Posted on April 15, 2011

The College of the North Atlantic-Qatar (CNA-Q) celebrated Earth Day yesterday with events which support this year’s global theme ‘A Billion Acts of Green’.

“The theme this year is very important because it carries the message that people need not do complicated things using a lot of technology to take care of the Earth. It is the small things that people do that can contribute to making the environment better,” said Jennifer Strickland, Instructor, Environmental Health Technology Program, School of Health Sciences, and organiser of the event.

Stands which promote activities such as planting trees, recycling, buying locally grown products, water conservation, avoiding the use of plastic bags and proper e-waste disposal were put up in the venue to raise awareness among the students. “We want them to know that there are many simple things that they can do to save the environment and we hope they incorporate these in their daily lives,” said Strickland.

Also highlighted at the event are CNA-Q’s green initiatives in research, among which was a presentation on ‘Green Home: Sustainable Energy Management and Home Automation’, which won second place at the recent third Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) awards of the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF).

The research sought to develop environmentally coherent methods of energy consumption which could save on electricity and water consumption through the use of simple technology and practices readily available in the country.

The team has worked with a villa replacing wall mounted air conditioning systems with split type and incandescent bulbs with LED lighting, improving insulation of windows and doors, using moisture sensors in watering gardens and automating the villa with X10 controllers. Results of the study have shown the green home saves 61 percent power.

“The ultimate goal is to build a green villa with all the green technology that we have studied and learned within 10 percent of the cost. For example the villa costs QR1m, we would build a green villa that is not more than QR1.1m,” explained Dr Ovaise Murtuza, Primary Faculty supervisor of the project.

Currently, they are working in partnership with Qatar Green Building Council in turning the project into reality. In addition they want to raise funds for the project and ultimately present it to the government to enact regulations to apply it not only in residential villas but commercial entities as well.

“There have been lots of talk and conferences on being green but at the end of the day people want to see something that works; so we want to show and prove to them that it works,” said Murtuza. Strickland said they have other ongoing studies, one of which is a research project on desert plants’ medicinal properties, targeted at raising awareness on the importance of preserving plants in the desert for their medicinal benefits. She also said they are currently working on maximising the efficiency of the college’s recycling programme.