Israel’s first internal green building competition launches in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund, in collaboration with the Israeli Council for Green Building, launched the country’s first internal green building competition in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

The object of the competition is to increase awareness about green building in Israel, as well as train the country’s architects and planners to adhere to green building standards, the organizations explained.

With two tracks, one for architecture professionals and one for students, the contest requires all applicants to submit designs for their ideal green construction schemes by July 10. Upon the contest’s conclusion at a gala event in September, two designs will be chosen for actual construction and will serve as a green building demonstration center for public visitation, according to KKL-JNF.

Hila Beinish, CEO of the Israeli Council for Green Building, welcomed the project, saying that “thanks to cooperation with KKL-JNF, [the contest] will give the subject of green building in Israel resonance, as well as the ability to advance on a national level. Israel is a crucial crossroads in the fields of planning and development, with the intention to build thousands of housing units in response to demand in the coming years. This is an opportune time to introduce the field of green building on a comprehensive level.”

Dr. Orr Karassin, a member of KKL-JNF’s sustainable development board and the judging committee’s chairwoman, stressed that the construction sector as a whole had “dramatic impacts on the environment.”

Approximately 30 percent of the electricity Israel produces is consumed in households, while public and commercial buildings consume more than 30%, she explained.

“The environmental footprint of buildings is enormous, ranging from the raw building material production industry, through the treatment of building waste, to the daily operation of buildings through electricity and water usage,” Karassin said. “Therefore, green building has become a significant part of promoting a green agenda in Israel.”

KKL-JN F chairman Efi Stenzler stressed that his organization had decided to promote this competition as part of its overall vision of “green living in Israel.” Through the competition, he explained, “it will be possible to demonstrate to the public that green building first and foremost creates a healthy environment and quality of life.”

Besides that, he added, “if it is planned and implemented properly, it can also be economically feasible.”

Among the competition’s judges are architects, planners, KKL-JNF executives, an Environmental Protection Ministry official and a Standards Institute representative. All designs will be reviewed anonymously, and there will be equal access for both young and seasoned architects, said Galit Shiff, the competition coordinator on behalf of the Israeli Council for Green Building.