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KFAS to host a multidisciplinary conference on sustainable building in March 2019

Oct 22, 2018

The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are excited to host the multidisciplinary Gulf Conference on Sustainable Built Environment 2019 with our local partners the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research and Kuwait University. 

This year’s edition, to be held March 11-13, 2019  in Kuwait at the Marina Hotel, is shaping up to be a dynamic event focusing on three critical areas: Sustainable Construction Materials, Structural Monitoring and the Energy Efficiency of Materials and Buildings.

This conference brings together some of the top minds and innovators in this rapidly growing and increasingly in-demand field and will look at sustainability both in the existing built environment as well as designs for new construction and urban systems in the Gulf region.

One of our exciting keynote speakers will be Prof. Henri Van Damme from MIT’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Van Damme has devoted the majority of his career to studying geomaterials such as glass, clays, and cement, as well as their compelling applications in construction, energy and the environment.

Conference Chairperson Ali Bumajdad, a professor at Kuwait University’s Chemistry Department, explained that the conference’s first session will delve into the innovative field of nano-structured materials and their uses in fortifying building materials such as cement and concrete. In an era of ever-growing skyscrapers, the second section will set its sights on building safety in high towers, and the impact of wind and ground vibrations on structural safety. The third session will then tackle energy efficiency and methods of rationalizing energy in residential buildings.

The conference also has a vast array of other exciting topics based on the over 50 submitted papers. Individual sessions will focus on the latest research into smart designs for buildings and large cities, financing sustainable construction projects, and studies on preserving historical buildings from harsh environmental conditions.

KFAS is deeply committed to promoting a culture of innovation in Kuwait, transforming the country from a rentier state to a knowledge-driven economy, in part through creating a thriving culture of science, technology, and innovation (STI) for a sustainable future. KFAS aims at supporting the Kuwait 2035 vision, strategy and the five-year national plan.

Construction accounts for the largest investment in the Gulf region, taking  11% of the total USD1.665 billion in capital invested. The largest share goes to the cement, concrete and other related industries. The cement industry accounts for 70% of the construction materials sector, 52% of the labor force in the industrial sector and 50%of the number of factories.

The importance of the cement industry to developing areas -- Kuwait in particular and Gulf countries in general -- is in line with the vision of His Highness Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to transform Kuwait into a financial and commercial center. Through the urban expansion in the strategic development plans of 2015/2016-2019/2020, a USD35 billion budget has been allocated to implementing 1,095 projects: 809 in construction and 286 in service.

For this very reason, the challenges and obstacles facing the cement industry must be overcome to implement our country’s development plans for urban expansion. This industry is one of the most strategically-consumed commodities, and it plays an influential role in the Gulf region in building infrastructure, buildings, civil and military facilities, roads and bridges.

The cement production industry’s high energy demands remain an obstacle, as it consumes 2%of the total energy production, although raw materials are abundant with high specifications as well as energy available at low prices and it has the continued support from business leaders. The cement industry also has the reputation for not being eco-friendly, ranking third in terms of environmental pollution and contributing 10% of total CO2 emissions. The production of each ton of cement releases a ton of carbon dioxide, adding 1.4 billion tons of CO2 emissions globally per year.

Cement production in GCC countries has tripled compared to the end of 2000, currently up to 78.588 million tons per year, with Kuwait's production at 4.5 million tons per year and consuming 5,850 terawatts/hours.

The conference is also set to attract oil companies in the Gulf region, as during the oil-extraction process, wells are dug and protected by a cement layer requiring certain precise specifications.

Because of this, it is essential to promote scientific research and host conferences to exchange knowledge in the field of the Sustainable Built Environment in Gulf Countries.                                                                                                  

The organizing committee is also excited to hold an exhibition on the conference’s sidelines to offer opportunities to companies, government agencies and public and private universities in Kuwait and the Gulf region to present their efforts in developing the built environment and energy conservation, as well as developing more suitable cement materials for the environmental conditions in the Gulf.

For more information, please visit the conference website:

Or contact the Organizing Committee via e-mail: