If you are shopping around for a home in Saudi Arabia or the Middle East there are conventional places to turn to like Craig’s List, Facebook, AirBNB to see what you like, local real estate agents to help you find properties of interest. But let’s say you are a foreigner or returning national looking to invest in something new in the Middle East.
How can you get the greenest home for your family?
Think small. Air conditioning use goes through the use in spring, summer and fall in the Middle East. The smaller the home the less air conditioning you’ll need to keep it cool. Consider installing an energy-efficient desert cooler or a water-based system to keep your air moist and cool without using too much conventional air con. Maybe not as small as this Etger Keret skinny house wedged between two buildings in Poland. It’s a tight squeeze.
Go traditional. Local Arab homes often incorporate features like inner courtyards which are shaded on all sides from the sun. There is also the issue of the mashrabiya. It’s the Arab version of a brise soleil and does a great job of keeping direct sunlight and heat out of your home.
Go central. The worst thing you can do is buy a property in a suburb in the middle of nowhere. Find something close to where you work and socialize so that driving doesn’t become a key element of your day. Choose a city you can walk in. Not Amman or any city that requires a car.
Go vertical. Find a space with access to a roof or balcony and join a movement of people who are growing food and spices at home. Need a sprig of fresh parsley for the salad? What’s fresh and handy from home is also the greenest. Try hydroponics or building a green roof.
Go social. The best thing you could do for your community is to create a shared garden. Or consider starting a greywater recycling system for your apartment building or neighborhood to share.
Now instead of finding house hunting a chore, make it a way that you can spread some green love into the Middle East. While the trend is for Middle Eastern home purchases to get bigger, start a new trend by making yours more ecological.