One of the world’s leading professional services consulting firms, with 34,000 staff, based in more than 500 offices, across 40 countries. In 2015 we were named Consultant of the Year by Big Project magazine and Middle East Consultant. In 2016 we were named 11th best company to work in the UAE by the Great Places to Work Institute. We provide services to transform the built environment and restore the natural environment, and our expertise ranges from environmental remediation to urban planning, from engineering iconic buildings to designing sustainable transport networks, and from developing the energy sources of the future to enabling new ways of extracting essential resources.


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