We are in a climate crisis. It remains evident that we are in a planetary crisis where our natural systems are being amplified by human actions and activities as demonstrated by several technical studies constantly recognizing such contributions which are powering extreme weather events of our decade. As stated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2021, global surface temperature will continue to increase until at least the mid-century under all considered emissions scenarios. Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless significant reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.

Along those same lines were developed the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) with global priorities on shaping a sustainable future. In fact, several of these goals relate to the built environment with a focus on good health and well-being, clean water, affordable and clean energy, industry innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production as well as climate action, that would all eventually align with targets to have all new buildings achieve a minimum of 40% reduction in operational and embodied carbon, all existing buildings embarking on retrofits prioritize energy efficiency measures to allow having all new and existing assets net zero whole life cycle carbon, by 2050, including associated operational and embodied emissions.

Lastly, infrastructure and buildings are strongly correlated in their use and function, making it crucial to consider them as an integrated part of a single system. There is a substantial opportunity to support the industry in responding to worldwide climate targets with principles for the built environment that include both buildings and infrastructure together. A more sustainable built environment offers higher quality assets, reduced costs, better return on investment across the lifecycle.


Ms. Balsam is a thought leader focusing on building performance, zero-energy buildings, decarbonization, smart cities, resilience and sustainability. Playing a vital role driving innovations and sustainable transformations by contributing to the development and delivery of National and International projects, standards, guidelines, and Strategies in MENA region.

As well as establishing innovation programs and implementing large-scale initiatives on enterprise-level with strong leadership abilities for identifying, building cases and developing smart sustainable solutions that are responsive to the needs of rapidly growing cities, organizations and industries.

She works to ensure building performance simultaneously creates social, health, environmental, and economic benefits for the people and places that are touched by Dar’s work. She works closely with clients to enhance their missions and meet project goals and direct Dar’s Strategic Building Performance Plan, bringing her expertise in net zero, embodied carbon, integrated design, materials evaluation, occupant engagement, and building certification to all of our projects. She has in fact played a leading role in some of Dar’s most sophisticated sustainability and innovation projects and has won the Association Energy Engineers award of the year for her work in that field.

Balsam works diligently to advance the profession by bringing together individuals and organizations to develop solutions to common goals as well as volunteering to help communities improve their environment. She works with advocacy organizations to promote policy that supports the implementation of sustainable communities and buildings, such as a net zero energy code and net zero action plans.

She has delivered the sustainability strategy for the following projects:
– Madinah Convention Centre, Saudi Arabia.
– Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University (PNU) – Building Works, Saudi Arabia.
– King Saud University for Health Sciences, Saudi Arabia.
– Aramco Innovation Center, Saudi Arabia
– NEOM Experience Center, Saudi Arabia
– Aramco Engineering solutions Center, Saudi Arabia
– Kuwait International Petroleum Research Center (KIPRC) and Other Related Facilities, Kuwait
– Bloom District & Villas, Abu Dhabi, UAE
– EXPEC advanced research center lab buildings, Saudi Arabia
– Development of Asset briefs for NEOM regional, Saudi Arabia
– Infrastructure Master Plan (IMP) for Qiddiya City, Saudi Arabia
– Al Ghadeer Hyperloop, Abu Dhabi, UAE
– Lusail Katara Twin Towers Hotel at Marina District, Doha, Qatar
– Al Maktoum International Airport Master Plan, Dubai, UAE
– Saudi Arabia Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020, Dubai, UAE
– Concourse D at Dubai International, Dubai, UAE