Global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will announced today that 17 of its newest projects in Saudi Arabia have earned LEED, LEED Silver, and/or LEED Gold certification, representing more than half, or 54.36 percent, of all LEED certified gross area in the country.
“As a firm that cares deeply about sustainability, we are proud to be championing green design in the Middle East,” says Paula McEvoy, LEED Fellow and sustainable design leader at Perkins+Will. “The notion of ‘green building’ is nascent in this part of the world, where the economy has long been petroleum-based, so to help advance sustainable design here—to help our clients see its value and importance—is deeply rewarding.”
The projects that earned LEED certification include 12 buildings on the campus of Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University (PNU) in Riyadh and five buildings for King Saud bin Abdulaziz University (KSU)—two on the Riyadh campus, two on the Jeddah campus, and one on the Al Hasa campus. The Specialty Children’s Hospital on the Riyadh campus of King Saud bin Abdulaziz University is the largest LEED Gold hospital outside of North America.
In total, eight buildings earned LEED Gold, seven earned LEED Silver, and two earned basic LEED certification—not a small feat considering the harsh, hot, desert climate, according to Karim Farah, sustainability manager for Dar Al-Handasah (Shair and Partners), Perkins+Will’s strategic partner on all of its projects in the region.
“The Perkins+Will team conducted on-site training for the contractors, sometimes leading four to five workshops a day, just to get them up to speed on LEED prerequisites, credits, and the overall process,” Farah says. “Fortunately, these project partners were enthusiastic and quite eager to learn, and they ultimately helped make truly remarkable and measurable environmental performance improvements.”
In addition to having a reduced impact on the environment, each of the LEED certified buildings that Perkins+Will designed is a healthy space that encourages physical activity through active design. Elements of active design include accessible stairs and walkable paths to promote movement, cooled exterior areas to facilitate exposure to the outdoors, and ample water fountains.
“The achievement of LEED certification of these sustainably designed projects is just the beginning of their success story,” says Breeze Glazer, sustainable healthcare research expert at Perkins+Will. “We and our project partners look forward to observing the benefits these enhanced healing and learning environments will have on patients, staff, and students over the next half-century or more.”
Both the PNU and KSU projects were completed recently, achieving LEED certification shortly thereafter. Perkins+Will is currently working on a number of other projects across Saudi Arabia that are pursuing LEED certification.
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