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BARWA and Qatari Diar granted QSTP's Approval to Establish Research Institute

BARWA Real Estate Company (BARWA) and Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company (Qatari Diar), leading real estate organizations in Qatar and the region, announced that their application to establish a QSTP-based research institute has been approved by Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP).

BARWA and Qatari Diar Research Institute will focus on studies about new knowledge in sustainability and its applications, aiming to address the environmental challenges and educate the construction industry.

The announcement came at a press conference at QSTP held yesterday attended by Dr. Yousef Al Horr, Chairman & Managing Director of BARWA Knowledge, Eng. Mohammed bin Ali Al-Hedfa, Deputy CEO of Business Development, Qatari Diar, and CEO of Lusail (Real Estate Development) Company and Dr. Eulian Roberts, Managing Director of QSTP.

“The proposed QSTP-based BARWA and Qatari Diar Research Institute aims to develop new knowledge through research and development in urban construction,” said Dr Al Horr.

“The co-operation with QSTP comes in line with BARWA and Qatari Diar's strategic direction to bolster ties between leading local and global companies. BARWA and Qatari Diar chose QSTP to hub the research institute to demonstrate a strong push to researches and studies associated with Qatar Sustainability Assessment System (QSAS),” added Dr. Al Horr.

Dr Roberts said: “QSTP provides support for technology development in an environment specifically designed for knowledge-based companies and research organizations. QSTP hosts leading international companies, like BARWA and Qatari Diar, offering them infrastructure and services designed to support members' day-to-day development needs.

“QSTP is delighted that BARWA and Qatari Diar have together committed to establish this research institute and in doing so they join a powerful group of companies and institutions, including EADS, ExxonMobil, GE, Microsoft, Shell and Total, which chose to be based at QSTP,” added Dr. Roberts.

Among the studies and subjects on which the institute will focus are the study of building data energy, where it will seek to collect data related to building energy to set the ground for fact-based and benchmarking studies leading to further advanced studies. The institute will also study building design and analysis tools to develop computing standards that promote performance analysis, as well as software comparison and applicability to the local environment. The institute will also deal with building technologies and material research related to a desert climate and low-energy construction solutions.
Also, the institute will lead studies related to energy planning by relying on energy driven infrastructure planning and research and developing decision making tools such as integrated GIS systems for energy use as well as onsite measurement of microclimate BARWA and Qatari Diar Research Institute will engage in research-based consultancy services for existing and new buildings, as well as testing which will include Computational simulations throughout the lifecycle of the building in addition to providing advice on optimal systems integration.

BARWA and Qatari Diar Research Institute will provide educational opportunities for professionals to introduce them to state of the art concepts and models in the field through teaching and research partnership, engaging students and faculty from Qatar Foundation and Qatar University and other regional universities in collaborative research and training. Several workshops will be offered targeted at engineers, architects and policy makers. The focus will be on sustainability related issues. In addition, the institute will hold an annual meeting and publish all research outcomes.

BARWA and Qatari Diar Research Institute will achieve various strategic objectives in the short, medium and long terms. In the short term, the institute will focus on the deployment and expansion of QSAS and associated standards (in Qatar) and development of a comprehensive Regional Sustainability Assessment System for GCC & the Middle East by working intensively in three areas: Strategic Needs which includes long term objectives and benefits for the State of Qatar, the organizational structure, operation model and governance which includes the role, responsibilities, authority and relationship between various functional entities, for example research, certification, enforcement, legislation, technology; and thirdly the process of expansion through incorporation of building codes, mandatory sustainability rating targets, mandatory energy performance targets, target setting and future updates of the Code.

In the medium and long-term, BARWA and Qatari Diar Research Institute will focus on supporting the policies application in areas such as material ratings, emissions capping, waste disposal, water resource management, urban planning, transportation, underground networks and services. BARWA and Qatari Diar Research Institute will enhance development opportunities in areas such as recycling and renewable material and product manufacturing.

