The Princess worries that her ancestors would be horrified at our present waste of resources. Perhaps the new Dutch embassy in Amman would placate them?
Jordan’s HRH Princess Samaya evoked traditional Arab values at the grand opening of the Dutch Embassy’s new Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) certified building in Amman yesterday. Pointing to the vast clean water, energy and timber resources wasted on the built environment, she added that our Arab ancestors would be horrified.
A collaboration between Dutch architect Rudy Uytenhaak, a local engineering firm, and the environmental and housing departments of the Dutch foreign ministry, the new embassy reflects Amsterdam’s widespread sustainability ethos.
An enthusiastic Princess Samaya notes that nearly 50% of the world’s water resources are used for construction, and that 40% is used for sanitation. She adds that 45% of all generated energy is used to heat, illuminate, and ventilate buildings, and that construction has displaced nearly 60% of all fertile agricultural land.
President of the Royal Scientific Society and founder of the El Hassan Science Center, Princess Samaya urges the Kingdom to proceed more cautiously with its natural resources to avoid hastening their absolute decline.
The paper quotes her at the building’s unveiling ceremony:
“Building for a sustainable future allows us to re-examine the way we live and perhaps it can remind us of those Arab values that helped our ancestors survive in a harsh and hostile environment. Oh, how they would frown on the careless over-consumption that has blighted our cities in recent decades!”
Awarded silver certification by the American Green Building Council, the embassy is a first for the Kingdom, whose water resources are particularly scarce. It achieved its status by rebuilding on an existing villa, (instead of completely razing the original structure) topping it with a reinforced and larger upper floor to provide shade below, and incorporating several passive designs to reduce perceived temperature.
Photovoltaic panels provide over ten percent of the building’s energy, and a rainwater catchment system captures the water necessary to irrigate the surrounding gardens, comprised of hardy plants suited to a water-scarce environment.
The Ambassador Joanna van Vliet claimed the project demonstrates the close relationship that both nations enjoy.
“We believe it is important to show to the Jordanian public that we wish to be well represented in your beautiful and peaceful country, not only because Jordan plays a pivotal role in the regional context, but also because of expanding relations on the Euro-Mediterranean level,” she was quoted from a statement.
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