Frequently asked questions
What are green buildings? What are their benefits?
Green buildings reduce consumption of energy and water, cut harmful CO2 emissions. Further, they provide a better living environment as they keep the ecological balance in urban zones and reduce operation and maintenance costs.
What is the impact of conventional buildings on levels of energy and water consumption and CO2 emissions?
Based on the latest available global studies:
- Buildings consume 40% of the produced electrical power. Locally, Qatar has the highest consumption rate of electrical power per capita in the world.
- Globally, buildings emit 11% of CO2 emissions; locally, Qatar has the highest CO2 emission rate per capita worldwide.
- Buildings consume 12% of total sweet water production. Locally, Qatar is considered one of the five poorest countries in the world regarding ground sweet water resources. It wholly and fully depends, by 100%, on desalinated water which is processed by using hydro-carbon fuel.
What are the direct benefits of applying GSAS?
There will be many benefits. As an example, studies indicate the possibility of saving 40% of electrical power consumption, 30% of sweet water consumption and 50-70% of overall domestic refuse through recycling.
What is the UN’s agenda to maintain an urban ecological balance?
In Copenhagen in 2009, UNEP SBCI program offered its recommendations binding developing countries to produce a national program that documents efforts exerted by these nations to cut C02 emissions and reduce energy consumption. Developed countries should make their expertise and support available for developing countries, especially in developing tools and standards that can be used to achieve the above objectives. Sustainability Assessment Systems, which were developed in many developing countries, are the most effective tools that help monitor updates and changes on harmful carbon emissions and reduce energy consumption.
What is Green Building Sustainability Assessment System?
A Green Building Sustainability Assessment System is a set of practical benchmarking tools that are used as standards for designing, constructing and operating buildings in order to achieve ecological and sustainability benefits. There are more than 40 sustainability assessment systems all over the world, developed by advanced countries. Sustainability assessment systems were developed via either governmental bodies (such as in Japan) or via non-governmental bodies (such as in USA). Such development has been achieved in co-ordination with specialized research centers and centers of expertise.
What is GSAS? Are there any equivalent systems in Middle East?
GSAS is an integrated sustainability assessment for green buildings, like LEED & BREEM. It includes
(1) design guidelines,
(2) high performance benchmarking tools, and
(3) automated governance system based on objective standards in line with the latest global specifications.
Accordingly, GSAS is the only integrated sustainability assessment system to have been developed in the Middle East. It is regionally well-positioned to drive green building concepts and practice.
How was GSAS developed?
Developing GSAS took almost 3 years, initiated by Gulf Organization for Research & Development. It was developed via three main methods:
• Specialized technical teams that included leading experts and specialists from the top industry global research institutes.
• A managing board including leading experts in global sustainability assessment from eight developed countries to provide guidance and supervise the technical teams throughout the development process.
• Support teams from Gulf Organization for Research & Development and other governmental bodies to provide support in issues related to local environment inputs.
Why GSAS has been developed as a wholly independent sustainability assessment system?
• To safeguard the urban identity of the region; as, without exception, all imported sustainability assessment systems do not encourage or consider this aspect in assessing buildings. This is the opposite of the GSAS approach which by contrast puts high emphasis on this aspect.
• To achieve harmony with local environment, climate and geological conditions; as, without exception, all imported sustainability assessment systems were developed regardless of these inputs, GSAS by contrast takes these conditions into consideration.
• To apply objective standards as far as possible and be in line with the new approach of sustainability systems design. Such aspect is missing in most older global sustainability systems, such as LEED.
• To achieve the necessary flexibility and control to amend the system components without referring back to foreign entities and to keep the system up to date in compliance with the rapidly changing legislative, legal and environmental inputs of the State of Qatar. In addition, being independent gives GSAS the opportunity to optimize the best experiences and outcomes of any assessment system without being constrained by a pre-determined system.
• To facilitate easy adaptation and modification of the system by other neighboring GCC countries to best fit their local conditions by implementing only minor changes owing to similarity of climate, geography and culture.
How GSAS will be kept globally updated?
GSAS will be updated regularly in view of global variables in green building developments and to provide relevant support to governmental bodies, engineering consultancy companies, private sector and individual investors desirous to apply new concepts and effective principles to do with green buildings. Further, the institute aims to benefit from QSTP scholarships to develop new knowledge relating to green buildings. In addition, GSAS uses automated online systems to update its administrative and technical processes promptly and efficiently.
How does GSAS align with Qatar Vision 2030?
• The environmental dimension is one of the main pillars of Qatar Vision 2030. At the same time, this dimension is the main driver behind developing GSAS.
• Towards a diversified economy, the new-knowledge dimension of GSAS is a significant benefit in line with Qatar Vision 2030. With GSAS, GORD is creating and developing new domestic knowledge in the green buildings industries by qualifying Qatari and expatriate cadres working in GORD and interacting with global centers of expertise.
• GSAS also plays a significant economic and technical role towards Qatar Vision 2030. Application of GSAS will open new industrial and economic opportunities in local and regional market to do with green buildings, such as renewable energy, recycling and manufacturing of waste, developing alternative materials, and applying advanced technologies in automated and animated control. All these aspects will accelerate the country’s long strides towards a knowledge-based economy.
What legislation relating to green buildings is applied worldwide?
There is at present no single, universal legislation or regulation to do with green building. GORD and GSAS have been developed in part to help fill this gap. All over the world, regulations and legislation related to green buildings are in their early stages. For instance, in April 2008, Washington DC enacted legislation stipulating that buildings constructed by the state or wholly rented by the government should be green buildings. However, this legislation does not bind private owners of buildings. In the United Kingdom, a mandatory law was enacted in 2008 binding affordable social housing to apply sustainability assessment standards. However, for private owners, developers have to obtain a certificate from the competent green buildings authority (even if the building is not designed according to sustainability assessment system standards to facilitate enforcing application of these standards in the future).
What awareness-raising programs have been conducted in Qatar about GSAS?
GORD has held a number of lectures and workshops attended by governmental, non-governmental and private sector bodies to help explain GSAS. During these seminars, GSAS was welcomed by all participants. Experts and high profile figures in industry from other GCC countries also attended these workshops and requested the organization of similar workshops on GSAS in their own countries to make it easier for more regional stakeholders to become aware of GSAS.