For second time, Ithra receives prestigious LEED gold certification

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran received the energy efficiency award in the “Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance category.

For second time, Ithra receives prestigious LEED gold certification

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) has been awarded the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for achieving high levels of energy efficiency over the past three years.


Ithra received the award — in the “Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (EBOM)” category —during a ceremony at the center on June 6 after three years of outstanding performance on metrics, including water efficiency, energy, and atmosphere, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in operations.


The certification recognized Ithra’s commitment to being an environmentally responsible and sustainable cultural institution. The award was Ithra’s second from the USGBC, after receiving an LEED NC (New Construction) gold certification when it opened in 2018. 


LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world, and a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership. The LEED v4.1 O+M Existing Buildings rating system helps building operators maximize operational efficiency and minimize environmental impact. 


Adnan A. Simsim, Technical Services manager at Ithra, said: “Maintaining Ithra’s building presents a unique opportunity, especially with the high ceilings and open spaces that are present in the museum, library, and common connecting space, the Plaza. To achieve this level of energy efficiency in comparison to other buildings is quite a remarkable achievement.”


We are not stopping here; this is just the beginning as we continue to innovate in ways to be more operationally efficient in the resources we utilize while offering service to the public.
— Adnan A. Simsim


Outperforming LEED baseline standards

Ithra’s operational team’s activities attracted high praise from the USGBC as they repeatedly outperformed the LEED baseline standards. The team optimized electromechanical equipment and lighting operations based on occupancy patterns to achieve 18% lower energy consumption than the LEED baseline based on national average. 


Potable water use was optimized to user touch areas, resulting in usage levels 60% lower than the baseline, while the center also recycled or diverted 80% of all solid waste generated, including food waste from the restaurants. 


Ithra also harvested rainwater, enhanced indoor air quality, and promoted green education through visitor-facing displays to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability and to the USGBC’s targets.


Caption for top photo: Abdullah K. Al-Rashid accepts recognition that the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture has earned its second LEED designation, this time in the Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance category. 


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