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Bahrain making efforts to promote sustainability

 Governments worldwide are increasingly taking on a bigger role in the global push towards going green.

And that is no different in Bahrain.

Experts say more national targets and strategy are needed to help promote sustainability in the kingdom.

The Bahrain World Trade Centre is an iconic building renowned for its sustainability. 

Here in Bahrain, where it rains perhaps only twice a year, it is wind that many players are looking at as a sustainable alternative for energy.

The turbines fitted in the World Trade Centre provide roughly 15 per cent of the centre's energy requirements.

But the building does more than that.

The World Trade Center, the kingdom's first intelligent building, features an array of sustainable solutions to cut energy usage from passive shading on the balconies to cool the building to transient lighting.

It may stand tall as a symbol of sustainability - but in a country where petrol and gas are cheap, consumers may need more than financial incentives to switch to energy efficient solutions. 

Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al-Khalifa, who is adviser of Political and Economic Affairs in Bahrain, said: "For us, we have been a bit slow in the uptake of green energy. It is a mindset shift. The government is taking proactive steps to encourage people, partly because for us, energy is relatively inexpensive so people don't see the need to save.

"That is why the government is starting to push in that direction and it is important. As we become more globally linked and globally responsible, we also have to become more sustainable and becoming greener is definitely part of it. it is in our interest in the long run."

The architectural designer of the Bahrain World Trade Center said the push towards going green is gaining momentum in the Middle East.

"I think the desire is certainly becoming more popular. Traditionally elsewhere in the world, the decision on spending money to save energy, or to reduce carbon emissions is made on financial analysis. With energy being subsidised here in the Middle East, the normal sort of pay back decision making on investment and how quickly that saving is being paid back on energy bills just doesn't exist," said Mr Robert Ruse.

He added: "There obviously has to be another incentive or another impetus to get people in this part of the region to look at renewables as part of a solution going forward."

Bahrain is said to be looking at other renewable pilot studies in areas such as solar and geothermal.

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