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GORD and QOC signs a MOU on QSAS

GORD and QOC signs a MOU on QSAS

Doha, 2 May 2011: The Gulf Organisation for Research Development (GORD) and the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding today that would see both organizations cooperate on establishing environmentally sustainable sporting venues using the Qatar Sustainability Assessment System (QSAS) standards.

The MOU was signed by Sheikh Saud  bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani, Secretary-General of the Qatar Olympic Committee, and by Dr. Youssef Al-Horr, co-founder and Chairman of the Gulf Organization for Research and Development.  The event was a highlight on the sidelines of the 9th World Congress on Sport and the Environment, currently taking place in Doha.

“The Qatar Olympic Committee has always recognized the importance of establishing a balance between environmental and economic needs when it comes to sports,” said Sheikh Saud bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani, Secretary-General of QOC. “This agreement will allow for the assessment and evaluation of sustainability of pre-existing sporting venues, as well as setting a foundation for all future facilities to be built in Qatar.”

“There is absolutely no reason for the Qatar Olympic Committee’s dedication to enhancing sports in the country to compromise the environment for future generations to come.  Our partnership with the Gulf Organisation for Research and Development is testament to our firm commitment to improve Qatar’s sporting environment, while not sacrificing our natural environment.”

The agreement has GO for RD and QOC cooperate in the field of sustainability in sports venues by employing QSAS standards, and by establishing programs that minimize energy expenditure and CO2 emissions in the construction of new facilities.  Furthermore, both GORD and the QOC are committed to develop and research sustainability issues that are of importance to the sporting field.

“When QSAS was developed, it was envisioned that all aspects of urban development would be encompassed by these standards,” said Dr. Youssef Al-Horr. “With Qatar already investing heavily in athletics and sports, it was only natural that future venues would be built under stringent sustainability standards.  We are therefore honoured, and privileged, to be signing this agreement today with the forward-thinking Qatar Olympic Committee.”

The Qatar Sustainability Assessment System (QSAS) standards focus on local and immediate needs and implements the best sustainability practices taking into consideration the region’s social, economic, environmental and cultural conditions, that are of course unique to that specific region

Founded on pre-existing and proven green building guidelines, a rigorous sustainability rating system and rigid water and energy standards, QSAS integrates best practices from forty global assessment systems to create the highest standard possible sustainable construction for a multitude of buildings – from residential towers, to villas, and to football stadiums.

“When the Qatar Olympic Committee committed itself to environmental sustainability, we knew that only the most stringent and regionally relevant standards would work for us.   The QSAS criterion were by far the most applicable standards, and our strategic partnership with the Gulf Organisation for Research and Development ensures that we carry out these stringent standards thoroughly,” continued Sheikh Saud bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani.

Dr. Youssef Al-Horr added “We have set our sights on Qatar being at the forefront of environmental sustainability in the GCC near future, and we will continue to pursue strategic partnerships with local and regional entities to fulfill that goal.  With key partners like the Qatar Olympic Committee, we will see that vision become reality sooner than later.”

GORD and QOC signs a MOU on QSAS
GORD and QOC signs a MOU on QSAS

Overview on QSAS Regarding Sports Facilities

Purpose of QSAS

QSAS assesses different kinds of sport facilities throughout various stages of the venue project, starting from design, building, and to operations, ensuring that project meets environmental aspects of QSAS at all stages. QSAS was designed in a way that it is able to assess all components of the project specialized to host sport competitions, such as field, spectator and crew , training facilities and other spaces for logistic support.

QSAS takes into consideration the privacy of sport facilities related to operation, which differs according to the sport event. There are some times where these facilities host a big number of competitions and functions when organizing local or international events, and this period is known as a climax period where there is high demand and consumption of resources and high pressure on services. On the other hand, there are periods where no events are at all or some low-key, low-attendance events. Other facilities are built for hosting global event once in its entire life, such as FIFA World Cup or Olympic Games, which urges the need to find a way for using this facility after the events are done. All those make using sport facilities of a special nature which is different from other usages of other civil facilities. According to this, QSAS was designed in a scientific way, taking into consideration all factors related to the nature of the usage and operation as well as issues related to the size and capacity.

