Posted on October 02, 2019

Consolidating efforts to achieve sustainability goals set forth by Qatar National Vision 2030, the Gulf Organisation for Research & Development (GORD) has revealed plans to introduce energy audits workshops by 2020 in Qatar and beyond. The announcement was made by the organization’s Founding Chairman Dr. Yousef Alhorr during GORD’s Energy Assessment Workshop held on Thursday, September 26.

The one-day workshop is designed to equip professionals with necessary tools to meet energy requirements of the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) – MENA’s first performance-based green buildings certification system for sustainable built environment. Energy category has been assigned the foremost place among the eight GSAS categories that encompass macro and micro level aspects for a multidimensional focus on sustainability. This emphasis is due to the region’s intensive consumption of energy. Holding the highest weightage of 24%, energy efficiency is a mandatory requirement of GSAS framework. This special focus makes GSAS requirements 20% more stringent compared to international energy guidelines such as ASHRAE 90.1 – 2010.

During the workshop, GORD instructors shared ways to design, size and manage energy efficient systems to lower a project’s energy demands, among other topics to cover four key aspects of energy within GSAS, which include thermal energy demand, energy use, primary energy and CO2 emissions, with an emphasis on energy sub-metering and renewable energy. The workshop also catered to the need of knowledge dissemination behind GORD’s policy as all GSAS service providers are required to have at least one practitioner trained in GSAS energy assessment and standards to design energy efficient buildings and infrastructure.

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What added more value to the recent Energy Assessment Workshop was also the inclusion of technical content on water conservation, which contributes to 16% of the total GSAS weightage. Covering this area, specialists from GORD shared knowledge about indoor and outdoor water systems as well as factors associated with water consumption and its impact on municipal supply and treatment systems. During the workshop, latest GSAS tools, namely Energia Suite and Water Suite were demonstrated. The new tools which represent a substantial leap in the field of green buildings assessment attracted a high level of interest from the participants.

Among course attendees were designers, contractors, stakeholders, PM consulting engineers, supervision consultants, and client representatives from Qatar as well as neighboring countries. Visiting from Kuwait was Dr. Faten Al-Attar, General Manager at SHEMS International, a Kuwait-based consultant in the field of environment, health and safety, currently seeking a GSAS service provider license for her organization. “In Kuwait, we are bidding for some projects with GSAS requirements,” said Dr. Al-Attar who sees GSAS to have a promising scope in Kuwait. “It really proves that the next trend in Kuwait is going for green buildings,” she added.

Visiting from Dubai was Marcin Wronowski, Senior Consultant – Sustainable Resource Management, Middle East at WSP. Describing the workshop as an opportunity to understand the requirements of GSAS for designing efficient buildings, Wronowski mentioned Qatar, Kuwait and Oman as key regional markets benefiting from GSAS framework. Speaking about some takeaways from GORD’s energy workshop, Shashi Narayanan, Associate – Senior Sustainability Manager, Middle East, WSP, said, “It gives me an understanding about the technical requirements that are going into the calculators and the levels to which designs need to be worked out at an early stage.”

Emad Ahmed, representing Strom Qatar, was attending the workshop to renew his license and refresh his knowledge. The workshop, he said, also cleared technical issues he had been having in his projects including Doha College campus. When asked for feedback, Ahmed suggested that such workshops should be held more frequently, “Within the year, there are very few GSAS workshops compared to the market demand, usually they are fully booked.”