Posted on April 12, 2014

ConocoPhillips’ Global Water Sustainability Center (GWSC) joined the world in observing and supporting  World Water Day 2014 by organizing a host of activities and programs for local schools in Doha, Qatar which witnessed enthusiastic participation.

Celebrated every year on March 22, this year’s World Water Day highlighted the interconnectedness of water and energy. On this occasion, GWSC, in collaboration with the Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) organized a field trip for Ibn Khaldoun Preparatory Independent School for Boys to the first ultra-low energy villa in Qatar named “Passivhaus”. The Passivhaus - German for Passive House - is part of “Baytuna”, a joint project implemented by QGBC, Barwa Real Estate Group (BRE) and Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa).

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To demonstrate the difference between regular and sustainable residence, two side-by-side 225sq m villas were built to compare their energy use and environmental footprint. Thirty students were given a tour inside the Passivhaus by Dr. Alex Amato, head of sustainability at QGBC. The students were introduced to the different measurements taken in the Passivhaus in order to reduce consumption by 50% in energy and water. The students were briefed on how the villa was constructed using enhanced insulation as well as roof top solar panels to optimize energy usage for cooling and ultimately reducing its environmental footprint.

After the tour of the Passivhaus, the students were taken to the conventional villa built adjacent to the Passivhaus and were given a presentation on the various research activities done at the ConocoPhillips’ GWSC to promote sustainability. The interactive and informative day was concluded by watching the first place winning video of the GWSC Junior Environmental Filmmakers Awards competition made by the Ibn Khaldoun Preparatory Independent School for Boys on water conservation, who went home with a T-shirt that had the message of the 2014 UN World Water Day.

Mr Ahmed Hassan, science coordinator at Ibn Khaldoun Preparatory Independent School expressed his delight to be able to show the students live examples of what they are studying in the school, saying “It’s a great concept that should be applied in more houses. The students were really attracted to the idea of energy conservation through heat insulation and solar power panels that prove to be effective in the long run. This will give students the drive and motivation to apply some of the techniques they learned today to conserve energy for future generations.

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To further reinforce the objectives of the 2014 UN World Water, the GWSC also hosted a tour for Al Wakra High School for Girls and Aspire Academy in its Visitor’s Center located in Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP). The students were given an educational tour inside the center where they were introduced to the various initiatives, experiments, and educational topics related towater sustainability. In addition to learning about the importance of water and how limited it is in Qatar and on the global level, students who visit GWSC also learn methods to conserve water in their daily routines and how to bring this knowledge into their homes and influence water conservation behavior in the family. 

The week of celebrations ended on a high note with the visit of delegates from a Water Interest group in UK. The delegates toured the labs and the Visitor’s Center where they met GWSC’ steam of scientists and engineers. The team showcased their advanced analytical capabilities and award winning initiatives. The ConocoPhillips GWSC team were praised on their on-going efforts to develop innovative water solutions and promote water conservation.