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Sat 13 Sep 2008 04:00 AM

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Keep gardening!

As you'll see in this week's Construction Week, sustainability seems to be the buzz word.

As you'll see in this week's issue of Construction Week, sustainability seems to be the buzz word.

Right from the Emirates Green Building Council to Abu Dhabi's Urban Planning Council, everyone is doing everything in their power to get greener.

Even David Gottfried, who developed the Leed green building rating system that the entire region swears by, is in town to push that green switch.

But, correct me if I'm wrong - shouldn't there be just one set of regulations for green buildings in the country?

Wouldn't that be simpler than having each emirate rock up with their own "guidelines"?

And now that we're on it, what on earth are "guidelines" anyway?

Maybe this sounds a bit old-school but my Nan always told me that there are some things one can do and some things one can't. Period. There is law and there are out-laws.

To me a guideline sounds like "this is what you have to do, but don't worry its fine if you don't."

And maybe such a concept makes it more difficult to enforce what is right.

So it's no surprise that Bahrain's World Trade Centre - you know the one with the big turbines that generates power - hasn't got the warm welcome that we thought it would.

Last week, Norwin, the Danish firm that installed the turbines, has accused utilities companies in Bahrain of refusing to accept power into the grid from alternative sources despite a shortage of power across the GCC.

As far as I know, Bahrain doesn't have any green building regulations; "guidelines" yes, regulations, no.

Now, if I was in my physics class back in school, I'd end that sentence with QED - Quod erat demonstrandum.

There's the answer, tested and proved, staring at us in the face.

The only way forward is law and I hope the new guidelines turn just that in January next year when they're announced.

What's also funny is while all of us are trying to do our bit to make this world a greener place, come November we may just as well have to start all over again if the Hadron Collider spins out of control and creates the Big Bang a little too well.

Well at least we'll know what not to do the next time round... if we're still alive that is.

In the meantime, keep gardening.

Conrad Egbert is the deputy editor of Construction Week.

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