BUILDING GREEN

Kuwait 2019 | GREEN ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

KGBC focuses on education and capacity building as well as providing support for sustainable green building practices.

Sandra Draskovic
BIOGRAPHY
Sandra Draskovic was awarded a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Belgrade. For more than 10 years, her architectural practice has been divided between conceptualizing, designing, managing, and executing a diverse residential, commercial, and hospitality portfolio in Serbia, France, Qatar, the UK, Russia, Mongolia, and Kuwait, working on strategic design and sustainability solutions and lecturing and mentoring future young professionals and emerging engineers. She has dedicated her career to spearheading sustainability, strategic, and technical sustainability-focused building solutions and the improvement of environment. She is an experienced manager with a demonstrated history of working in non-profit and profit organizations.

How do you educate the construction sector on the importance of energy efficiency in building and environmental sustainability?

KGBC is a membership-based organization, with members from many different sectors and backgrounds such as consultancy offices, contractors, manufacturers, and suppliers of different building materials. We also work with governmental institutions and non-profit organizations. We cover more or less the entire cycle of the real estate industry from demand to supply side of it, working closely on a variety of specially tailored activities and events to achieve our goals. With contractors and the construction sector, we work on different tailored education programs and projects based on market surveys conducted amongst our members. KGBC holds Green Talks, forums that involve a higher level of information sharing, covering various topics related to sustainability to raise the awareness of a wider population. We also have a Green Academy that includes more technical sessions and workshops targeting consultants, contractors, and engineers. Finally, we provide our members with technical workshops and trainings on different certification systems and latest green building technologies.

What has been the evolution of the number of certified buildings in the country so far?

In 2009, ALARGAN's headquarters in ARGAN business park was the first LEED Platinum for commercial interiors certified building in Kuwait. Since then, we have witnessed many other oil headquarters seeking or certified with LEED or GSAS certifications. The new campus of Kuwait University, particularly the College of Technological Studies, College of Business Studies, and College of Basic Education, all seek to acquire LEED certification, while the new Kuwait Airport Terminal 2 targets LEED Gold Certification. KGBC supports all green building certification systems available on the market. We help with the education and capacity building, and when the certification process starts, we connect clients and contractors with the Green Business Certification Institute that issues certifications. We have become a link between GBCI Middle East or GBCI US and local and regional consultancy offices involved in the certification process of the projects.

What are the main needs of the market in Kuwait?

We often visit local private and public universities and give students mentoring sessions on LEED and green buildings in general, deliver lectures and training, and help with student projects on sustainability. Construction site and field workers lack information about certification systems, how to comply with them, and how to design, build, and operate a green building. This is an opportunity for us to provide a specialized educational program to not only engineers and students but also get construction sector workers involved from the early stage of construction until operations and end users of buildings. There is a lack of green building materials, technologies, and systems available on the market, but recent trends show growing interest in this field. In order to build a green building, it is important to not only apply the proper building systems, technologies, and materials, but also source the materials within 500 miles of the location, which reduces the carbon footprint of the transportation and manufacturing process. This is where we encourage local entrepreneurs and green businesses to find an opportunity. We work with the financial sector to offer green mortgages for people to build green. KGBC, beGREEN Global, and UK Certification Authority for Reinforcing Steels have signed an MoU to run the Construction Sustainable Materials Certification Scheme (SMCS) program in Kuwait to increase productivity in their sustainability and materials efforts, save resources, and obtain certain synergies through collaboration between the parties.

What are your expectations for the year ahead?

We would like to grow our membership numbers so that the platform can grow, and more corporations and individuals can join. We will be more present in different local events and target the first Kuwait GBC Annual Conference & Expo conference as the main event of the year. This is not only local but will spark regional interest.