King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Earns LEED Platinum Certification

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Highest Environmental Certification for Buildings A First In Saudi Arabia

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Earns LEED Platinum Certification

The University will act as a living laboratory of environmentally responsible methods of energy use, materials management, and water consumption for buildings in the Middle East and across the globe.

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has been awarded the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, the highest of five possible environmental certification awards given out by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

This is the first LEED certified project in Saudi history and is the largest LEED Platinum project in the world.

"From inception, the KAUST campus was designed to be environmentally friendly," said His Excellency Minister Ali I. Al-Naimi, Chairman of the KAUST Board of Trustees. "The University will act as a living laboratory of environmentally responsible methods of energy use, materials management, and water consumption for buildings in the Middle East and across the globe."

The LEED Green Building Rating System provides third-party verification that a building or campus is sustainably designed, constructed, and operated to conserve resources and reduce its environmental impact. The system awards credits to builders across five categories: sustainable sites, energy and atmosphere, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and materials and resources.

"All of us are proud to be part of a community that is not only dedicated to the science, education and research to promote sustainability but also offers the exciting opportunity for us to live and learn in a truly sustainable environment," Professor Choon Fong Shih, the president of KAUST, said.

KAUST earned 52 of the 53 credits it applied for to achieve the coveted Platinum certification. Seven areas of sustainable design were incorporated into the construction of KAUST and were cited by USGBC for credits during the LEED certification process:

  •     Alternative transportation such as electric vehicles and a campus bus system, which reduces campus emissions and provide convenient transit options.
  •     Renewable energy that helps cool and power the campus.
  •     The preservation and protection of natural habitats surrounding KAUST.
  •     Campus architecture designed to maximize the area's unique microclimate and ecosystem.
  •     Use of building materials that minimized environmental effects and recycled waste materials.
  •     Minimization of water and material use through innovative design and on-site treatment plants and recycling programs.
  •     Energy efficiency measures that reduce total power demand.

KAUST's emphasis on environmentally friendly practices goes beyond campus design to influence the University's research agenda. Research centers have been established to advance science and technology in water desalination and reuse, plant stress genomics and technology, solar and alternative energy science and engineering, Red Sea science and engineering, catalysis, and clean combustion.

On September 24 during its Inauguration celebration, KAUST will hold a research symposium on "Sustainability in a Changing World," featuring prominent international scientists and members of the senior leadership at the University.

About KAUST
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has been built in Saudi Arabia as an international, graduate-level research university dedicated to inspiring a new age of scientific achievement in the Kingdom, across the region and around the globe. As an independent, merit-based institution, KAUST will enable top researchers from around the globe and across all cultures to work together to solve challenging scientific and technological problems. The KAUST global research and education network will support diverse talents both on its campus and at other top universities and research institutions through collaborative research agreements, grants, and student scholarship programs. The core campus, located on more than 36 million square meters on the Red Sea at Thuwal, opened in September 2009. For more information about KAUST, visit http://www.kaust.edu.sa .

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Christopher Sands
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