Smart Cities, Sustainable Cities: The Future of Urban Development in Qatar

One of the most important aspects of sustainable design is its ability to adopt a multilayered understanding of the needs of communities, sites and the environment to propose integrated solutions that not only address short and long term environmental and economic benefits but could provide opportunities to enhance social and cultural aspects of the development. Over the past few years, this has extended beyond the scale of buildings well into the public realm to include sustainable urban development strategies, infrastructure design and smart city solutions.

The reasons for creating more sustainable design solutions to minimize the environmental impact of cities are no longer questionable. The main issues facing designers and developers now are how to find the most suitable, smart city solutions that balance client needs, project budgets and the environmental design challenges and opportunities that arise from a project’s context. This is why creating sustainable urban environments will be a continuous endeavor that the Middle East will be experiencing over the coming years.

Fueled by an economic boom that adds pressure on available resources, Qatar, like other countries in the region, is at a crossroads to rethink its approach to urban planning and design to create more sustainable built environments on a macro level and redefine the impact of its future cities. Many steps have already been taken as part of the country’s ongoing efforts to realize the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030, where the country is witnessing a number of large-scale development projects set to the highest local and international sustainability standards. Over the coming years, it is crucial to continue down this path by providing the necessary tools to ensure that targets are met. The integrated efforts of all stakeholders will not only ensure that goals are realized but set on a continuous path of sustainable development.

–  by Rashed Al Nasa’a, Senior Sustainability Consultant, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, GSAS CGP, PQP, Arab Engineering Bureau


Rising to greener heights

By Saeed Al Abbar

When tall buildings first emerged in the late 19th century in the USA to meet the growing demand for inner city office space, little did anyone imagine that nearly 8,000 miles to the East and over 120 years later, a small desert country, the United Arab Emirates, would boast the tallest skyline in the world.

In the Middle East, especially the UAE, the construction of tall and super tall structures is on a high growth trajectory. In fact, since 2009, UAE has been home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

As the Middle East continues to build skyscrapers, the earlier view of tall buildings as large scale energy consumers with little regard for sustainable architecture is now rapidly changing. The new generation of tall buildings are being designed with energy conservation and sustainability as their principal criteria.

The UAE has made significant strides since 2006 to drive the green building agenda with numerous ground breaking frameworks and programmes being implemented by the public sector. Emirates Green Building Council, an independent forum promoting sustainability, has been leading discussions on identifying solutions for existing buildings to become sustainable while ensuring that new ones are designed with ‘green building’ features.

The focus on sustainable built environments reflects His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai’s initiative for a ‘green economy for sustainable development’.

All tall building stakeholders need to look closely at the important aspects of implementing new technologies and features. We need these credible measures by developers to incorporate green building practices to contribute to the green vision of the nation.

 – Saeed Al Abbar is the Chairman of Emirates Green Building Council

QGBC’S Vision For Creating A Smart And Healthy City

Qatar is currently witnessing unprecedented urban development, from the establishment of Lusail City and the development of downtown Doha, to the inception of numerous infrastructure projects, the need to incorporate smart technologies in city planning in an effort to move towards establishing a healthy city is becoming vital.

Retrofitting Doha to become a truly smart city requires the development of a comprehensive long-term strategy with active participation from all the relevant stakeholders in the public and private sectors. In Doha’s context, a smart city will fully support healthy living in all aspects including water and energy conservation, healthy air quality, increased community interaction and active lifestyle. The use of state-of-the-art technologies, such as smart water management system, intelligent and automated air, noise and waste management systems, and real-time communication mechanisms, will eventually help Doha move closer to realizing its vision of a smart and healthy city.

In an effort to conceptualize the development of a smart and healthy city amidst the ongoing infrastructural development, experts at Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), last year devised a comprehensive guide ‘Doha: A Rough Guide to Healthy Cities’.  The Guide,, tackles the issue of the environmental health of urban areas which is becoming increasingly important to the world’s population as a majority of people are shifting towards inner cities.

Highlighting the benefits of planning and designing a healthy city, the non-technical infographic provides design and planning professionals, senior school students and advocates of sustainable development, with interesting guidelines on how to create a healthy city.

