Ibrahim Al Haidos, Senior MEP Projects Engineer, Capital Projects Directorate, Qatar Foundation, speaks about building a sustainable future through innovation, commitment, strategy, engagement, and how the pioneering QF Tram system will be a source of pride for the community.
A vision for, and commitment to, sustainability is reflected across Qatar Foundation (QF), through its infrastructure, its capacity for innovation, and its dedication to engaging people in the importance of living healthy, active, and sustainable lifestyles for the benefit of themselves, their community, and the environment.
Embracing sustainability is vital for so many reasons, but most of all because it addresses the pivotal global issue of climate change, and we all have a contribution to make in building a better future for all. In supporting the Environmental Development pillar of Qatar National Vision 2030, QF places great emphasis on sustainability through its forward-thinking initiatives, with its goal being to transform Education City into an environmentally-friendly ‘smart city’. The groundbreaking QF Tram system will represent a major step forward in achieving that goal.
An energy-efficient form of public transport that will serve as a key component of QF’s comprehensive and integrated sustainable transportation network, QF Tram – a project led by the Capital Projects Directorate (CPD) – will be unique to the Middle East.
Utilizing state-of-the-art technology that allows trams to recharge at each station and operate without overheard power lines, while reducing energy consumption, harmful emissions, and noise pollution, QF Tram – due to be operational by the end of 2016, and designed in a way that allows it to be implemented seamlessly into Education City’s existing setting – is a standard-bearer for innovative, high-quality, aesthetic, efficient, and clean public transport that will enhance the environment of QF, and have the capacity to inspire people to integrate sustainability into their lives.
Raising public awareness of QF Tram, its objectives, and its value to the environment is essential for us. The recent arrival of the first shipment of trams represents a key milestone in the project, enabling us to intensify our efforts to engage people in what QF Tram is intended to achieve and how it will benefit them, and Qatar.
With 19 trams provided by Siemens, each capable of carrying 222 passengers at a time, operating on an 11.5km network connecting QF’s north and south campuses, and 24 designated stations – including one station at each of the four main car parks that will serve the system – it will be easy to access, remove congestion, further strengthen the sense of community within QF by fostering interaction between its users, and alter mindsets and perceptions. QF Tram has the potential to change people’s attitudes to travel, and instill in them the importance of sustainability. By allowing this engagement process to be stepped up, and testing and commissioning to be carried out, the arrival of the first trams truly allows us to move to the next stage of achieving our goals.
The integration of QF Tram with the QF Ride bike-sharing initiative, and QF’s pedestrian and bus network, demonstrates how it will complement our existing transportation system. QF Ride – which has 20 stations at Education City and 200 electric bikes – reduces emissions and reliance on cars, promotes exercise and healthy lifestyles, and affords access to areas of QF that will not be directly served by QF Tram while being easily accessible from its stations. It illustrates the comprehensive, interconnected, and holistic strategy for sustainable transport, and the creation of a ‘smart city’, that QF has devised and employed.
This commitment to sustainability extends across QF, and is epitomized through its buildings and their innovative sustainable features. These are buildings that meet the highest international sustainability standards, such as QF’s student housing complex - awarded LEED platinum certification, the highest rank for the LEED rating - and Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), whose Exhibition Hall was awarded gold LEED certification.
Vision and strategy
Such accolades are made possible by the fact QF sets the very highest standards of self-certification, and the most stringent criteria for ensuring our infrastructure is sustainable before any work commences: from design and selection of materials, to our emphasis on incorporating energy-saving measures and utilizing the best technology. It all stems from having a vision for how we plan to achieve sustainability, and a strategy to ensure we achieve it.
Significant progress has already been made in realizing QF’s sustainable vision. In addition to developments such as QF’s student housing and QNCC’s Exhibition Hall, QF’s focus on sustainable energy is showcased by its wind turbines, deployment of solar photovoltaic panels on existing buildings and on-ground car parks, and the establishment of QF’s Energy Monitoring Center, a facility that has attracted considerable interest from researchers and students in the energy field.
At QF, we continually demonstrate creativity and innovation in how we accomplish our sustainability agenda. These qualities are embedded in our projects, our thinking, our strategizing, and our use of technology.
Our achievements are also a result of our knowledge and awareness of how technology can be best utilized in, and tailored to, the environment and climate of Qatar.
Sustainable infrastructure is focused on quality, but quality can be achieved in a cost-efficient way, by using materials and methods that will benefit your particular environment and the environment in general, and by being creative, innovative, aware, and knowledgeable. In this way, QF is contributing to the building of a sustainable legacy for Qatar, and I am proud to be playing my part in this.
In my role, which comprises project management, I am heavily involved in projects concerning sustainability. My knowledge and skills in this field developed, and have continued to be enhanced, through joining QF, because the concept of sustainability is embedded within all aspects of QF’s mission.
This has allowed me to play my role in developing sustainable projects that are visible, unique, and representative of QF’s vision for sustainability and the way in which it is realizing this vision. Within CPD, we are passionate about our contribution to this vision; a contribution that, with the support of our management, is forged by trust and teamwork, the key factors in making projects and progress happen.
Throughout QF, people are aligned and engaged with the need to adopt and exhibit sustainable behavior, because the responsibility for promoting and adopting sustainability is one that we all share.
By using, learning from, and being inspired by, QF Tram and QF’s other sustainable transport initiatives, the QF community can provide a major expression of support for efforts to secure a more sustainable future.
It will demonstrate their awareness of the importance of sustainability and their commitment to embracing it, and stand as one of their key contributions to QF achieving its sustainable goals.