With the longer design life specified on many major projects, the importance of sustainable construction has come under the spotlight. While UAE government has channeled this through the stringent green building regulations, other Middle East countries are still at the infancy stages of awareness. Venkatesh R, Business Development Manager-Gulf States, BASF, a global leader in sustainable chemical innovations, gives an insight into sustainable construction and the strategies resolving sustainable challenges through chemistry. By Megha S Anthony
 

        Venkatesh R, 
Business Development Manager-
       Gulf States, BASF

How aware is the Middle East Construction market about sustainable construction? Where do you feel it is lacking?

There is a growing awareness on sustainable construction in countries such as UAE, Qatar and Oman. The awareness is spearheaded largely by the UAE government’s initiatives, which reiterate the importance of sustainable development, innovation and reducing the carbon footprint. They have channeled this through energy and green building practices and regulations. The UAE government is taking steps to ensure all new public and private buildings adhere to stringent green building regulations.

The Emirates Green Building Council has remarked that over 800 buildings have complied with the regulations at the design stage since 2014. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are still at the infancy stages of awareness on sustainability. However, this is changing as the region gravitates towards creating smart and sustainable urban spaces over the next decade. In March 2014, the Saudi Arabian Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) announced a decree giving all companies five years to meet new air, water and noise pollution standards. This indicates that the construction industry would also have to adapt practices to meet these regulations. Contractors and architects today are increasingly seeking newer ways to embed sustainable solutions into construction and infrastructure design.
 
What are the current green practices that are being followed in the construction industry?

There are several green practices being followed in the region. Some of the prominent ones are Estidama – a building design methodology for constructing and operating more sustainably and a key component of the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030. Estidama contains a green building rating system known as Pearl Rating System which evaluates sustainable building development practices within Abu Dhabi. Currently, Estidama is mandatory in Abu Dhabi, and buildings are expected to achieve a minimum 1 Pearl Rating. Governmentfunded properties are expected to achieve a minimum 2 Pearl Rating.

Another example is the Qatar Sustainability Assessment System or QSAS, a certification system which aims to minimize ecological impact and addressing region-specific environmental needs. Some international standards being used in the region include US-based LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) and UK-based BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology).
 
BASF is registered under Dubai Municipality enforced Green Building regulations and specifications. The company is a founding member of the Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC).
BASF’s UAE facilities are ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 14001 Environment Management System certified. The company was also awarded the Environment Performance Card by the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water in 2013. BASF’s internal audits also comply with Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems - OHSAS 18001.
 
In this time and age how is it possible to make a structure that is not only durable and aesthetically pleasing, but also eco-friendly and mindful of potential environmental impact?

By integrating scientifically-advanced technology with energy saving and environmentally-friendly materials or renewable resources, construction can be durable yet eco-friendly and decorative. BASF, a global leader in sustainable chemical innovations, has been providing solutions and formulations for the regional construction industry for over three decades. Through its network of experts, BASF customizes its solutions for regional industry needs, geographical conditions and infrastructure requirements. These are used in construction materials, helping meet anti-corrosion requirements, combat water and CO2 damage while maintaining structural integrity and overall design.

As an example, BASF provides smart and dynamic chemicals which reduce the amount of cement utilized in a concrete mix. The admixtures supplied to Burj Khalifa, for instance, enabled concrete to be pumped to record heights during the construction of the Burj Khalifa, contributing to solving a complex engineering problem that made the construction of the world’s tallest building possible. These were also used across 2.4 million cubic of concrete in Dubai International Airport- Terminal 3.

BASF’s Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems (EIFS) include insulation material Neopor, which offers greater performance and up to 50 percent reduction of raw material usage as compared to conventional expandable polystyrene. EIFS systems are designed to achieve Dubai U values of 0.57 w/m2K, and meet more stringent client specifications for malls (0.35 w/m2K). BASF implemented this solution this for the expansion project of Mall of the Emirates. Following its completion, company experts conducted a thermal scan to monitor the system’s efficiency - and found that it worked 10% better than the required specification. Epoxy-terrazzo flooring solutions such as MasterTop DTZ and low-VOC paints, coatings and resins are other examples of BASF’s sustainable, smart products for the construction industry.
 
What is BASF’s strategy in resolving sustainable challenges through chemistry?

BASF combines economic success, social responsibility and environmental protection to meet the current and future needs of society. Innovations based on chemistry play a key role in three areas in particular: resources, environment and climate; food and nutrition; quality of life. BASF accomplishes this through Verbund, a principle that maximize advantages for all stakeholders. BASF has six principle verbund sites across the globe and 353 additional sites. These sites create a value chain for intelligent interlinking of production plants, energy flows and infrastructure. Thanks to this system, chemical processes consume less energy, produce higher product yields and conserve resources. In this manner, BASF internally saves on raw materials and energy, minimizes emissions, cuts logistics costs and exploits synergies. These solutions enable BASF to sustain competitiveness across the globe while making its customers more successful.
 
What are the various systems and products available at BASF that conserve natural resources?

BASF Construction Chemicals offer a range of systems and products that conserve natural resources and contribute to climate protection by reducing material usage and the need for regular maintenance.
 
  • Insulation materials such as Exterior Insulation and Finishing Systems (EIFS) increase heating or cooling efficiency, reduce the use of fossil fuels, and increase design flexibility during construction. Following the completion of the EIFS installation at the Sheraton Hotel at Mall of the Emirates, BASF conducted a thermal scan to monitor the system’s efficiency – to find that it worked approximately 10% better than the required specification
  • BASF recently introduced Enershield air and water resistant barriers in the region, suited to buildings with various types of external façades. Enershield products are formulated with Silica Fortified Rubber Chemistry providing a balance of strength, resilience, abrasion-resistance, water-resistance and controlled water vapor permeability. They are formulated to reduce building energy consumption in air conditioned buildings by 10 - 15 % and protect them from mold and material decomposition due to moisture
  • Under the brand for the construction industry Master Builders Solutions, MasterMatrix is an admixture for concrete that boosts construction process efficiency with highly fluid concrete and creates stronger structures. By limiting maintenance costs and reducing labor time, the product lends to sustainable construction practices
  • In 2015, BASF launched a new generation of polymers known as MasterEase, through the use of which plastic viscosity is reduced by up to 30% allowing easier pumping and faster construction
  • Green Sense Concrete is an optimized mixture program in which recycled cementitious and non-cementitious materials are used in combination with specially formulated BASF admixtures. The brand produces environmentally-friendly, cost-effective concrete that meets, and often exceeds, performance targets.
 
 

 

 
 
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