How we are realising national priorities for net zero through workshops

By Dr. Ala’a Alshdiefat -

The UK aims to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Net Zero means reducing emissions to their lowest amount through energy efficiency measures and then, as a last resort, offsetting the rest. But what is the status of carbon neutral and climate change agenda in Jordan, one of the UK’s partners in science and innovation?

We know Jordan is at the heart of the Middle East. Famous throughout the world for its history and beauty. But like other countries it suffers from the effects of a changing climate: desertification, water scarcity, late rainy seasons and significant high temperatures in summer. Addressing climate change a priority for the Jordanian government.

His Majesty King Abdullah II participated in COP 26 in Glasgow in 2021; an important signal to the region and the world. The Ministry of Environment has its 2020-2022 strategy, consistent with the Jordan 2025 Vision for the environment sector. National plans and efforts are now focussed on mitigating the impacts of climate change by reducing greenhouse gases, implementing new technologies for efficient energy consumption, and renewable energy.

The Jordanian government seeks to improve Jordan's performance and ranking in the global Environmental Performance Index by implementing programs to preserve public health, the environment, and community safety. Philadelphia University is part the effort. It focuses on climate change and energy consumption projects to support Jordanian’s Vision 2025 in climate change policies and to reduce dependence on non-renewable resources. The university collaborates with different UK partners to enhance energy efficiency and improve progress towards carbon neutrality.

During Net Zero Awareness Week (1—7 July), we shed light on two Newton-Khalidi funded projects under the Researcher Links Workshops programme between Philadelphia University and the University of Salford.

Both projects are about enhancing the energy performance of Jordanian buildings by:

  • Developing Jordan’s plan for energy efficient and carbon neutral building
  • Increasing awareness about minimizing the carbon impacts of structures
  • Upskilling Jordanian engineering workforce in energy modelling, using building information modelling; a visual approach to life-cycle building data management.

The workshops supported the development of long-term research and teaching collaboration between the UK and Jordan. They provided research capacity, career opportunities, put an emphasis on best practices, and gave ample opportunity to exchange knowledge and ideas about future collaboration. They enhanced the skills of Jordanian engineers in terms of energy modelling and effective conservation.

The target audience for the workshops included academics, practitioners, government, and early career researchers from multiple disciplines, including architecture, engineering, construction, and building management. They provided a unique opportunity to propose multi-disciplinary approaches for the effective management of energy challenges facing Jordan. Interactive group sessions not only focused on technical approaches but also exploration of methodical, cultural, social, and organisational evidence-based responses to energy management challenges facing Jordan.

The workshops led to the development of tangible results through collaboration between Jordanian and UK researchers, and industry partners in the formulation of new projects. It emphasised the need for research skills development in areas of:

  • BIM-enabled Energy Modelling and Analysis
  • Modern data collection and documentation
  • Energy analysis and planning online
  • Post Occupancy Evaluation
  • Energy sensitive refurbishment to meet the demands of climate change while preserving social values & enhancing the quality of life.

The participants represented different institutions with an almost similar percentage of participation from female and male researchers.

And we had very good news recently.

Building information modelling, standards, and protocols are being implemented for the first time in Jordon. The project is delivered by Sterling BIM with the Royal Scientific Society and will hopefully promote the effectiveness of energy efficiency within new construction projects in Jordan.  This speaks to the importance of projects like this, and using collaborative workshops to improve things. Or in the words of one of the researchers: “Buying rice and chicken doesn't make a meal, you have to cook them.”

Dr Ala’a Alshdiefat is a PhD in Construction Management working at Philadelphia University, Jordan.

Photo credit: Hisham Zayadnh: