Sustainability at an institutional level is commonly defined as the collection of policies and strategies employed by companies/institutions to minimize their environmental impact on future generations. In general terms sustainability is balancing ecological concerns with socio-economic ones such as minimizing the consumption of limited natural resources to maintain their availability for the future. Ecological concerns may be addressed through sustainable building, design and operations; a set of policies and strategies; or research activity.
Effat University is committed to minimizing its environmental impact on future generations, thus has in place several rules and regulations that define the University’s measures for a balanced consumption of natural resources and minimal environmental impact of pollutants. Besides its energy and water conservation programs and recycling project, the University inaugurated in 2013 the first of its kind in the region Smart Building Research Center (SB).   The center is concerned with smart buildings as a way of transforming our future environment into a socially and physically sustainable one. It investigates energy efficient buildings that adapt to the users and environment for providing comfort, safety and security; and focuses on real-time optimization of energy consumption in buildings, taking into account users needs and expectations, as well as the characteristics of the building design. The Center’s Water and Energy Research Group is an interdisciplinary one that applies systems analysis techniques for sustainable infrastructure. Such approach in the areas of water and energy combined with well-integrated socioeconomic, technical, environmental, and political concerns, and aligned with national and regional strategies allows designing, analyzing and developing sound and sustainable infrastructure systems.