According to the United States Green Building Council, buildings are one of the heaviest consumers of natural resources and account for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions.
But in recent years a move towards implementing green building practices has picked up momentum, with the value of the global green building market in 2013 reaching $260 billion. A World Green Building Trends report published in the same year said that in addition to being motivated by environmental concerns, companies across the world are increasingly turning to green building practices out of business imperative and market demand.
According to Abdullah Bdeir, chairman of the Jordan Green Building Council (GBC), companies in Jordan are likewise starting to realize the value of going green in terms of helping the environment and cutting operational costs. Compared to their conventional counterparts, he said green buildings use on average a third less energy, up to 20 percent less water, and generate up to 60 percent less waste.
The ultimate aim for any green building project globally is to be awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. The US-based organization responsible for the most widely used green building rating system has so far awarded three buildings in Jordan with the coveted accolade, while a further 23 projects have registered an interest in becoming LEED certified.
The Dutch Embassy
Date built: 2010
Location: Abu Bakr Siraj Al-Din Street, Abdoun, Amman
Designer: Rudy Uytenhaak
The Dutch Embassy was the first building in Jordan to receive the prestigious international LEED-certification for green buildings in 2010 with a silver rating. This environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient building was constructed by transforming and renovating an old villa. The architect was inspired by traditional Jordanian building practices and used thick walls made from local materials to act as natural insulation. The villa’s original swimming pool was reused as a thermal buffer, so that in the summer the cold night breeze is captured and pumped back into the building during the day as a natural cooling system. While in winter, solar panels warm the water inside which is then pumped into the central heating system. Other green features of the building include a low-water intensive garden, glass walls to maximize natural light, and canvass shades to keep the building cool.
World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office Building
Date built: 2011
Location: Mohammad Jamjoum Street, Amman
The WHO Regional Office Building was the first to be awarded a gold LEED rating for the entire Eastern Mediterranean region. The building was constructed with almost half of the materials sourced locally and using environmentally-friendly features aimed at improving energy efficiency by 22.5 percent, and saving water by 60 percent. Other energy efficient technology was used in order to significantly reduce the building’s contribution to carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases.
The Middle East Insurance Company
Date built: 2013
Location: Zahran Street, Amman
Designer: Faris Bagaeen
The Middle East Insurance Company building was the second in Jordan after the WHO regional headquarters to receive a LEED certification gold rating. The building was constructed using green architecture strategies, which included energy efficient designs and sourcing 20 percent of manufactured materials regionally. Environmentally-friendly building features, such as gray water reuse and rainwater harvesting mean the building has achieved a 50 percent reduction in potable landscape water use, a 40 percent reduction in indoor water use, and a 50 percent reduction in wastewater generation.