By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Experts in sustainable development on Wednesday called for a “green building movement” in Jordan, which they said would help the Kingdom preserve scarce resources, protect its environment and create jobs.

Pointing out that 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are produced by buildings, they underscored the benefits of green construction practices for the country’s environment and in preserving its scant water and energy resources.

The experts and conservationists made the remarks during the launch of the Jordan Green Building Council (JGBC), which seeks to promote the adoption of green construction practices in Jordan.

The JGBC was established in May 2009 and registered as a nongovernmental organisation in November last year. Among the council’s main goals are introducing green building as a culture and raising public awareness about environment-friendly construction, according to organisers.

The council seeks to “make a green built environment a widespread reality in Jordan”, JGBC President Mohammad Asfour said yesterday.

He noted that “green” is not just a practice but a culture, explaining that the council has held several training workshops at universities and civil society associations to raise awareness on green building and its role in boosting the economy while preserving natural resources.

Highlighting the importance of applying green building practices in Jordan, USAID Mission Director Jay Knott said green construction curbs the waste of energy and water, noting that as the number of green buildings increases, the costs of construction materials will decrease.

This eventually will translate into more environment-friendly and sustainable buildings in Jordan as well as more job opportunities, Knott said during a press conference held on the sidelines of the launch.

A “green building” is the outcome of a design that focuses on the efficient use of resources – energy, water and materials – while reducing impact on human health and the environment during the building’s lifecycle, through better site selection, design, construction, operation, maintenance and removal, according to web sources.

Official figures indicate that environmental degradation costs the Kingdom JD330 million annually, or 5 per cent of the gross domestic product, while water loss costs the Kingdom around JD100 million annually.