Environmentally-friendly buildings - Stringer Italy/Reuters Environmentally-friendly buildings - Stringer Italy/Reuters

5Q INTERVIEW: Sustainability consultant discusses energy modelling, green buildings

Wed, Feb. 13, 2019
CAIRO – 13 February 2019: “The future will be green, or not at all,” writes Jonathan Porritt, environmentalist and author. To Porritt, it only made sense for companies and governments, as well as entities, to turn green. For otherwise, they would be looking for immediate, short-term gain, but long-term loss and deterioration.

Looking to all directions, sustainable strategies are really setting the scene, with companies and governments working left and right to set these strategies with the aim of protecting themselves from turning tides.

At its most basic level, sustainability is defined as “the capacity to ensure.” In the world of business, sustainability means that your business model can withstand the test of time, meaning that a company or an industry is resilient and able to go the distance and thrive in different periods.

In fact, a 2011 survey by Management consulting company McKinsey & Company found that the move towards sustainability, which they had seen in 2010 to be driven by companies wanting to improve their reputation, is now inspired by a willingness to reduce energy use (63%) and waste (61%) from operations and respond to constraints and opportunities (46%). Meanwhile, 28% of respondents said their companies preferred sustainability to reach new customer or markets, and 18% said that sustainability is a way of achieving higher prices. As such, 57% say their companies have integrated sustainability into strategic planning.

In light of this move, Egypt Today spoke to Radwa Amin, Founder of Wahdj and Sustainability consultant, to speak about energy modelling, green buildings, and how Egypt can become environmentally-friendly at less cost.

ET: What is the impact of energy modelling on building materials?

Radwa Amin: By performing energy modelling, we can easily know the effect of our material selection onto the building energy consumption and use, consequently if we want to have lower energy consumption than the current results, then we should change our building material selection, to finally get to our energy use consumption target. Bottom line: It is a procedure that helps project team to select materials carefully for the sake of energy conservation.

ET: We are all heading towards being more environment-friendly, but why should buildings be green too?

Radwa Amin: Green building is an old concept, since ancient Egyptian, however I believe it was misused in the last two hundred years. Green buildings are simply the buildings that serve their occupants well, do not waste energy, relate to and conserve the environment which is built in, and built within the client’s required budget. Therefore, by applying this concept, Green Building is a crucial need as we are lacking energy and water resources, occupants suffer from sick building syndrome and their non-connectivity to nature while spending most of their lives inside buildings, and last but not least wasted budget, either in the initial stage of building the project (first cost) or, significantly in the stage of operation and maintenance (operation and maintenance annual cost).

ET: Green-mix concrete or green cement has lower carbon footprint per unit of concrete produced than normal cement, however, when we speak about building strength is of the essence. What kind of performance does green concrete have?

Radwa Amin: I believe that in Egypt, we can still go with conventional concrete instead of green concrete and yet build green buildings too. My opinion is based on that we need to establish proper R&D in Egypt prior spreading the use of green concrete, in order to have proper tracking to such new technology, and also to break green concrete usage barriers, such as the conventional construction business practice, and current building codes,

ET: What is the most important thing to look out for when deciding who should perform energy modelling?

Radwa Amin: I believe that when choosing a specialist to perform energy modelling, we need to search for the following qualities: Technical expertise for the subject matter, probable availability, community involvement, and personal integrity. This is because it means that the person will likely produce quality but fair results, and is likely a good communicator with the rest of the project team. Lastly, we have to consider someone's probable availability.

ET: How important is environmental sustainability to growth and economic sustainability?

Radwa Amin: Very important. If we maintained our natural resources such as water, different energy resources, land, and soil; therefore we would save our future economy and we are moving towards economic sustainability.
 
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