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UAE Ministry of Public Works extending support to promote green buildings

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20 Oct 2014

The third annual Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC) Congress opened today in Dubai on a high note with the UAE Ministry of Public Works signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with EmiratesGBC to promote green building concepts across the industry supply chain and to promote sustainable built environments nation-wide.

The Congress, regarded as the largest gathering of experts in green buildings, is held under the patronage of His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, UAE Minister of Public Works. The event deliberated on wide-ranging topics related to sustainable urban environments on the first day. A number of international and regional experts are attending the two-day event, which will conclude on October 21 with tours of sustainable buildings as well as workshops.

The MoU was signed by HE Engineer Zahra Salman Alaboodi, Undersecretary of Ministry of Public Works, and Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman of EmiratesGBC
The MoU was signed by HE Engineer Zahra Salman Alaboodi, Undersecretary of Ministry of Public Works, and Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman of EmiratesGBC

His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi said that the comprehensive strategy for the sustainable development of the UAE, led by the concerted efforts of various governmental departments and organisations, makes the country the place to live, work and grow.

He added: “Through its projects across the country, the Ministry is taking the lead in enforcing green building best practices and ensuring that sustainability standards are followed during the design, implementation and commissioning phases. The Ministry ensures that sustainable development parameters are met in the fields of environment, economy and the society at large by rationalising the use of electricity and water usage, encouraging the use of renewable energy, reducing carbon footprint, and implementing the ‘happiness meter’ by using technology and systems that are relevant to the environment.”

The MoU, signed by HE Engineer Zahra Salman Alaboodi, Undersecretary of Ministry of Public Works, and Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman of EmiratesGBC, serves as a strong example for the all building industry stakeholders to collaborate to achieving the ‘green vision’ of the UAE by adopting sustainable building systems and rationalising the use of electricity and water, and thus reducing the UAE’s carbon footprint.

Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman of EmiratesGBC, said: “We are grateful to the Ministry of Public Works for their support to the built environment across the nation. The MoU is a strong testament to the vision of the Ministry to bring a positive change across the building industry supply chain. We are also thankful to all the subject experts, our members and stakeholders for their active participation in the 3rd EmiratesGBC Congress to make it the most successful edition so far.”

As per the MoU, the Ministry of Public Works and EmiratesGBC will leverage their networks to promote best practices in sustainable built environments. They will partner to host informative events on green buildings and establish a joint working committee to research and prepare case studies on the UAE’s green building sector. Both organisations will also exchange best practices and share knowledge in the domain for the benefit of the entire building industry.

Organised under the theme, ‘Sustainable Cities for the Future,’ the Congress is billed as the largest of its kind networking event on sustainability challenges in the built environment in the region. It is hosting a number of UAE-based, regional and international experts, who will share their outlook on the opportunities and challenges in driving sustainable development.

The Congress is a carbon-neutral event, with MyClimate Foundation, one of the world’s leading providers of voluntary carbon offsetting measures, to offset the carbon generated through its international project portfolio of gold standard certified projects.

Among the highlights of the opening day included a keynote address by Dr. Salaheddine Issa, Estidama Expert at the UAE Ministry of Public Works, on the Ministry’s sustainability initiatives. Other keynote addresses were delivered by Eng. Madiha Salem of Trakhees on Green Building Regulations; Adeel Aleem Khan of Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council and Faisal Ali Hassan Rashid of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy.

A discussion on ‘Sustainability at the Global Front: Local, Regional and International Perspectives’ featured a keynote on ‘UNEP: Global Action Towards Resource Efficiency and Climate Mitigation in the Building Sector’ by Arab Hoballah, Chief, Sustainable Consumption and Production Branch. Sanjay Sridhar, Regional Director for West and South Asia, Sustainable Communities Initiative, C40, discussed ‘C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group – Cities Taking Action.’

A panel discussion on ‘Local Advances in Sustainable Cities: Technologies and Policies’ was addressed by representatives of Dubai Municipality and Masdar City, while a discussion on ‘Existing Policies and Regulations in the Region: Issues, Challenges and Need to Develop New Policies,’ was led by Abdel Aleem Khan of Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council; Jagannathan Paravasthu of Trakhees, Bassam Saaloukeh of Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology and James Grinnell of the Dubai Regulatory and Supervisory Bureau. A panel session on ‘Meeting the Challenges of a Sustainable Urban Future’ was also held.

Osama Younan, Chief of the Green Building and Mechanical Engineering Section of the City of Los Angeles, presented a case study on advancements in sustainable cities. Select Winners of the 2nd Annual EGBC Awards highlighted case studies on their local experience contributing to best sustainability practices in the UAE. They included: Gundeep Singh of The Change Initiative (EGBC award winner for the Green Building of the Year’ and Jeevan D’Mello of Emaar Community Management (winners of the EGBC Green FM Company of the Year).

The sponsors of the Congress are Siemens (Platinum Sponsor), BASF – the Chemical Company (Gold) and National Paints (Silver).

EmiratesGBC regularly hosts and participates in multinational events, conferences and forums. EmiratesGBC has also developed a suite of activities, inclusive of networking events, technical workshops, focus days and facilitated training based around specific issues related to the built-environment that meet the needs of its members, of the UAE community, and the wider Middle East.

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