Building Resiliency and Renewables into the MENA Construction Sector

Increasing environmental fluctuations, ie climate change, can be seen across the World. Record temperatures across Europe. Drought then huge floods in Pakistan. Unforeseen, sustained, freezing conditions in Texas causing the entire power grid to collapse. The MENA region has long dealt with harsh conditions, blazing heat, lack of potable water and the shamal winds that can create a “brown out” within minutes. The question for Governments and industries, particularly the construction sector is how do we plan for change, and can we indeed harness any of the evolving technologies to enhance our buildings and infrastructure?

climate change

Resiliency is a key factor in planning the buildings and infrastructure of the future. Higher heat loads and longer exposure to sunlight can degrade building materials more rapidly than previously seen. Higher rainfall will expose the fact that many Middle Eastern cities don’t have roadside drainage because these systems rapidly fill with sand and are ineffective. Longer summer seasons with higher temperatures, even an average of 1.5c higher means greater use of air conditioning and therefore a greater strain on often overstretched power grids. So how can the principles of resiliency be incorporated?


Firstly through design and planning. Many new technologies have emerged in recent times which can help this process. As I mentioned in an earlier article (New technology and what it means for the Construction Sector – G-TEK Industrial Ltd. ( 5D Building Information Modelling can greatly help this process. Data can be entered and future conditions can be fed in as variables so their potential effects can be analysed. This process can be monitored and updated as known data and forecasted data are available and as newer technologies and solutions become available. This analysis will allow the required resiliency to changing conditions to be planned into the construction process.

wind turbine

Secondly, construction and infrastructure planners can plan to utilise and take advantage of the conditions in which they operate. Recent developments in solar technologies mean that it is possible to install glazed sections which have Photo Voltaic (PV) layers built into them. On high-rise buildings, installing these arrays on the appropriate facades would allow the building to become a power generating asset, either utilising storage batteries to allow residents to use the power their building is generating or feeding power back into the grid. The wind can be harnessed as well. High-rise buildings have a natural ability at their peak to have cylindrical style wind turbines fitted to generate yet further electricity again either to be used or shared.

The MENA region has generated much of its wealth since the 1970’s through fossil fuels, oil, and natural gas, ironically however the region is one of the best placed to take advantage of the transition to renewable energies. Across the region, projects are underway from the UAE to Saudi Arabia, and Qatar solar farms and wind farms are already beginning to deliver. Investment into new technologies for mass storage is being undertaken and the excess power can be delivered to neighbouring countries in need of a return on investment. Smaller scale efforts such as installing thousands of EV charging points to facilitate the transition away from internal combustion engines is needed. Planning for these to be smart systems that can use the car’s batteries as storage when needed is planning for the kind of resiliency the World will need.

battery storage

What is the crucial component to all of this? People… Architects who design these elements in. Construction Directors and Project Managers who use the data to make better decisions. Infrastructure planners who plan for the future, not just the now. That is where G-TEK Industrial Ltd come in. We can source these professionals from our existing network or track them down and bring them to your organisation. If you are looking for new talent or indeed are a candidate in this field please reach out.

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