The Green Building concept is considered part of the “Green Economy”, which is related to investment directed at low-carbon energy and energy efficiency, water management, green building and operations and recycling reuse and reuse management.
The Green Economy is estimated to be over $2.2 trillion by 2020 with a majority of investment in renewable energy followed by green building and water management. For Jordan, the green economy could result in $110 billion in investment by 2020. Focused efforts could result in a 20- 35% increase in investment in the green economy.
Green economic development can be defined as the focused set of activities from policy, business development, marketing, capacity building, new regulations and incentive creation to improve the standards of living for a nation’s population through investment, job creation and sustained growth, primarily using “green” products and services related to energy, water, natural resources conversation, clean technologies and water reduction.
Jordan is poised to emerge as one of the region’s leaders in “Green Building” design and construction. A significant shift in the developer’s and customers’ views towards “green building” design has been driven by massive media campaigns on environmental protection spearheaded by both governments and private organization across the region. The real estate sector has witnessed various initiatives to support environmental compliance with local developers aggressively fulfilling Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification requirements.
Jordan could be an initial player in the region in this niche market by improving access to emerging opportunities and therefore generating incremental revenue. Billions of green focused grants and loans are available through the EU, USAID and the World Bank that can offset and even eliminate capital costs. In May 2009 the Jordan Green Building Council (Jordan GBC) was established to spread awareness of Green Building concepts, provide training and conduct audit on buildings to award the LEED certifications.
Green Building Market
To better reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment, Green Buildings are designed to:
• Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
• Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
• Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation
During the past years there have been many attempts internationally to introduce this concept and to develop green building rating systems such as LEED, CASBEE, BREEAM, GBTool, Green Star and others. Furthermore, the private and civil sectors have been instrumental in promoting the concept through the creation of country based "Green Building Council".
By building green and sustainable buildings these benefits are realized:
• Enhance and protect ecosystems and biodiversity
• Improve air and water quality
• Reduce solid waste
• Conserve natural resources
• Reduce operating costs
• Enhance asset value and profits
• Improve employee productivity and satisfaction
• Optimize life-cycle economic performance
Health and community benefits:
• Improve air, thermal, and acoustic environments
• Enhance occupant comfort and health
• Minimize strain on local infrastructure
• Contribute to overall quality of life
The State of Green Buildings in Jordan
Climate change and the management of the world's limited natural resources has become a global concern. Jordan is no exception, particularly due to the rapid increase in the cost of energy, and the depletion of Jordan's already scarce natural resources especially water. The Hashemite Kingdom also needs to comply with international environmental treaties.
Since green buildings can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 35%, compared to traditional buildings, energy use by 30-50%, waste output by 70% and water usage by 40%; it was only logical for different stakeholders within the country to work on introducing the Green Building concept. This became apparent when the introductions of energy efficient building codes were recommended in the National Energy Sector Strategy released in 2007.
Jordan is a small country with a highly educated and capable society. With over 1.3% of the population composed of engineers it stands to reason that the potential level of technical expertise is very high, in tandem with the fact that Jordan, since 2004, has been undergoing a construction boom even after the global financial crisis. Additionally, Government through the Jordan National Building Council and its stakeholders, including the Jordan Engineers Association and the A/E Business council have been busy developing National Building Codes that serve the concept of sustainable or Green Buildings and Built Environment. Accordingly, the environment was very ripe for the establishment and creation of a Jordanian Green Building Council which was legally established in 2009 and was launched in Q1 2010.
A study conducted on the Jordan market revealed the following:
1. Green Building concepts are just being launched in Jordan with the national Building council taking the lead in developing National building Codes. The Jordan GBC and the other players act as technical expert supporters to the Council. Accordingly, there is much excitement in the market about Green Building issues
2. There are over 20 projects in Jordan who applied directly to the USGBC for LEED certification and the number of LEED AP accredited professionals is on the rise with an increase from 15 to over 30 members in 2008/2009. This number is expected to increase substantially through the support and awareness activities of the Jordan GBC.
3. The Jordanian market has over 1200 A/E service firms, 50% of which are firms with minimum development interest, that leaves a target of around 600 firms, 10% are expected to be interested in GB practices. However, the top 30 companies in Jordan are all interested in Green Building practices and it is hoped they all will become members.
4. Green Building certification and consultancy has been added to the A/E firm qualification criteria of the Government Tenders Department. This criterion is used to technically prequalify A/E firms to implement Government projects. With the current global economic situation, it is unknown when the Government will proceed in its Green Building projects, but it is expected it will commence in 2011.
5. The Jordanian market has around 1200 contracting targeted regarding awareness activities to support these as they increase their knowledge and skill levels to be able Green Building contracts.