Emirates Green Building Council strengthens UAE’s sustainable built environment with 9 years of path-breaking initiatives
Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC), an independent forum aimed at conserving the environment by strengthening and promoting green building practices, has redefined the sustainable built environment of the UAE supporting the nation to achieve new benchmarks through nine years of path-breaking initiatives.
Since its establishment in 2006, EmiratesGBC has served as an integral partner in achieving the ‘green vision’ of the nation, which has already achieved tangible results in reducing its ecological footprint. Over the past nine years, the Council has rallied stakeholders from across the building industry supply chain to take credible and concrete action to promote sustainable development. This is reflected in the number of corporate members of the Council nearly quadrupling from 2006 to now.
Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman of EmiratesGBC, said: “Over the past nine years, we have worked with a purposeful mission and vision to support the UAE in achieving new benchmarks in sustainable built environments. In this, our guiding force has been the ‘green economy for sustainable development’ vision announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. We have built significant governmental, industry and community partnerships to encourage a culture of sustainability.”
He added: “Initially we focused on consistently generating awareness on the impact of construction and buildings on the environment and natural resources through networking sessions and thought leadership platforms. We engaged experts from across the industry to share best practices. Through our annual EGBC Awards we honoured best practices in green building, thus encouraging a culture of innovation region-wide including among students. We have also been working on credible action strategies that support our stakeholders to contribute to the UAE Vision 2021 and Dubai Plan 2021 that focuses on building a sustainable nation that focuses on resource use efficiency and minimising ecological impact.”
Currently, a new Board Advisory Committee is being constituted with government representatives to ensure that the Council’s goals are aligned with the national agenda. The upcoming Board Advisory Committee meeting will discuss the renewed strategic approach of EmiratesGBC and its future programmes to align with the ‘green vision’ and sustainable developmental priorities of the government.
Over the past nine years, EmiratesGBC has organised multiple networking events attended by more than 1,200 professionals. EmiratesGBC has also forged significant industry, government, educational and NGO partnerships with over 20 agreements signed to work together for promoting a greener UAE. Key partners include: Ministry of Public Works, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, Emirates Standardisation & Metrology Authority, Ajman Municipality, Emirates Wildlife Society – WWF, Emirates Environment Group, Masdar, Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Dubai Central Laboratory, Middle East Facilities Management Association, Abu Dhabi Quality Control Council, British University in Dubai, Rochester Institute of Technology – Dubai, American University of Sharjah, KPMG and Galadari Advocates, among others.
Bringing all industry stakeholders together for informative brainstorming sessions and to share best practices, EmiratesGBC organised the first Annual Congress in 2012, which is today a regional benchmark in showcasing innovative ideas in the green building sector.
EmiratesGBC has placed a strong focus on education, having introduced technical workshops for professionals as early as 2007, when it partnered up with the British University in Dubai (BUiD) to deliver programmes on LEED sustainable rating offered by the US Green Building Council in the UAE. More than 150 participants attended the workshop during the first year, and to date, EmiratesGBC has helped educate over 500 professionals in the UAE. In 2013, EmiratesGBC, again in conjunction with BUiD, introduced a new programme for Certified Energy Manager qualifications, which has trained nearly 100 professional candidates to date.
EmiratesGBC is today the national operator of Green Key, a sustainability certification programme for hotels and accommodations that was developed by the Foundation for Environmental Education. Recognised by the World Tourism Organisation and United Nations Environment Programme, the non-profit and independent programme is the largest global eco-label relating to accommodation; which offers clear guidelines to hotels for ensuring that a certain level of sustainability is being met, and provides guests with the assurance that the venue has a commitment to green practices. The Green Key certification complements the EmiratesGBC Hospitality Programme, the first sector-based initiative introduced by EmiratesGBC. An education-sector programme is due to be launched later this year.
Most recently, EmiratesGBC achieved one of the greatest milestones since its inception with the launch of its ‘Technical Guidelines for Retrofitting Existing Buildings,’ aimed to serve as a guide for UAE industry professionals and building end-users. Compiled by EmiratesGBC and written by volunteer EmiratesGBC members and stakeholders, with the endorsement of the Ministry of Public Works and the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, the Technical Guidelines further complements the ‘EmiratesGBC Energy Efficiency Programme’ launched late last year, which consists of a database that serves as a catalyst for all interested players, including energy efficiency equipment manufacturers and vendors; contractors, facility managers, banks and financiers; insurance companies and energy service companies to assist in facilitating their industry requirements related to energy efficiency, by directing their needs to other players.