Dubai Ranks among the Top 10 Global Cities for Green Buildings

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Dubai may have joined the race later than others, but in the short time since its efforts began, it has made strides towards cementing itself as a world leader in green development. Dubai is ranked the 8th of the “Top Global Cities for Green Buildings” white paper recently released by Solidiance, a management consultancy firm focused on Asia.

In the four years since Dubai first launched its first green building regulation and specification code, Dubai has managed to green 8.4% of its building stock, and it shows no signs of slowing down. The monumental feat was possible due to a number of regulations, education programmes, and financial incentives that have set up the city of Dubai for green growth in the long run.

The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) has mandatory requirements for energy efficiency and labeling systems on water fixtures. In July of 2014, ESMA even went so far as to ban the import of inefficient incandescent lamps. In 2015, the local Green Building Council introduced the Technical Guidelines for Retrofitting Existing Buildings, which outline methods and technology implementation for increasing water and energy efficiency.

The white paper by Solidiance also highlights that by 2018, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) aims to install 250k smart metres and deploy smart-rid to automate power consumption in all residential, industrial and commercial properties.

But this is only the beginning.

By 2030, Dubai aims to have reduced its energy consumption by 30%. The challenge is backed by a number of government initiatives that aid the greening of both new and existing buildings. According to Solidiance’s white paper, Dubai allocated USD 13.6 billion for renewable energy projects. In collaboration with the private sector, the city also allocated more than USD 544 million for retrofitting 100,000 buildings so they would meet green standards. Additionally, Dubai’s Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) also launched the 2015 “Sham Dubai” smart initiative, which encourages building owners to install photovoltaic solar panels.

Dubai rates and certifies its green buildings with the Estidama Pearl Rating System. The Estidama system was tailor-made for the neighbouring emirate of Abu-dhabi. It is perfectly suited for hot desert areas, as it places a higher emphasis on water conservation than international alternatives, which focus on energy consumption, such as Green Star, BREEAM, or even LEED.

Dubai is currently behind other major players on the green building front, but this lagging behind must not be mistaken for incapability. The city is swinging with full force towards becoming a sustainability power house. In years to come, Dubai will cement itself as one of the leaders of the green cityscape. (AGB – RA)

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