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Unique Green Building Meeting Held in Israel

A unique workshop, jointly organized by the Standards Institution of Israel (SII) and the Israeli Association for the Initiation of Sustainable Building Environment (IAISBE), evaluated a number of projects from among those claiming the title “Green Building” in Israel. These were examined vis-à-vis their compliance with the new Israeli Standard 5281 “Green Buildings”.

In recent years an ever-increasing number of people have realized that what comprises “green building” can have a significant contribution to the improvement of living quality in both the public and private domain. This has created demand for “green” professional design and technical information and guidelines. Such demand comes from entrepreneurs, architects, planning authorities and potential users and clients.

IS 5281 Buildings With Reduced Environmental Impact (“Green Buildings”), recently launched by the SII, defines the indexes according to which a building may be defined as “green” or “excelling green”. These deal with a building’s relation to its natural environment, energy conservation by appropriate design and integration of efficiently performing systems, indoor environment and air quality, water and waste recycling, minimization of environmental impact during construction etc.

IIS and IAISBE initiated a pilot project in the format of an intensive workshop aimed at evaluating the first projects submitted as candidates for the green title. The workshop was facilitated by Arch. Susan Kaplan who is in charge of green building in one of the more widely known projects in the US, Battery Park, which is located near Ground Zero. Arch. Kaplan headed this unique workshop attended by a group of Israeli experts. The workshop was recently held in Tel Aviv at an intensive marathon pace of deliberations lasting from early morning to late evening.

Prof. Isaac Meir, architect and Department for Man in the Desert Chair, and Ph.D. candidate of the department Arch. Eran Kaftan, were invited to join the experts’ committee. Ms Yael Bar-Ilan, master’s student in the department, documented and analyzed the workshop proceedings as part of her research on policy mechanisms for promoting energy-efficient building in Israel. The experts’ committee included, among others, Mr. Yehuda Olander, IAISBE director; Dr. Ron Leshem, one of the IAISBE founders; and Dr. Nitzan Ayal, SII Quality and Certification Dept.

Several projects were evaluated during the workshop, and their compliance with the new IS 5281 “Green Buildings” was assessed. These include the new Intel R&D building in Haifa, regarded as the company’s international flagship on ”green building”, and the Rothchild Foundation’s Ramat HaNadiv visitors’ center in Zihron Ya’akov.

The participation of the Department for Man in the Desert faculty and research students in this pilot project is an additional contribution to the department’s sustained efforts to promote sustainable planning and building. These included in the last two years active involvement in the organization and proceedings of a number of relevant conferences: Building in the Desert (in collaboration with the Negev Interdisciplinary Center, March 2006); Building Integrated Photovoltaics Workshop (in collaboration with the Ben-Gurion National Solar Energy Center, Feb.2007); and the 1st International Conference on Sustainable Energy as a Catalyst for Regional Development (in collaboration with the Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Arava Institute, the local authorities of Eilat and Eilot and additional institutions, June 2007).

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