American University of Beirut

The American University of Beirut and ASHRAE hold international conference on efficient building design

​Sally Abou Melhem, Office of Communications,​​​​​​​​​

The AS​HRAE conference on Efficient Building Design has become a signature event for the American University of Beirut and the Munib and Angela Masri Institute of Energy and Natural Resources, in their pursuit of advancing affordable, innovative, and sustainable solutions for the decarbonization of the building sector.

The conference, organized by ASHRAE, the ASHRAE Lebanese Chapter, the Munib and Angela Masri Institute of Energy and Natural Resources, and the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (MSFEA) at the American University of Beirut, was presented in a hybrid modality on October 20 and 21, offering both in-person and virtual options for participation for attendees. The exhaustive two-day schedule ensured participation and engagement of over 300 experts and professionals in the field.

The conference hosted 4 internationally renowned speakers, 6 sessions including 29 presentations by local and international speakers, and a special panel titled “Decarbonization of the Buildings: Challenges/Opportunities and the Climate" dedicated to the transition to low-carbon buildings by sharing practical outcomes of modeling and simulation strategies.

Dr. Nesreene Ghaddar, director of the Masri Institute and professor of mechanical engineering, said in her opening remarks, “I look forward to having our speakers share the latest developments, designs, systems, and control strategies in facing the challenges of climate change, and helping us drive the winds of change from conventional to sustainable."

“There is no doubt that today, climate change is a bitter reality that is reshaping our world in many ways; and it knows no borders," said AUB president Fadlo Khuri. “This means that this global challenge requires solutions and practices that will truly create an impact on a global level, influencing and protecting generations to come. And I believe this is where universities can play an essential role, from finding ways to limit further warming to educating and helping communities around the world adapt to the changes that have already occurred."

In his opening speech, Omar Masri, member of the advisory council for the Masri Institute said, “Through seed funding, the Masri Institute supports faculty research that uses existing or deploys new tools of inquiry in science, computations, technology, economics, and policy to enable the transition of society to carbon-free activities. Carbon-free activities that place health and the wellbeing of people at the top of the priorities pyramid." He added that “the Masri Institute, under the watchful eye and guidance of its founder, Trustee Munib Masri, is working with the American University of Beirut's facility planning and design team to introduce various initiatives on campus to help reduce the building carbon footprint. It is no secret - we have complex problems that require innovative solutions."

Dr. Ahmad Alaa Eldin Mohammad, representative of the ASHRAE president, said in his opening speech, “As we move towards securing a brighter future, let's work together to support a special building design for the good. Let's tackle the challenges of achieving sustainability and established life integrated institutions to serve all people. Our ability to secure our future is born out of our willingness."

Lebanese ASHRAE Chapter President Zaki Zaatari said, “In Lebanon, we have not adopted efficient building standards in the building code, but we are working on it." He added, “Our role is to assist in educating engineers and students by exposing them to new research and technologies that would help them build more sustainable energy buildings, and to help them reduce their dependence on fossil fuel."


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