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Sat 10 Feb 2007 12:00 AM

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Global game of building green

Before we focus on this week's regional news, it might be worth taking a glimpse at the recent goings on in the much colder climes of the UK

Before we focus on this week's regional news, it might be worth taking a glimpse at the recent goings on in the much colder climes of the UK.

Beyond all the usual investigative tales of Prince Harry being spotted in a nightclub and Z-List celebrities scrambling to make a comeback through Big Brother, the UK government attempted to flag up more publicity for its Olympic Games 2012 project by announcing that they would be ‘the most sustainable ever' and ‘the greenest games in modern times'.

But as UK journalists huddled in the confines of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) headquarters at London's Canary Wharf earlier this week to collect a glossy brochure outlining the sustainable building strategy, which including everything from the adoption of green building practices to using renewable sources of energy, another report emerged slamming the way in which the budget for the games has so far been handled.

The expected cost of building the London Olympic Park alone has gone up by US $1.7 billion since the games were won in July 2005, and this doesn't include the costs that will now be involved in building ‘green'.

Now back to the Middle East. The topic that seems to have dominated the agenda so far this year is the impact that construction is having on the environment, and not just in this region, along with the drive towards changing the mindset of developers and contractors to ‘build green'.

But while architects make strides towards incorporating ‘green' design into their drawings, the question that remains is how you convince developers and contractors in the region to even spend time thinking up innovative sustainable solutions, let alone set aside the extra costs it will involve, when they are already so overstretched.

With the continuing price rises for even the most basic building materials, getting contractors to factor in the additional cost of investing in the latest technology to build green will be quite a feat.

So maybe the answer lies in the potentially profitable end results. As homebuyers demand to live in buildings that are not only healthier for the environment, but healthier for them, developers could reap the benefits of such a sustainable plan.

“The expected cost of building the London Olympic Park alone has gone up by US $1.7 billion since the games were won in July 2005, and this doesn’t include the costs that will now be involved in building ‘green’.”

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