By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Winners of a competition for designing water- and energy-efficient housing units were honoured on Wednesday, amidst calls for incorporating protection of the Kingdom’s scarce resources in building codes.

Mahmoud Saymeh and his wife Lama Abu Hassan took home first prize for designing an apartment building that enhances residents’ quality of life while taking into consideration water and energy efficiency, planning and quality of communal spaces, function and unit design, building design, architectural character and cost among other criteria.

Antonio Jansana and Ali Al Shibli from Jansana-Shibli Architects won second prize, while Youssef Shishan and Sami Daoud from Space Design came third.

The Abu Alanda Apartments Competition sought to promote water demand management initiatives and demand management in the relevant professional sectors such as architecture, engineering, and other building professions and industries, according to organisers.

The competition for designing a model water- and energy-efficient low-income apartment building was launched by the USAID-funded Instituting Water Demand Management in Jordan Project (IDARA) in January, in cooperation with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDC), while the awards for the competition were sponsored by the King Abdullah II Fund for Development.

Underscoring the need to cut down on water and energy use, Ministry of Water and Irrigation Secretary General Maysoun Zu’bi noted that the competition will provide HUDC with water- and energy-efficient engineering designs.

She said new water and plumbing codes are currently being reviewed by the Jordan Building Codes Council in light of Jordan’s critical water situation, noting that the use of water-saving devices reduces water consumption by 30 per cent.

Jordan is recognised as the fourth water-poorest nation in the world and currently imports 96 per cent of its energy needs at a cost of 13 per cent of its gross domestic product, according to official figures.

At yesterday’s award ceremony, USAID Mission Director Jay Knott expressed hope that the competition will pave the way for the public and private sectors to construct more green buildings in Jordan, such as the environment-friendly housing units that were built in Aqaba.

He noted that the goal of the competition is to encourage architects and engineers to design projects that are water and energy efficient, and start a new wave of green building creativity in Jordan.