The key for QGBC and relevant stakeholders is to foster education around this subject to help create behavioural change in the process. This infographic is a starting point for such practices, which need to be further highlighted through national dialogues, the likes of Arab Future Cities Summit, the Qatar Green Building Conference, and the Qatar Sustainability Week.  Such efforts will foster the development of green infrastructure as a national resource capable of delivering a wide range of environmental, economic and social benefits.

by Meshal Al Shamari, Director – QGBC

Enhancing building efficiency for a greener UAE

By Saeed Al Abbar

With the UAE’s skyline dominated by skyscrapers, and Dubai alone being home to over 3,000 high-rise buildings,1  it is important that all stakeholders within the construction industry leverage the opportunities available for installing renewable energy systems in high-rises.

The roofs of high-rise buildings are often occupied with installations such as cooling towers, chillers and other equipment, which can limit the space available for installing renewable energy systems.

However, with an increasing number of high-rises in the region, it is important that initiatives supporting sustainable built environments are fully considered and implemented.

Emirates Green Building Council, an independent forum promoting sustainability, recently hosted a workshop to discuss the challenges and potential solutions in installing renewable energy technologies in high-rises.

Experts identified awareness, site issues, codes and financial schemes as key points to be addressed to promote the use of renewable energy systems. They observed that these systems must also be outcome-based to ensure reduction in energy consumption.

To bring a tangible shift, a fundamental transformation of the construction sector is needed by streamlining fragmented responsibilities of different stakeholders and developing business models that attract third-party financing.

Stakeholders must also look at implementing highly advanced yet cost-effective façade concepts, based on multifunctional components and/or new combinations of existing building envelope technologies.

An integrated design and close collaboration among a multidisciplinary team will further drive the implementation of renewable energy systems in high-rises.

With the focus on high-rise buildings continuing to grow, in direct response to meet the urban growth requirements, credible measures by developers to incorporate green building practices will contribute to the green vision of the nation and help secure the environment for our future generations.

Saeed Al Abbar is the Chairman of Emirates Green Building Council.

1 State of energy report

2nd Annual Arab Future Cities Summit 2015 Kicks Off Tomorrow in Dubai

Keynote speech in progress at Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2014

Keynote speech in progress at Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2014

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 1, 2015: The stage is set for the 2nd Annual Arab Future Cities Summit 2015. Held under the patronage of Dubai Municipality and organized by global conference producers, Expotrade, the two-day summit will bring together over 350 attendees, including representatives of government organizations, sustainability experts and smart city solution providers.

Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director, Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource City will inaugurate the summit and deliver the opening speech in the presence of esteemed dignitaries such as Eng. Abdulla Rafia, Assistant Director General – Engineering & Planning Sector, Head of The Sustainability Committee, Dubai Municipality and ambassadors of the Embassies of Montenegro, Sweden, Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Angola and Consul General of the Consulate General of Canada. It will be followed by a welcome address from Eng. Abdulla Rafia, Assistant Director General – Engineering & Planning Sector, Head of The Sustainability Committee, Dubai Municipality.

Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “With an elite lineup of keynote speakers and panelists, our summit is the ideal platform to discuss technological innovations that deliver smart city solutions seamlessly and also hold dialogues on the region’s ambitions and progress to gain a smart city status.”

With a series of forward-looking topics, the summit agenda will feature engaging keynote sessions, case study presentations and interactive panel discussions. Across two days, the summit will provide an opportunity to gain insights from industry thought leaders and experts on the best practices, challenges and opportunities emerging in the smart city domain. The summit agenda will broadly cover topics under the purview of Big Data, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Connected Home, Cyber security and Connected Lighting.

Featuring presentations by 30 regional and internationally acclaimed speakers including, Abdulla Al Madani, CEO – Corporate Technical Support Services Sector, RTA; Stephen Turner, Head of Future Cities, Manchester City Council; Dr. Mario Rossi, Landscape Architecture Manager, The Office of H.H. The Crown Prince of Dubai; Faisal Rashid, Director, Demand Side Management, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, to name a few, the summit will focus on the trends and technologies that will drive the growth of sustainable smart cities. Experts Yousuf Mohammed Al Shaiba, Director of Smart Services Development Department, Ajman Municipality & Planning Department and Furqan Ahmed Hashmi, IT Operations Leader, Emirates Investment Authority will participate in a panel discussion on Cyber Security, Safe and Secure Connected cities.

