Sandra Draskovic
Kuwait Green Building Council (KGBC) General Manager

In this week’s exclusive interview, The Business Year speaks to Sandra Draskovic, General Manager of the Kuwait Green Building Council (KGBC) about the organization’s activities, objectives and future plans in the country.

She started by highlighting some of the major highlights of KGBC over the past few years. “KGBC is a membership-based organization serving both the public and private sectors. We seek to bridge these two areas through events and initiatives. We have moved our activities online and this has been a real challenge.Networking online is different than networking in real life, so the members certainly felt the change. , was also successful in shedding light on these challenges.

“We thought about the benefits we could offer our members during this time of crisis. Did. We discussed the benefits of environmental lockdown in Kuwait, sustainable transportation, the benefits of green building practices for the future, and ways to save energy and water while stuck at home.

“We have created a digital and informative animation titled ‘Guide to Conserving Energy and Water at Home’ on how to conserve water and energy use in your home by simply changing your behavior. We plan to do more online campaigns and infographics related to technical aspects of green buildings, as well as webinars, technical trainings and workshops for LEED building certification. We reached an audience of approximately 3,000 people and trained approximately 30 experts on a variety of relevant topics.

“As soon as events and gatherings were allowed, we held our first face-to-face ‘green talks. We partnered with our member Volvo to discuss an existing building in Kuwait. This was an important topic that had not been discussed much before, as the focus was on new developments, projects and buildings. We discussed what can be done with older buildings that are likely to be water and energy intensive and have low performance. This initiative has also been a success and there is no doubt that more lectures and trainings of this kind will be held to equip engineers with the technical skill sets and know-how to deal with sustainable renovation and retrofit projects. . ”

Expanding the level of progress in sustainable practices applied in Kuwait. Draskovic said: One, Kuwait He focuses on Vision 2035 with his five pillar residential development. The government plans to provide at least 65,000 housing units. There are also existing projects, such as a new airport terminal and an expansion of the Kuwait Science Center.

“All of these projects are aiming for green building certification. Some of them have applied for LEED certification or LEED compliance. may not reach, but will follow sustainable practices during construction The challenge lies with the new 90,000 homes, as this is private investment and projects that are not committed to sustainable solutions Governments, especially the Department of Power, Water and Renewable Energy, are working in this area.

“However, it is difficult to make a dramatic transition from unsustainable buildings to high-performance buildings that are sensitive to the environment and resource consumption.
The first step is to incentivize people to change their behavior and save water and energy. For example, if a consumer saves a certain percentage of water and energy, their annual bill will be reduced by 40% on electricity bills and 50% on water bills. This incentive helps governments collect data on consumption and encourage people to be more conscious and responsible in conserving resources. It helps people change their behavior and embrace sustainable practices more easily.

“This is where we try to provide information and technical know-how, including engineers, consultancy firms, architects and even government departments like the Kuwait Municipality. It is important to know how to build sustainably. Raising end-user energy prices is one of the solutions to lead to behavioral change.Nevertheless, the government’s main goal is to conserve resources and reduce consumption for future generations. In fact, this is one of the sustainability pillars of Kuwait Vision 2035.

“First we need to introduce free solutions to reduce, then passive design solutions and cost solutions. To do that, we need to operate and maintain them in a better way, and if we put this into existing and new buildings, we can think of an increase in energy bills.”

Describing what the KGBC offers companies entering Kuwait, Mr Draskovic said: We are relevant to government initiatives, national building and energy codes and building laws, government agencies, and private sector organizations practicing in the fields of building materials manufacturing, supply, engineering, contracting, and consulting. You can access information.

“We aim to be an online and print platform. We already provide information, consulting, and one-on-one support, but we want to expand those services and create a single platform where everyone can access the information they need through our print and electronic magazines. We believe this is the best way for companies looking to partner with each other, participate in tenders, or provide services. There is also a possibility of partnering with government agencies in 2023. We would like to become a bridge between the public and private sectors and start disseminating information from 2023.”

When asked what were the key factors behind his success as a project manager with extensive experience in different countries, Draskovic elaborated: Working in Europe, Mongolia, Russia or Kuwait is not the same process. Understanding communication methods and values ​​takes time. Kuwaitis value personal connections, so it’s important to understand what’s important to them. I personally believe that if our team is Kuwait oriented, they will improve their country and work and live in a more sustainable, comfortable, pollution-free and resourceful environment. We focus on hiring Kuwaiti citizens because we personally believe they are motivated. ”

Turning to the key initiatives KGBC will focus on over the next year, Draskovic explained: We will also work closely with schools and colleges to make frequent visits to provide students with insights into the private sector. It will also offer technical workshops, trainings and courses, mainly for companies and government departments. At the same time, we provide knowledge on LEED and other sustainable certifications such as WELL and BREEAM. Offering technical sessions on sustainable building design, construction, operations, facilities management, operations, advanced renovations and all methods related to these issues, enabling the design, construction and operation of green buildings We provide engineering and consulting office tools to Kuwait. And of course we plan to launch a magazine. ”

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