AMMAN (JT) – HRH Princess Sumaya on Wednesday underscored that “the built environment is our greatest challenge in dealing with a threatening resource crisis”.

“Globally, construction of the built environment is estimated to consume over 50 per cent of natural material resources,” noted the Princess, who is president of the Royal Scientific Society and founder of El Hassan Science City.

She made the remarks while unveiling a plaque at the newly constructed Dutch embassy in Amman, marking the building’s certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), according to a statement released by El Hassan Science City.

Princess Sumaya said she hoped the inspirational building would be the first of many to achieve LEED recognition in Jordan.

The US Green Building Council awarded a silver certification to the embassy under its New Construction rating system, the first building in the Kingdom to be recognised under the LEED certification system.

Designed by award-winning Dutch architect Rudy Uytenhaak, in collaboration with local firm Consolidated Consultants Engineering and the environment and the housing department of the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs, the project is a realisation of the Dutch government’s continuous commitment towards sustainability, the statement said.

By using less energy and water, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community, it added.

The Princess noted that around 45 per cent of generated energy is used for heating, lighting and ventilation in buildings. In addition, some 70 per cent of global timber products are used in construction.

“We can add to this the shocking fact that 40 per cent of clean water is used for sanitation and other purposes in buildings and that 60 per cent of prime agricultural land has been lost to farming for construction in recent years.”

The Princess suggested that questioning how we build and allocate resources might also help close the wealth gap in society.

“Building for a sustainable future allows us to re-examine the way we live and perhaps it can remind us of those Arab values that helped our ancestors survive in a harsh and hostile environment. Oh, how they would frown on the careless over-consumption that has blighted our cities in recent decades!”

Dutch Ambassador Joanna van Vliet said the new chancery reflects the deep and warm relationship between Jordan and the Netherlands.

“We believe it is important to show to the Jordanian public that we wish to be well represented in your beautiful and peaceful country, not only because Jordan plays a pivotal role in the regional context, but also because of expanding relations on the Euro-Mediterranean level,” the statement quoted the ambassador as saying.

“By choosing to make it a green, environment-friendly building, we adhere to the philosophy that the scarce resources of the Kingdom should be utilised in an efficient and careful way,” she added.