Dr. Al-Horr stressed the necessity to support QSAS with legislations that will contribute to shifting QSAS from voluntary application into other horizons. Through co-operation with legislators and policy makers, we will contribute to put QSAS in a spearheaded advanced position similar to its kind in the West which goes in line with the UNEP’s global recommendations.

“BARWA and Qatari Diar have worked on the development of a sustainability evaluation system, QSAS, the first ever in the ME, with the aim to find a sustainable real estate environment with minimum negative effects on local and regional environments,” continued Dr. Al-Horr.

“This sustainability evaluation system in Qatar, QSAS, will allow BARWA and Qatari Diar to take the lead in addressing strategic issues related to energy efficiency, decreasing of Carbon emissions, limiting of buildings’ effect on the environment, and securing high quality environment for living. Through maintaining and developing our own world class sustainability evaluation system, BARWA and Qatari Diar will give an example to be followed regionally and internationally,” stated Dr. Al-Horr.

In addition, Eng. Mohammad Al-Hedfa said: “The co-operation with QSTP, to establish BARWA and Qatari Diar Research Institute, is an important step in assisting Qatari real estate companies to develop QSAS, as it will deal with crucial local issues like desertification, water scarcity, pedestrians, and the cultural identity.”

“Other primary QSAS advantages include learning from established global best practices, all categories, criteria and measurements are defined to be performance-based and quantifiable, a flexible scoring method which has overcome the limitations of other international rating systems and complete control over the development, customization and future modifications or expansion of the QSAS rating system,” added Eng. Al-Hedfa

“The presence or our Research Institute at QSTP complements the development of QSAS and the objective to build environment friendly Qatar, aiming in parallel to introduce the system to cover the GCC and the region.” concluded Eng. Al-Hedfa.

During the 1st quarter of this year, BARWA and Qatari Diar has announced QSAS, which is the first of its kind sustainability rating system in the middle east that aims at creating a sustainable urban environment to reduce the environmental impacts while satisfying local community needs.

Studying the local situation in Qatar has led to the formulation of value statements that are at the core of QSAS development. Each value statement constitutes a major category in the rating system, subsequently populated by the specific criteria with associated measurements that together quantify the category as a whole. These criteria were weighted according to their environmental impacts. In order to aggregate over different categories, a set of local stakeholders was assembled to assess the relative importance of each value statement, (i.e. the weight of each category).

In addition to addressing all locally relevant aspects of sustainability, ecological impact, and green building design criteria, QSAS developed a standalone building energy standard to support Qatar’s building energy ratings.

Sustainable, or green, building design focuses on increasing the efficiency of resource use — energy, water, and materials — while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment through better design, construction, operation and maintenance.

In the early formulation of QSAS, the project conducted investigations into existing sustainable assessment methods and systems worldwide. Screening strategies were employed to narrow the focus to these frameworks that provide comprehensive building evaluations. The screening process of over 140 systems resulted in over 40 national and international frameworks and rating methods which were further evaluated and narrowed down to six – BREEAM (UK), Green Globes (Canada), CASBEE (Japan), SBTool (International), CEPAS (Hong Kong) and LEED (USA). These six systems were further analyzed according to their methods and procedures, usability, technical content, measurability and verification, and communicability, then were evaluated on buildings in Qatar. The result was a comparative analysis of the rating systems’ achievements and limitations used to inform and set the stage for the initial development of QSAS

QSAS allows complete flexibility in future expansions and modifications as well as for the seamless integration between Qatar specific requirements and sustainable goals. The system takes advantage of the best features of the rating systems available worldwide with a focus on the needs and impacts on Qatar and the surrounding regions.

The announcement of QSAS was followed by a number of workshops and seminars in co-operation with stakeholders. First of these workshops has been held by Qatari Society Engineers (QSE). The workshop was targeted by more than 130 managers, chief executive officers, engineers and consultants from Qatar, GCC and other Middle East countries. It covered subjects about how to create sustainable building projects which minimize ecological impact while addressing the specific sustainable needs of Qatar and the region.