Offering unrivalled networking opportunities, possibility of dialogue and knowledge sharing with the industry stalwarts, the summit will showcase cutting-edge and emerging technologies that will shape the future of smart cities in the region. The summit has the support of more than 20 sponsors, including Samsung Business, Dark Matter, GE Lighting, Philips, Microsoft, Huawei, Rolta, Fusionex, Hive Technology and Introsys to name a few.

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Power development opportunities for the region showcased at the successfully concluded Power Qatar Summit 2015

Fahad Al Mohannadi, General Manager & Managing Director, Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC) delivering the welcome address at the Power Qatar Summit 2015

Doha, Qatar, October 29, 2015: The current progress and future of the power sector and plans to promote renewable energy resources in the State of Qatar were discussed at length, across two days at the recently concluded Power Qatar Summit 2015, held under the patronage of KAHRAMAA. Organized by global conference producers, Expotrade, the summit was held on 26-27 October at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha.

Eng. Abdulaziz Al Hammadi, Manager – Conservation & Energy, Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA), inaugurated the summit along with Fahad Al Mohannadi, General Manager & Managing Director, Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC) and Saleh Hamad Al Marri, Head of Renewable Energy Technologies, KAHRAMAA. The opening session was attended by dignitaries such as 1st Secretary Jihun CHO, Embassy of the Republic of Korea; H.E. Munir Ghannam, Ambassdor, Embassy of the State of Palestine; H.E. Deddy Saiful Hadi, Ambassdor, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia; Mr. Peter Ziegler, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Shingo Tsuda, Ambassador, Embassy of Japan and Dr. M. Anas Arnaout, Legal Advisor, Ministry of Justice, State of Qatar.

Eng. Abdulaziz Al Hammadi delivered the opening speech that emphasized on the solar energy potential in Qatar, which was later followed by a welcome address by Fahad Al Mohannadi. Over two days, the summit featured over 20 keynote sessions, presentations, panel discussions and unrivalled networking opportunities making it a one-stop platform to discuss new developments in the power sector in the GCC region. The two-day summit saw leading experts from all over the world provide insights to capitalize on the region’s energy potential.

Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “We are delighted about the success of the Power Qatar summit. The summit lived up to its promise of providing actionable insights to boost the power sector in the region. Energy efficiency, sustainability and effective utilization of energy resources were the broad themes addressed by the speakers. We offer our sincere thanks to all sponsors, speakers, delegates and partners for supporting the event.”

Among the list of renowned speakers presenting on day one were Saleh Hamad Al Marri, Head of Renewable Energy Technologies, KAHRAMAA; Hashim Al-Zahrani, Head of ICC, GCC Interconnection Authority; Faisal Rashid, Director, Demand Side Management, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and Philippe Freyssinet, Director-Energy & Environment, Qatar National Research Fund speaking on KAHRAMAA’s Prospective Projects for Solar Energy; 400-kV Interconnection Super Grid; Dubai Demand Side Management Strategy 2030 and QNRF actions on Clean Energy Technologies respectively.

Sharad Somani, Executive Director & ASPAC Head for Power & Utilities, KPMG Corporate Finance, moderated the day one panel discussion on reviewing the challenges facing solar industry growth and the role of solar energy in sustainable city development. The participating panelists were Mohamed Nagib Omara, Technical Advisor to the President, KAHRAMAA; Dr. Haitham Abu-Rub, Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering Program, Texas A&M University at Qatar; Mansour Al Qahtani, Executive Vice President – Distribution & Customer Service, Saudi Electricity Company and Arnaud Berthet, Head of Representative office, Engie –Qatar.

Day 2 session began with Walid Al Deghaili, Energy Sector Expert – Sustainable Development Policies Division, UN-ESCWA presenting on water use for energy, followed by Jan Schoenig, Program Manager, Major Events, Siemens WLL Qatar. During his session, he focused on the new products, systems and solutions in the area of energy transmission, distribution and energy efficiency.

Also, present at the event to share their insights on Day 2 were Dr. Ioannis Spanos, Senior Sustainability Manager, KEO International Consultants, Prof. Nouar Tabet, ‎Principal Investigator and Dr. Abdelkader Bousselham, Senior Scientist-Grid Integration of Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute. Panel discussion on attaining sustainability through a combination of conventional and renewable energy sources included experts David Martin McKenna, Senior Sustainability Engineer, ASTAD Project Management; Dr. Esam Elsarrag, Director Research & Development, Gulf Organisation for Research & Development; Dr. Obindah Gershon nee Wagbara, Adjunct Professor of Energy Economics, Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar and Dr. Ioannis Spanos of KEO International Consultants.

