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King Abdullah Financial District now the world's biggest green development

Massive real estate project seeking green accreditation

Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) is now the largest project in the world that is seeking green building accreditation, MEED’s Saudi Green Buildings Forum 2011 was told today.

The project involves building 34 towers in a site with a total area of 1.6 million square metres. It will provide more than 3 million square metres of space for various uses, 62,000 parking spaces and accommodation for 12,000 residents. The KAFD aims to create 44,000 new jobs and to be the largest financial centre in the Middle East.

The LEED director for the project at the Saudi BinLadin Group, Whysal Numan said that the drive to achieve the highest standards in sustainability has involved a wide range of initiatives designed to lift environmental standards during the construction process and after the opening of the project. This is scheduled to take place in 2014.

The Saudi Binladin Group is the principal design and build contractor on the project.

Sustainability initiatives at the project include an erosion sedimentation control plan to reduce pollution from dust and to control soil erosion. “We have land-watering in the project each hour and every day and other measures to control dust coming from the site,” Numan said. Traffic speed within the project is controlled for the same reason.

“Our construction waste management programme aims to divert at least 50 per cent of our construction waste from disposal in landfill and incinerators,” Whysal said. “The indoor air quality plan is to reduce health risks for construction workers.”

The project will use alternative transport systems. “The KAFD is to have a monorail system with six stations that will connect with public parking areas. There will also be parking for bicycles and changing rooms for people who come the district by bicycle.

LEED requirements demand that water consumption must be reduced by 20 per cent. To achieve this, technology being used in the project includes dual-flush toilet systems and low-water flow fittings. Buildings within the KAFD will also make use of gray water.

“Energy performance is most critical,” Whysal said. “LEED requires a 10 per cent reduction in energy use. We have introduced a lot of strategies to achieve this and they include low ultra-violet materials; shading device systems; heat recovery systems and efficient light fixtures.

“We are aiming to use at least 50 per cent of the materials from recycled material,” Whysal said. This has involved using recycled steel and porcelain. “We are aiming that at least 10 per cent of the total cost will be in the form of recycled material and we could get to 20 per cent and more.”

“Building materials have been selected which are extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of the project site for a miniumum of 10 per cent of the cost of the total value of the materials used in the project,” Whysal said. “We are targetting 20 per cent.” Sustainable adhesives, paints, flooring and composite wood are being used to reach this target.

The client for the King Abdullah Financial District is the Rayadah Investment Company.