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Embracing the circular economy in construction

Building Services By Nada Issa, Senior Engineer, Building Services – 05 May 2022

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Nada Issa smiling in front of the camera in our Cundall dubai office

Nada Issa

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The March edition of ITP Media Group’s MEP Middle East magazine offered young women in the MEP industry an opportunity to share their stories, profiles, and messages to the construction and engineering industry.

As part of this special edition, mepmiddleeast.com has published a series of interviews with young female professionals, sharing their perspective, spotlighting issues the MEP industry needs to address.

Speaking exclusively to MEP Middle East
, Nada Issa, Senior Engineer said: “Climate change is currently the biggest threat to human existence and as an industry, we’ve started to focus on sustainability and how to drive this through our practices.”

“I think the principles of a circular economy are central to driving the economy in a sustainable manner. Adopting a circular economy in construction will lead to better project resource planning and consumption, reduced waste, and retention of existing value.”

In 2021, the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy launched the Circular Economy Committee to bring public and private entities together to support a circular economy. The committee will develop actionable initiatives to upscale current applications and introduce best international practices in circular economies.

A circular economy is a system that focuses on reducing the extraction of natural resources, minimising waste, and regenerating natural systems. In a circular economy, raw materials, components and products keep their value for as long as possible, while renewable energy sources are used. In 2016, Finland mapped out a path to a national circular economy model that looks to eliminate waste and deposit less than 1% of its municipal waste in landfills. The country has agreed to offer its know-how to UAE entities focused on reducing waste and increasing sustainability.

Circular economy in construction


Issa says that in building services, value is attributed to the capacity of each system and its ability to meet occupant needs, whilst utilising its existing components and materials. However, she adds that buildings are demolished and replaced once they are unable to meet the changing needs of the occupants.

“This leads to early obsolescence of building services systems and high capital costs for the building owner/operator. In the early design stages, there is an opportunity to bridge the performance gap between building design and operation through implementing a circular economy,” Issa states.

“It will facilitate dialogue between design and facilities management teams during the design stage as the reuse of existing systems is evaluated. It will also reduce associated project costs and maximise extracted value from existing resources.”

She points out that manufacturing processes, material selections, logistics, operational and maintenance costs are all factors that must be considered in the selection of any new systems, which will ultimately lead to environmentally conscious solutions.

“Overall, I think that adopting a circular economy in an effective manner will have a profound impact on progressing sustainable and economic growth in the construction industry,” concludes Issa.

Learn more about Cundall's building services offering here.

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