Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), part of Qatar Foundation, has launched a booklet titled ‘Green Homes – Guide to Greener and Healthier Home’, giving tips about constructing environment friendly buildings.
Launched on the sidelines of Project Qatar 2021, the booklet is directed at experts, such as engineers, architects, and construction professionals, as well as to homeowners who have no architectural background but can apply some of the featured strategies.
The booklet includes all stages of construction – starting from the design phase to the rehabilitation phase of the building to make it environmentally-friendly. The booklet also includes the ideal method for choosing the appropriate site for the construction of the external structure of the building, the distribution of spaces inside, among other factors.
“An eco-friendly building may cost a little more than traditional buildings – with a maximum increase of 2% to 5%. This is an initial investment, as there are many things that will be compensated through this initial investment, such as saving on electricity and water bills," said, Ruba Hinnawi, a technical specialist at QGBC. “However, this is a purely non-monetary issue, given its impact on our health as individuals, our productivity and our overall performance.”
Hinnawi explained that there are many simple and inexpensive strategies that can be used when constructing buildings to take advantage of all the natural factors surrounding the building, such as sunlight, natural winds, solar panels, or the types of plants that can be grown in the house – all of which can help to reduce temperatures, and thus rationalise energy consumption by reducing heat.
“The ecological and biological system in which we live is fundamental to our existence and our livelihood. If there is any disruption, we will be affected first. Therefore, we must preserve it,” explained the official.
“When compared to other buildings, individuals exposed to sunlight and natural air in buildings constructed as green or environmentally-friendly enhance their productivity and preserve their health by up to 15%,” she noted.
According to the QGBC official, buildings are one of the sectors that most affect or contribute to the climatic effects and as a result, there is a focus on the design and operation of buildings, as they play a large role in reducing the emergence of greenhouse gases and the occurrence of global warming,
Maintaining that the forefathers were environment-conscious and applied sustainable standards in their homes, she said, “In Qatar, our forefathers used to live in homes without cooling devices, and local materials were used in the construction of the houses. The houses were designed to allow the entry of air and sunlight through intelligent design of shapes, sizes and location of windows and doors.”
She pointed out that the goal of the green building idea was established not only to decrease the negative impact on the environment, but also to provide for the health and well-being of the residents of these buildings.
“Due to Covid-19, we are now sitting in homes for longer periods, and our homes have become the seat of work and study. Thus, the importance of green buildings, which allow for natural lighting, provide better air and appropriate temperatures, while also saving energy – an economically viable aspect for the users of these buildings,” Hinnawi highlighted.
Hinnawi stated that the lack of awareness among individuals creates challenges to convince them to move from traditional buildings to sustainable buildings. Therefore, QGBC is based on three main pillars: spreading awareness, education and research.
The official is of the opinion that people’s perceptions of the benefits of green buildings and its influence on their lives will inspire them to make educated decisions about their everyday routines, such as the foods they consume, the mode of transportation they use, among others. “Then, sustainability will become a way of life,” added, Hinnawi.