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QSAS Wins international award of Excellency

Nov 14,2009

The Qatar Sustainability Assessment System "QSAS" that was launched by BARWA and Qatari Diar Research Institute (BQDRI), that focus on studies about new knowledge in sustainability and its application, has won the Excellence award for outstanding contribution to sustainable development at the 2009 International Real Estate Financial Summit in London.

QSAS was recognized among some of the leading companies in the financial and real estate sectors and was among 28 other award winners at the event.

The ceremony, held at the Radisson SAS Portman Square Hotel in central London, was attended by CEOs and representatives from international finance and real estate companies. Dr. Yousef Al-Horr, Chairman and Managing Director of BQDRI, received the QSAS prize from Ms. Liz Peace, CEO of the British Property Federation.

The award nomination was handled by a judging committee comprising international VIPs working in the financial and real estate sectors. QSAS was recognized by the committee as outstanding, and over and above any other nominated system and company. 

The selection criteria included:

  1. The system expansion strategy to include a wider geographic area or to be adopted by other companies or countries in the region
  2. The size of achievements realized by the company which has developed the system
  3. The system development strategy to ensure specialized activities
  4. The social role played by the selected company

Commenting on receiving the prize, Dr. Al Horr said: “It is a great honour to win such a prize after considerable growth and important achievements. We have developed QSAS over three years, and it has been introduced as the Middle East’s first integrated and performance-based Green Building Assessment rating system. So, QSAS is different in its foundation essence because it corresponds to the environment and needs of this region, when other practiced methods depend on imported systems that were developed to address different environmental climates.”

Dr. Al Horr added: “The sustainability concept continues to grow. We at BQDRI strategically support the people and employees working in the real estate sector by empowering them about the concepts of sustainability. We are delighted with the prize which comes in recognition of our ongoing contribution to develop this sector.” 

By participating in such an event and winning the excellence award, BARWA and Qatari Diar Research Institute confirms its full commitment and ability to support the accomplishment of the objectives of Qatar Vision 2030. This is based on two things: developing the human asset to play a major role in achieving a developed and sustainable environment, and leading Qatar’s real estate sector with new concepts for sustainable development derived from QSAS.

The initiative of both BARWA and Qatari Diar came in response to the invitation of HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar calling for the participation of various sectors to introduce initiatives to help creating a better environment. 

In his speech to the general debate of the UN General Assembly last month, HH said: "One such pressing crisis is that of finding energy alternatives. Another similarly vital question is that of the climate change and its impact on the environment and life on this planet." 

Showing support for sustainability development, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown has urged world leaders to recognize that the future presents tests on climate change that are as huge as the banking crisis. On climate change he said: "If we miss this opportunity to protect our planet, we cannot hope for a second chance sometime in the future. There will be no retrospective global agreement to undo the damage we have caused. This is the moment now to limit and reverse climate change we are inflicting on future generations."

He added: "If the poorest and most vulnerable are going to be able to adapt, if the emerging economies are going to embark on low-carbon development paths, if the forest nations are going to slow and stop deforestation, then the richer countries must contribute financially."

"Rather than pushing the environment into a lower order of priority, the environment is part of the solution."

In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly last month, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Mon urged world leaders to reach an agreement at the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change in December 2009. "The leaders must work to push the negotiations forward to reach an agreement in Copenhagen, this is very essential for the future of humanity. I urge the leaders of the world to act on the basis of their responsibility toward the world and to address the global challenges".

During the forum Dr. Al Horr delivered a lecture about QSAS, which was developed by Qatari Diar Research Institute in collaboration with T.C. Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. In addition to speaking about Green Building Design Guidelines and Sustainability Rating System and Energy Standards, Dr. Al Horr also tackled the perspective and the method applied in developing this framework and its relevance to the international standards and best practices in sustainability and green buildings.

Dr. Al Horr said: “We work on establishing quality initiatives that will lead the real estate development sector in Qatar and the region, and to encourage professionals and engineers in Qatar by providing them with necessary tools and practices for developing and implementing the concept of sustainability.”

He added: “Our participation in knowledge dissemination and shifting from theory to application aims to further provide real estate and finance professionals with the latest advancements in sustainability development or green building. This provides the opportunity to showcase QSAS and its role in developing the concept of sustainability both in Qatar and across the region.”

He continued: “The participation of BARWA and Qatari Diar Research Institute in such events, and winning the excellence award, is part of the essence of Qatar Vision 2030. When looking at the environment, which is at the centre of this vision, the Institute is fully committed to supporting Qatar’s actions to protect it. 

The careful balance between economic and social needs and the conditions of preserving the environment is a national duty that identifies our strategic options, in this regard. The basics of our environment will become more important when we support QSAS through legislation which will contribute to transforming the sustainability concept from being optional to becoming mandatory.”

The draft to be presented before the land summit in Copenhagen next month includes the recommendations of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) directed to all countries of the world. This encourages all countries to develop policies which reduce the negative carbon emissions of buildings and developing indicators and metrics to report on emissions from buildings. It will also establish national guidelines to enable reporting of achieved emission reductions. QSAS comes at the beginning of the suggested solutions, which is considered to be an unprecedented step forward for the region to contribute to developing right solutions to face the climate change problem. 

The BARWA and Qatari Diar Research Institute launched QSAS at the Global City Forum held in April 2009 in Abu Dhabi. The Institute confirms its commitment to continue playing its role in positioning Qatar as a capital of sustainable development in the Middle East and to take the initiative in dealing with the regional and local energy efficiency policies. This includes reducing negative carbon emissions on the environment so as to ensure a high quality environment for Qatar and the region. 

Dr. Al Horr concluded: “The participation of BARWA and Qatari Diar Research Institute in this international forum and the introduction of QSAS is a fundamental and important step on the way towards an adopted policy to develop and implement the sustainable concept in Qatar and the region. This will deal with local issues such as desertification, water scarcity and cultural identity.” 

More than 300 delegates participated in the forums from more than 24 countries around the world and included delegates from the GCC, Middle East, Europe and the United States. The forum discussed the challenges facing the financial and real state sectors and an exhibition for the participating companies’ products was held on the sideline of the forum.

BQDRI will organize several QSAS technical workshops from November 22 to 24, in collaboration with experts and researchers from T.C. Chan Center for Building Simulation and Energy Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (USA). The training and developing workshop will focus on encouraging professionals (30 participants only), consultants and engineers from the real estate industry to be more creative when designing and constructing sustainable buildings which have less environmental impact and address the needs of sustainability in Qatar and the region., It will also provide participants with the latest information on green building principles and practices, as well as their method of implementation in Qatar (QSAS Analysis Tools), in terms of green views, water, energy, building systems and lighting.

The November QSAS workshop will complement the training workshop presented in July 2009. All the participants, especially QSAS - CERTIFIED GREEN PROFESSIONAL ®" will undergo training on procedures and the use of measuring tools, as well as practical advice on directing the consultants successfully through the different stages of the assessment.

The date of the exam, which allowed the participants of the July workshop to become QSAS - CERTIFIED GREEN PROFESSIONAL ®, will take place on November 25, 2009 from 8 am till 12 30 pm, at BARWA Knowledge Building on D-Ring Road. 


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