Speakers included experts from WSP| Parsons Brinckerhoff, KAPSARC and premium sponsors ENGIE, Siemens, Bronzeye, KPMG, Ooredoo, Rawafid Systems, Oracle Utilities and Eversheds who touched upon the different aspects of the power and energy sector in the region.

Other sponsors included NEP, Innovation Renewable Energy, Qatar International Electrical Co WLL, Middle East Specialized Cables (MESC), Voltamp Energy SAOG, Field Industrial Supplies WLL Qatar (FIS), Netico, Roxtec Teksan Generator, Yamuna Densons, Scania, Gulf Pearl Block & Tiles Factory, Hamton International W.L.L, Al-Ojaimi Group, POWERSYS, Albawakir and Warmat who displayed a range of solutions at the exhibitor lounge.

The prize draw at the close of day two garnered the attention of all attendees. One lucky winner won a 2 nights’ stay at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton, West Bay Lagoon property, while another took home an iPad.

With more than 400 participants from across the GCC attending the summit, the sponsors of the summit commented favorably at its close. Mr. Arnaud Berthet, Head of representative Office, ENGIE – Qatar, said, “We have a diverse scope of people and companies here, which is very useful. It is a very good environment to exchange ideas about how to make the energy world more sustainable for Qatar and globally for the region. These kind of forums help you meet the right people, involved in the power and solar energy sector.

Mr. Aasit M. Naik, General Manager – Central Marketing, Voltamp Energy SAOG described the event as “power packed with excellent presentations by all speakers which gave great insight into progress made by Qatar and also futuristic way for new projects.” He further added, “The event was well attended by the key stakeholders of the power sector, both from the public as well as the industry.”

Power Qatar Summit 2015 begins tomorrow

Power Qatar Summit 2015 begins tomorrow

Power Qatar Summit 2015 begins tomorrow

Doha, Qatar, October 25, 2015: The two- day Power Qatar Summit, which is to be held under the patronage of Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA) will be opened tomorrow here at Ritz-Carlton Doha.

The event focused on power generation and transmission in the State of Qatar will witness the presence of a number of visitors, exhibitors and delegates among others to discuss and exchange ideas concerning region’s energy future. Organized by global conference producers, Expotrade, the summit will explore the growing focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean technology and offer a comprehensive overview on the future of energy development in the region,

The 2015 conference agenda offers delegates an overview of Qatar’s sustainable energy plans and future strategies in the arena. The summit is considered as a recognized event, which brings together key policy makers, energy leaders and professionals.

Deliberating on the prospects of renewable energy, the Day 1 of the conference agenda will feature topics pertaining to KAHRAMAA’s prospective and ongoing projects related with the solar energy; Smart Energy Solutions, renewable energy resources: current status, future prospects and QNRF’s action plan regarding clean energy technologies.

Apart from a panel discussion on reviewing the challenges facing solar industry growth and the role of solar energy in sustainable city development, the first day of the summit will also cover sessions on 400 -kV Interconnection Super Grid; Enabling the Smart Grid through Efficient Utilities Solutions; Effective Energy Management: Dubai Demand Side Management Strategy 2030 and Energy Storage Opportunities for Transportation and Grid Applications in the GCC Region.

Day 2 agenda includes sessions on FIFA World Cup 2022 powered by innovations; grid-connected photovoltaic systems; improving energy efficiency in buildings through regulation; understanding the potential of renewable energy for MENA; and the panel discussion will also focus on attaining sustainability through a combination of conventional and renewable energy sources.

Building on the success of the Solar Qatar Summit, the latest edition of the Power Qatar Summit is designed to cover all aspects of power and energy and address the new opportunities and developments available in the region. Over two days, the summit will host a robust panel of experts and speakers who will discuss new developments arising in the sector. Last year’s Solar Qatar summit was a resounding success and this year promises to be no different.

The summit has the support of leading companies such as Engie, Siemens, Bronzeye, KPMG, Ooredoo, Rawafid Systems, Oracle Utilities, Eversheds, NEP, Innovation Renewable Energy, and the exhibitor lounge will feature solutions from over 20 companies.

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