Kinds of Sports Facilities Covered by QSAS

QSAS treats a huge number of sport facilities which other assessments systems in the world do not cover. Sport facilities which can implement QSAS can be divided into three major types:

  1. Outdoor fields or semi-closed: include partially covered fields or those capable to be mostly covered. Those are designed as open air fields and are different in size and capacity according to the kind of the game and activity. Some examples are: football stadiums, athletics, American football, baseball, rugby, tennis. volleyball, hockey, cricket, etc.
  2. Indoor/ covered stadiums: stadiums which are fully covered, air-conditioned and isolated from the outside climate, ranging from small to large venues; some examples include basketball, handball, and gymnastics facilities.
  3. Open fields or spaces: the open tracks; their sizes are considered small in comparison to the size of the track, and they contain some buildings to offer some supporting services. Some examples include horse tracks, camel tracks, ski, bicycle, golf, etc.

QSAS Objective Components to Asses Sports Facilities

Assessing any sporting facility according to QSAS includes many requirements in design, execution or operation. These requirements are measured according to objective performance standards by using computer programs especially designed for the system. These requirements depend on studying eight major fields. They are as follows:

  1. Urban planning of the site of facility, including studying the facility impact on site traffic and the design of facility areas and the impact of noise on the surrounding and public and private transportation tracks, as well as releasing sewage water and treating solid and liquid garbage, in addition to availability of parking.
  2. Studying the location: it includes the ideal location of trees in the facility surroundings, and reducing the heat released from the facility and upgrading the ecological value of the site.
  3. Energy consumption: it includes the architecture design assessment and how much it suits the climate conditions of the country, as well as system efficiency in the building such as AC systems, lighting, and other supporting devices, as well as encouraging clean resources to generate energy.
  4. Reduction of water consumption through using water systems which save water, such as electronic pulse systems, and recycling water for other uses such as the irrigation of training pitches.
  5. QSAS asses materials used from different origins, such as locally made materials, and reusing the existing materials in the facilities, and reducing the use of new materials.
  6. Indoor environment for sport: it contains the assessing of inside temperature and its distribution in the building for sporting events, also reducing the harmful materials and fostering natural aeration and lighting. Also takes into consideration the light levels so it is neither too bright nor too dark, as well as reducing the internal noise levels.
  7. Urban and economic heritage: QSAS encourages the national economy through forcing the project to benefit from the local manufacturers and importers, and it encourages implementing the local urban heritage but in a modern and contemporary way.
  8. Management and operation: QSAS focuses on finding a professional operational plan to guarantee the ideal performance of the facility, as well as plans to divert water and treat organic leftovers and recycling them.  In addition, an event management plan to further exploit the venues after an international event, and a plan for environmental awareness and using smart control systems to reduce the consumption of water and energy.

International effort before QSAS

Before launching QSAS to asset sustainability in sport facilities, some countries have made attempts in this field, but they were not as comprehensive, scientific and professional as QSAS. Here are some examples:

BREAM (UK): This system was used in assessing Olympic Games 2012. Officials announced that it was not satisfactorily meet the requirements, as he this system was not especially designed for sport facilities, and this resulted in many failures. Authorities announced in 2008 their intention of  developing a special system dedicated to sporting facilities, but nothing new has transpired since.

LEED (USA): Used limitedly in assessing sustainability in sport facilities in USA, but it is also not designed for sport facilities. Usually this system is adjusted to adapt to sporting venues.

Canadian system: Developed to be used at Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, the system set guidelines for organizers and managers of the event, aiming to create an environmentally sustainable event, but it is not considered an objective engineering system.

International Olympic committee: it published the guidelines IOC21, a general guideline for organizing sustainable sport event to reduce the environmental impacts for such activities. They must be followed at the levels of planning, execution and support, but this system doesn’t have an accurate assessment methods.

South African system: This system was specifically designed to assess the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. It included sustainability assessments based on three pillars: environmental, economic and social. At the environmental side, it was implemented on a world cup stadium but it didn’t include objective standards.

All those previous initiatives are considered incomprehensive and lacked scientific objectivity when compared to QSAS method in assessing sports facilities. For example, QSAS adopts the highest engineering standards in building according to strict requirements, so the building will accomplish the purpose for which it was built.