(MENAFN - Arab News) The three-day Saudi Green Building Forum that ended on Monday was held at Riyadh's Four Seasons Hotel under the aegis of Prince Mansour bin Miteb, minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs.
The forum was organized as part of the implementation of King Abdullah's initiative.
The opening of the three-day event was addressed by Mohammed Al-Suwaiyel, president of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology; and Abdullah Al-Muqbil, mayor of Riyadh municipality, who read out the speech of Prince Mansour.
Other speakers included Edward Burton, president and managing director of the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council; Mohamed Al-Mady, SABIC vice chairman and CEO; Amer Kayani, minister counselor at the US Embassy in Riyadh; and Abdulrahman Al-Jeraisy, chairman of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
One of the discussions held was on a study on energy savings resulting through optimization with KNX, a global standard for home and building automation control designed to increase comfort and energy efficiency.
According to the scientific study, room-heating control would save 14 to 25 percent, heating automation 7 to 17 percent, shutter control 9 to 58 percent, and air-conditioning control about 20 to 45 percent. In total, the average energy savings through optimization with KNX lie in the range of 11 percent to 31 percent.
The event also witnessed the signing of a strategic agreement with the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council by Faisal S. Alfadl, the forum's secretary-general; and Edward Burton, the business council's president and managing director.
Speaking on the agreement, Alfadl said this protocol was very important for the socioeconomic environment of both countries, as Saudi Arabia has a vast market and is open to business opportunities coming from the US. The Kingdom boasts of having one of the fastest emerging markets for construction in the Middle East region, which itself promises a plethora of business prospects for private sector and global companies, he noted.
"The Saudi government, with multibillion dollar expenditure, has plans to focus on sustainability and green building development in the region, as it recognizes its significance and reliance on nonrenewable energy resources. This is a clear indication and invitation for companies that can offer innovative green design concepts, energy-efficient technologies, competent management systems, and ground-breaking architectural and engineering consultancy," he said.
Alfadl noted the aim of the alliance is to foster bilateral business associations by initiating and improving trade and investment as well as boosting a better understanding level among US and Saudi companies that specialize in energy, water and building material. This alliance, he continued, would also upturn business opportunities between both countries by leveraging a two-way flow of know-how and technology in the field of green building.
"I am highly pleased and overwhelmed by the way the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council operates, and we had a long, meticulous and fruitful discussion on the way forward. We are geared up and have phenomenal entrepreneurial plans," he observed.
According to Edward Burton, the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council is the premier portal for doing business in the Kingdom and serves as a primary platform between Saudi and American entrepreneurs. "We have around 400 members, and we seek to act as a safe link between Saudi and American members who come from various sectors. The council has a credible way of registering members, and we go above and beyond to ensure that either side knows well about the other," he said.
The council has already facilitated business worth hundreds and millions of investment in Saudi Arabia and intends to act as a catalyst in development of even more business in the future.
He added, "To be here is a great pleasure, and through this strategic agreement we intend to facilitate actual business and sales of green technologies across the Kingdom."
Loay S. Alfi, head of business development at the KAUST Industry Collaboration Program (KICP), held a presentation about an annual study on green building in the GCC. "Saudi Arabia has the largest market in the Middle East, and its potential can be utilized only if there is a connection among the academia, government and private sector. KAUST wants to aid in research, development and innovation, and KICP intends to act as a catalyst for it."
Edmund O'Sullivan, chairman of MEED, said, "This conference is very crucial, and it is promoting something that will in the future become a standard: the green building standard. The Kingdom's government is more open to companies that can offer a sustainable green building project opportunity in the country, and in the future, those who do not adhere to green standards or allow sustainable development might be penalized."