The results of an award scheme for environmentally friendly products and services for the construction sector have been announced ahead of The Big 5, the Middle East’s major building and construction industry exhibition.

“Products and services exhibited at the Big 5 exhibition that reduce the impact on the environment were eligible for the Gaia Awards,” said Simon Mellor, Vice President Construction for organisers DMG World Media. “The Big 5 is committed to advancing high-performance, energy efficient green building solutions and environmentally friendly technologies.”

The Big 5 Gaia Awards – named after the mythical Greek goddess of the earth - provide a platform for well-known green products and services and feature over 30 products and services. The award winners were announced at the ITP Construction Week Building Awards on 5 November 2008.

Nominations were received from the 2,900 exhibiting companies at this year’s Big 5 and a distinguished panel of judges, representatives of the regional community, awarded 27 medals of merit and one Gaia gold medal.

SolaSteel, manufactured by Coolshield International and distributed by Tiger Profiles, was the overall winner at The Big 5 Gaia Awards. Highly commended and silver medal winners were Fermacell Gypsum Fibre Boards manufactured by Xella Germanu and marketed by Excel Technical Distribution and Liquid Plastic Green Roofing Systems manufactured by Liquid Plastics.

The judging panel was assembled with the support of Ecospecifier International and were: David Baggs, Technical Director and Principal Consultant, Ecospecifier; Dr Ashraf Hegazy, Sustainable Projects Manager, Aldar; Gonzalo Seminario, LEED accredited Senior Architect, Nakheel; Samuel Keehn, Environmental and Sustainability Manager, Energy Management Services International; and Georgina Legoe, CEO, Sustainability Advisory Group.

The judges built a matrix around eight different criteria, companies were allocated points out of 10 for each of these criteria, which gave a total score out of 80, this then allowed the judges to rank the companies entered. The company with the single highest score was awarded the Gold Medal (Most Valued product). There was a threshold for each category of silver (highly commended products/services), bronze (commended products/services) and Green (finalist). All these finalists will be seen and showcased at The Big 5 as part of the show’s green initiatives.

The Big 5 exhibition took place at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from 23-27 November 2008. It is a large show for the construction sector in the Arabian Gulf and one of the world’s well-known trade shows for the construction industry and associated suppliers. There are more than 3000 exhibiting companies for the 2008 show and the organisers expect more than 50,000 visitors.

Another green focus was The Big 5 Technical Conference at the Monarch Hotel, Dubai, where regional and international experts have presented practical project case studies on energy efficient green building solutions and environmentally friendly technologies, United Arab Emirates green building compliance requirements and rating schemes.

The conference and Gaia Awards are in response to the introduction by the Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, of a green building directive underscoring Dubai's support for efforts to address global environmental challenges.

Alongside The Big 5 exhibition was The Big 5 PMV - The Middle East's premier construction plant, machinery and vehicles at the same venue. 

* Article extracted from the Big 5 Show News dailies – published in conjunction with Gulf Construction and Hilal Al Khaleej.