QF expert highlights importance of learning from green buildings
Sport is a tool that brings people together, regardless of age, interests, language, and ethnicity. And major sporting events hosted in ‘green’ buildings can be used as vehicles to educate the public on the importance of sustainability.
“For a developing nation as multicultural as Qatar, sport is a way of bringing people together, and allowing them to share memorable moments,” says Hamoda Y. Youssef, Head of Technical Affairs at Qatar Green Building Council, a member of Qatar Foundation (QF).
To send the message of sustainability through a sporting event or building is very powerful
“Sport on its own is a great gathering point, and can serve as a platform for people to interact and engage positively. So to send the message of sustainability through a sporting event or building is very powerful.”
The Education City Stadium, which was officially inaugurated earlier this year within QF’s Education City, is a beacon of education and sustainability to the world, and was the first FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ venue to achieve a five-star Global Sustainability Assessment System certification from the Gulf Organisation for Research & Development. And its ‘green’ credentials, and how people can learn from them, mirror the fact that sustainability is at the core of QF’s mission – as it has been over the 25 years since the organization was established.
The stadium boasts a range of eco-friendly features, including incorporating a passive design, which takes advantage of the climate to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the structure. It also utilizes sustainable materials, sourcing 85 percent regionally and 55 per cent locally, while 29 percent was generated from recycled content. Other key features include low-flow water fixtures, an efficient irrigation system, native and drought-tolerant flora, and energy-efficient LED lighting systems.
Sport on its own is a great gathering point and can serve as a platform for people to interact and engage positively
Further demonstrating that learning is at the very heart of the stadium, following the conclusion of the World Cup – and as it moves into its legacy phase – 20,000 seats will be donated to support the construction of stadiums in developing countries. And it is set to serve as a hub for social and community engagement by also housing two progressive QF schools – Qatar Academy for Science and Technology and Academyati, both part of QF’s Pre-University Education.
“Typically, cities are shaped by the architecture of their iconic buildings – for example, the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur,” said Youssef.
“In Qatar, as we are gearing up for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, the stadiums will be our new iconic buildings for the next few years, and even after the event itself.
“There will be enormous memories shared within these stadiums, billions of people – even if not actually in Qatar – will experience the matches. And if you promote these iconic buildings as sustainable, you are delivering a powerful message to the world.”
These buildings, according to Youssef, can serve as education tools – not just on the global stage, but also at a grassroots level, where members of the community have the opportunity to engage and learn from them first-hand, and reflect what they learn in their daily lives and actions.
Qatar has been in the forefront of sustainability in the region for many years
“By demonstrating the various sustainable features to visitors, you can educate people on how to utilize different eco-friendly tools within their homes and within their own wider communities, and show how these measures can be scaled accordingly,” he said. “This is significant, because if you don't do that, people will think that only expensive buildings with endless resources can be sustainable.”
Youssef refers to this as non-intrusive learning. “It’s not a classroom,” he says. “Use subtle, non-intrusive learning tips and tricks. Allow people to learn without feeling overwhelmed, unsettled, or guilty.
“For example, within Education City, QF’s Student Housing complexes boast dashboards detailing how the buildings are energy efficient, water efficient, and – in some cases – highlighting their air quality. In QF’s Oxygen Park, the Qur'anic Botanic Garden has added detailed labels to the plants, including the history of the species.”
Explaining how QF’s dedication to promoting environmentally friendly practices is a reflection of the country as a whole, Youssef says: “Qatar has been in the forefront of sustainability in the region for many years.
“By embracing these concepts and employing them throughout Education City, QF continues to lead by example. And the Education City Stadium is a continuation of this, taking it to the next level and showing people how sustainability benefits everyone and can be applied everywhere.”