Qatar is on track to ensure the overwhelming majority of the projects to be used in the 2022 FIFA World Cup will achieve world-class standards of sustainability.
“We are saying that 80 per cent of the construction project activities from now to 2022 will be based on the principles and practice of sustainability,” says Gulf Organisation for Research & Development (GORD) founder and chairman Dr Yousef Alhorr. GORD is a not-for-profit subsidiary of the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company. It promotes healthy, energy and resource efficient, and environmentally responsible building practices in Qatar and the Gulf.
“We have been talking about sustainability and our vision,” Alhorr says. “These dreams are now being put into action in Qatar where we are really implementing sustainability practices. This includes in QRail, all the World Cup 2022 projects, the new cities and all new government projects including schools and hospitals.” Alhorr is a keynote speaker on day one of the MEED Qatar Projects conference organized in association with Ashghal, Qatar’s public works agency, which opens at the Grand Hyatt Doha on 10 March. “My presentation will help business understand what the opportunities are in this area and what is needed including materials and systems to support our sustainability plans,” Alhorr says.
Alhorr says that Qatar is already demonstrating how it can successfully develop sustainable large-scale sports venues. The 2015 World Men's Handball Championship held in Doha on 15 January-1 February was hosted at two of the new venues built to meet demanding sustainability standards. These were the Lusail Sports Arena, and Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena, which achieved 4 Star rating. The tournament was won by France, who beat Qatar in the final 25-22. This was Qatar’s first handball championship medal.
GORD was founded in 2009. It has developed the GSAS sustainable buildings rating system, the first to address the challenges presented by the region’s climate. Alhorr says GORD is preparing to undertake sustainability projects in Saudi Arabia. “We have started training on the ground in the kingdom and we are doing capacity building with the aim of moving to implementation this year,” he says. GORD has an agreement to promote sustainability in government and private buildings in Kuwait and has started talks about carrying out similar projects in Bahrain, Alhorr says.