UAE: MoU signed to promote green building practices

AKOYA-O2

Civil society’s push to use green building best practices in the country’s construction industry received the necessary boost from the Ministry of Public Works on Monday.

The Emirates Green Building Council (Emirates GBC) and Ministry of Public Works on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to leverage their networks to promote best practices in sustainably built environments across the entire building supply chain in the country.

The memorandum was signed at the opening of the two-day congress held under the theme ‘Sustainable Cities for the Future.’ It is the largest annual gathering of experts in green buildings in the country.

“The MoU is very significant. The congress today will provide an outline for what we have been setting as a target for the last few months,” Dr Abdullah Bel Haif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Public Works, told Gulf News.

Dr Al Nuaimi emphasised that the ministry is taking the lead in enforcing green building best practices – or best examples to construct buildings in the most sustainable way – and ensuring that standards are followed from conceptualisation down to implementation or construction of the building. This is done by rationalising the use of electricity and water, encouraging the use of renewable energy, and reducing the carbon footprint.

In Dubai, all government buildings constructed from 2008 onwards should adhere to green building principles. Just at the start of the year, the new green building code made it mandatory for both the public and private sector to go green.

Currently, the number of old buildings that are not efficient outnumber the new ones. Retrofitting the 120,000 existing buildings in the emirate is still in process and will take time. The same goes with the construction of efficient buildings as results will be seen two or three years after completion, Faisal Ali Rashid, Energy Demand Side Director at the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, said.

But the energy and water savings should be a motivating factor in the long run. Dubai can have a power savings of 19 terrawatt hours – equivalent to almost 40 per cent of Dubai’s current capacity – and 47 billion imperial gallons of water by 2030 should all things go into plan. This is equivalent to “billions of dirhams” saved as well, he said.

“The building code was launched in January 2014. All the buildings in the emirate will be efficient. Maybe after two to three years we will see some completed buildings. So every year, the share of the efficient buildings will increase,” Rashid told Gulf News.

Habiba Al Marashi, co-founder and board member of Emirates GBC, said the undertaking is a step in the right direction.

“There are quite a few buildings today, public and private, that have adhered to green building standards regardless of whether we are talking about LEED or the local one. But there’s a lot that is going on. So we don’t want to say “this building and that building”. We want [green building practices] really to be the norm. We want this to be the culture of tomorrow.”

 

Source: Gulf News

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