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31 October 2012

KAPSARC Project in Riyadh Achieves First LEED for Homes Certification Outside of North America

King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC)’s residential community has been recognized for its leadership in sustainable residential design in the Middle East.

KAPSARC, a research and policy center committed to energy and environmental exploration and analysis based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is the first project outside North America to achieve LEED® for Homes certification. 

KAPSARC is one of the first projects included in the LEED for Homes International Pilot Program. Fifty-seven of the villas were awarded LEED for Homes Gold; the remaining villas will be certified in blocks as they reach completion. It is the largest project in the program with 191 villas registered for certification.

HOK’s design includes 10 community buildings (three apartment buildings with retail, library, dining hall, recreation center, natatorium, mosque, supermarket and bowling alley), a 191-house residential community (including 11 different house types) and four utility buildings.

When the KAPSARC project began, LEED for Homes was not available outside the US. Since HOK’s clients were developing a mixed-use campus aiming for LEED-NC Platinum certification, the team wanted the sustainable strategy to include the villas. After many years of communication between HOK and the USGBC, the LEED for Homes International Pilot Program was formed.

While most LEED rating systems require design teams to send a documentation package to the USGBC/GBCI, which then certifies the project remotely, LEED for Homes requires extensive on-site inspections and performance testing. Known as a LEED for Homes Provider or Green Rater, the on-site team documents compliance and sends its recommendation to the USGBC for final certification award. With the local labor force for this project being unfamiliar with green building techniques, the team’s LEED for Homes Provider, U.S. Eco Logic/Tex Energy Solutions, provided extensive on-site training to the construction labor force. This improved the quality of construction as the project progressed.

The sustainable design emphasis for the KAPSARC Residential Community centers on regional issues including sustainable site planning, water efficiency and conservation, energy efficiency and conservation, native and adaptive landscape materials, protection from erosion and abrasion, and passive design. The 494-acre (200-hectare) site incorporates a photovoltaic energy field and bioretention swales.

KAPSARC should be complete in early 2013.

ENR Mountain States | USGBC blog