Designing A Greener Tomorrow

American University of Sharjah is developing green construction leaders to create more sustainable homes for the future, achieving net zero energy consumption

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The AUS Engineering and Sciences Building has been awarded a 2 Pearl rating by Estidama, a sustainable development initiative of the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council. This green building rating system uses a scale of 1 to 5 Pearl, based on four criteria: environment, economic social and cultural.
The AUS Engineering and Sciences Building has been awarded a 2 Pearl rating by Estidama, a sustainable development initiative of the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council. This green building rating system uses a scale of 1 to 5 Pearl, based on four criteria: environment, economic social and cultural.

Published: Mon 29 May 2023, 10:21 AM

As the UAE construction industry becomes increasingly committed to achieving sustainability targets, faculty at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) are preparing students for the future of work in this progressively green industry.

Courses offered by the College of Engineering, such as Design of Sustainable Concrete, show students how to reduce, recycle and reuse construction materials by employing better design and new technologies. An expert in this field, Dr. Adil Tamimi has introduced students to the concept of 3D concrete printing as a viable, sustainably robust construction material. The class Energy Systems shows students how fuel cells can be used in residential applications to create more sustainable homes for the future. The college has also been approved to offer its first general education requirement course that is open to all undergraduate students at AUS, Sustainable Development, exploring the environmental, economic, social and cultural aspects of sustainable development and covering its applications in the built environment. In the College of Architecture, Art and Design, students can take the course Design of Net Zero Buildings, where they are shown how to manipulate the design to achieve net zero energy consumption. At the doctoral level, the PhD in Engineering Systems Management hosts a sustainable construction project management track that prepares leaders for both industry and academia in sustainable development for the built environment.


Students are also actively engaged in AUS-led research promoting sustainable construction outcomes. Dr. Jamal A. Abdalla and Dr. Rami A. Hawileh, Professors of Civil Engineering, and their students have been employing sustainable materials such as lightweight aggregates, recycled aggregates, and crumb rubber as complete and/or partial replacements of normal aggregates. They also utilized industry by-product binders, such as ground granulated blast-furnace Slag and fly ash, as partial replacements for cement (which is not as environmentally friendly).

Camilo Cerro, Associate Professor of Architecture and Interior Design, believes underpinning learning with an awareness of sustainability will help create a generation of students able to meet the challenges of a changing planet. “Our goal is to help students become agents of change. Our teaching methodology revolves around the idea of learning by making. By making, we stimulate students’ problem-solving capacity, which is the most important tool in adapting to the changes the climate crisis will require,” he said.


Dr. Ahmed Mokhtar, Professor of Architecture, said of the importance of instilling students with a green mindset: “As building designers, we have a moral obligation to humanity to minimize the impact of buildings on climate change. Equipping our students with this outlook will not only make them more employable, but it also helps them become better global citizens.”

AUS is taking a forward-thinking approach to education, preparing its students to lead the way in sustainable construction and enabling them to meet the challenges of a changing planet by instilling a green mindset in students. This will contribute to a more sustainable future for the UAE and the world. For more, see aus.edu/research-and-graduate-studies.



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