Green to Blue is need of the hour, says expert

December 01, 2012 - 3:00:47 am

Dr Anna Grichting, Assistant Professor at the College of Engineering, Qatar University, giving a presentation at Doha International Exhibition Center, yesterday. Ahood Al Maimani (extreme left) and Fatma Khalfani (second left), Research Assistants at the university, and Nadine Macauley, Manager, Faculty Affairs at Weill Cornell Medical College, Qatar (right) are also seen.  Kammutty VP


DOHA: “All that glitters is not gold; all that grows is not green”. Keeping in view the topography of Qatar, shifting the focus from “green to blue” is more important because talking about “green” may not be the “right word” in absence of sufficient water resources, an expert of architecture and urban planning said yesterday.

“More often I talk about green to blue. Because I think talking about green in Qatar or in a desert may not be the right word; so Blue is more important,” Dr Anna Crichting Solder, Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning (Qatar University), told The Peninsula on the sidelines of Qatar Sustainability Expo. 

She added: “Blue is about water. If you want to have green, obviously, you need to have lots of water, especially in Qatar.” 

Qatar, which is relatively greener than the other GCC states, is trying to build more green spaces which obviously require a lot of water. And in the absence of ground water, most of the country’s water is produced in desalination plants, which pose a growing environmental concern. 

“Building green spaces like parks and lawns are very unsustainable without adequate amount of water and pesticides. Now some of the landscaping projects such as Lusail is to design a park which they called Eco-Wadi. It is taking the Wadi, that used to be there, and creating a landscape that goes from the desert to the sea. So we really have to work more with a local type of landscape”, said Dr Solder. 

The shortage of water, she said, made her think about blue. “Blue is thinking about systems. It is also thinking about water, how it can be used, reused and recycled in homes, buildings and in the landscape. By doing this, we can create a symbiotic relationship between a building and the landscape.”  

The concept of “green to blue” was originally coined by a marketing firm, Saatchi and Saatchi. It is not just about zero carbon or carbon neutrality. It is a paradigm shift. They (the firm) say that a building doesn’t just have to be carbon neutral it can actually give back to the community. 

“Whether it is about producing food, energy, and water or taking Co2 and producing oxygen, the idea can be beyond zero carbon neutrality,” Solder added. 

Dr Anna was here to make a presentation on “Food Urbanism Qatar: Designing Productive Landscapes in an Emerging Dry-land Metropolis” representing Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC). The presentation was the highlights of a study jointly undertaken by Ahood Al Maimani; Fatma Khalfani and Eng. Nadine Macauley – all of them are MUPD candidates at QU. 

The project study has raised many pertinent questions such as: Is Green really the colour of sustainability in a country like Qatar? Is the Carbon Footprint an adequate measure for environmental impacts or should we consider the Water Footprint in Dryland countries like Qatar, and Food, Water and Energy Nexus - need to develop integrated approaches to production, preservation, and development?

Fatma said: “Although we have started some good work to “go green” to protect our precious environment, unfortunately the local residents are not involved. And the awareness that we have today are not at the level that we should have been achieved. There is a missing link between organisations and educational institutions.” With regard to high level of water and electricity consumption, Ahood said: “To save precious resources, we can always contribute by taking small steps at home and spreading the practice of knowledge to our family, friends and neighbors. It is very important.” The Peninsula