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Sustainable Building Materials Adoptable in Saudi Arabia

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Green building materials are composed of renewable, rather than nonrenewable, resources

Green materials are environmentally responsible because the impacts of the product are considered over its life cycle. Depending upon projectspecific goals, an assessment of green materials may involve an evaluation of one or more of the following criteria: resource efficiency, indoor air quality, energy efficiency, water conservation, and affordability.

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Apart from its energy consumption, the building sector is also one of the largest contributors to changes in the environment and atmosphere: firstly, building construction, raw material processing and product manufacturing overall are the largest sources of GHGs. They account for some 40% of the world GHGs emissions. The building sector creates the most waste, habitat destruction and is responsible for the most pollution. Second, GHGs, particularly CO2, are the main by-product of fossil fuel energy consumption, and as buildings are, in total, among the largest consumers of energy, they are also the major contributor to the increase in CO2 emissions and hence global warming. While most available data related to these contributions are for the developed world, reports show that, on the whole, these contributions are worse in developing countries such as the GCCC. These countries have become major GHGs emitters. One of the main principles of the GCCC is to enhance the economic and environmental actions related to the adoption of policies and unifying environmental laws as well as the conservation of natural resources (GCC, 2008). Within this context a two-fold policy aims at promoting energy regulations and sustainable developments has been adopted. A major role has been given to the building sector, with a special focus on the important role that efficiency regulations can play in reducing energy consumption and protecting the environment. A great number of available projects, such as those mentioned above, shows that if building green is a target at the outset of the design process and material selection then the cost of the green building is competitive. In a commercial setting, such projects can result in reduced energy consumption, saved environment, improved occupant health and comfort and reduced capital costs

Many rigorous assessments show that the overall cost of these projects is no more than that of any equivalent conventional project. Increases in first cost are reported within the range from five-ten per cent. During the construction phase the use of the green strategies, such as downsizing of costly mechanical, electrical and structural systems can increase the saving in initial costs, while during the first two decades the increases due to the use of green technologies will result in a savings of at least ten times the initial investment in operation costs for utilities such as electricity. In rental properties, owners are concerned only with the initial cost, especially in the cases where tenants are paying the bills.

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As stated earlier, Saudi Arabia is a country with tremendous growth due to factors such as growing population, economic growth and modernization [Attia, S., 2013]. The housing and commercial sector grew by an astonishing 850% in terms of floor area since the turn of the century [Korkmaz, S.; 2010]. Most of the development in the KSA only takes into account the capital costs, however literature dictates that majority of the energy consumption takes place during the operation of the building, 80% of total energy consumption occurs during operation of the building, while less than 20% occurs during the initial construction and preconstruction stages. The high growth of the sector, coupled with rapid construction which overlooks energy efficiency and only focuses on initial investment, has cultivated a construction sector that constructs unsustainable homes which have deficient or no insulation, leaking windows, inefficient cooling systems and poor construction techniques. Furthermore, policy incentives currently do not exist for owners/property developers to develop sustainable buildings. Policy incentives can motivate developers into investing in sustainable technologies such as renewable energy. Unfortunately, lack of incentives results in a challenging situation for developing sustainable buildings and currently is a barrier to sustainable development.

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By and large, in most circumstances, they are not as environment friendly as the wooden houses. Notably the concrete houses have several advantages as compared to the wooden houses constructed within Saudi Arabia. In summary, it is better to construct the concrete houses in Saudi Arabia rather than the wooden houses.

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Attia, S.; De Herde, A.; Gratia, E.; Hensen, J.L.M. Achieving informed decision-making for net zero energy buildings design using building performance simulation tools. Build. Simul. 2013, 6, 3–21.

Korkmaz, S.; Messner, J.I.; Riley, D.R.; Magent, C. High-performance green building design process modeling and integrated use of visualization tools. J. Archit. Eng. 2010, 16, 37–45.

Zhai, Z.; McNeill, J.S. Roles of building simulation tools in sustainable building design. Build. Simul. 2014, 7, 107–109

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