The total amount of investment by Saudi Arabia in green building construction projects and developments now exceeds $26 billion, according to the latest figures from government officials.
Saudi Green Building (SGB) Forum secretary general Faisal Al-Fadl said the $26 billion in green construction investment is spread amongst 76 new environmentally friendly projects, the majority of which are situated in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh.
“Out of 76 projects, 43 are based in Riyadh,” Al-Fadl said.
Al-Fadl also points out Saudi Arabia is host to five per cent of the 1,350 green projects currently under development in the Middle East, and that the country has ambitious plans to rapidly expand its pool of expertise in the sector.
“There are only 150 Saudi engineers specialized in green building. We hope the number of (specialized) engineers will reach 1,000 within the next three years,” Al-Fadl told The Saudi Gazette.
According to Al-Fadl, around 200 Saudi engineers will receive LEED training this year alone in a bid to quickly make up for the shortfall in green building experts.
Ali U Al Najim, deputy chairman of the Saudi Green Building Council, stresses power efficiency in Saudi Arabia’s efforts to build sustainably, pointing out that “energy savings is the most important factor.”
While conceding that building sustainably in Saudi Arabia can increase construction costs by 13 per cent, Al-Fadl says the reduction in long-term operating and maintenance costs more justify the increased expenditures during the building phase.
The huge amount investment in green building made by Saudi Arabia – the world’s biggest oil exporter - could well be a bellwether sign of the future importance of sustainability and efficiency in the global construction sector.
The SGB forum is an initiative launched at the behest of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and recognized by US Green Building Council as an Exclusive Authorized Education Delivery Partner for conducting LEED workshops.