Many nations throughout the world are faced with the challenge of climate change. The United Arab Emirates is not an exception to this problem. Over the years, the UAE has had an increased number of buildings under construction. This has resulted to the construction of impressive buildings and building projects that have resulted to spectacular buildings such as the Palm Jumeirah and Burj Dubai.
The construction of these buildings is respectable but at the same time, it has resulted to increased consumption of energy. This generated a need to search for better ways of construction that would reduce energy consumption and depletion of the existing natural resources even though the Emirates boasts of the worlds largest possession of these resources.
Consequently, the government in the United Arab Emirates resolved for the implementation of better and advanced construction strategies that would ensure energy was conserved therefore providing a solution to the increased rate of pollution that has been on a steady rise with the increase in the number of buildings.
This led to the introduction of green buildings in the Emirates as a sure method of decreasing energy wastage and pollution while at the same time commencing with their building activities to meet global environmental changes in the business world.
Several factors in the Emirates contribute to the consumption of large amounts of energy. This includes longer summers, desert conditions, little amount of rainfall and temperatures that range up to 40 degrees or higher. This causes them to rely heavily on applications that consume large amounts of energy such as air conditioning and the desalinization of water systems. This, in addition to the sky rocketing buildings gives enough evidence of the high energy consumption in the Emirates.
Adopting a better alternative in architectural designs and methods can lead to much reduced effects on the environment. In an interview carried out Habiba Al Marashi who is the chairperson of an environmental Group in Dubai known as Emirates Environmental Group she said ”Sustainable architecture is one of the many ways by which we can measurably minimize the impact of our growth on the ecosystem.
I would like to urge our designers and builders to look inwards towards our architectural traditions and heritage to seek solutions to make a truly greener and progressive UAE,” (Janardhan, 2010, par. 6).
Green buildings serve as a solution to the establishment of an environmentally sound system and creation of efficiency in daily activities by creating reasonable space using a better and improved integrated approach to building design and construction. As a result, an environment that is comfortable for everyday activities while at the same time reducing operational as well as maintenance costs can be achieved in the Emirates.
The green buildings are already being constructed in the Emirates and with time the strategy would be fully incorporated into the UAE. It has become essential for the UAE to assimilate this construction method in light of the current rate of energy depletion and exhaustion of natural resources as well as increased environmental pollution. Incorporation of the green building architectural designs is fundamental for a stable commercial and natural environment in the Emirates.
There are five prerequisites of green building which are already being implemented by architects as well as engineers in the Emirates. The fundamentals of green building include “sustainable sites, energy efficiency, water-use efficiency, environment-friendly materials and indoor environmental quality” (Janardhan, 2010, par. 10). It is an improvement that the engineers and designers of different buildings are incorporating one or more of these steps in construction of current buildings. However, a more holistic approach would be developed if all the fundamentals of green building would be incorporate in the construction of these buildings rather than using one or two of the prerequisites.
The Emirates are using the concepts of green building to employ energy-efficient strategies as well as incorporating the use of recycled materials and recyclables in the construction of buildings. This type of environmental- friendly designs ensures that full utilization of limited resources is achieved to satisfy both the needs of the architects and that of the consumers.
The green buildings encourage the conversion of solar energy into electricity for use in cooling since as mentioned earlier the temperatures in the Emirates can exceed 40 degrees. The electricity can also be used for heating. Other environmental conserving activities involve the use of high winds which can be converted into electricity using rooftop generators.
The green building project also utilizes technology in the conversion of municipal waste to biogas and useful bio-fertilizers. Water which happens to be a costly commodity in the Emirates due to the process of desalinization can also be conserved by preventing excessive consumption of water which is a strategy employed by the green buildings. If the United Arab Emirates incorporates the green building strategy, there would be lots of benefits accrued from it for the countries.
The Leadership in Energy and environmental Design (LEED) is a body which determines the number of factors that go into consideration for the determination of an appropriate green building project in different countries. Different countries have their own special specifications for a green building project due to various factors such as climate and the economic capabilities of the country.
The LEED uses a wide criterion so as to come up with different degrees of sustainability for different green buildings. For the UAE, the American LEED structure was modified to generate the LEED Emirates that has already been utilized in construction of green buildings in the UAE. One of the buildings that has been constructed using the LEED is the Pacific Controls Headquarters which is the first building that was constructed using the LEED in Middle East and about the 16th throughout the world.
Some of the technologies that were used in the building for reduction of environmental degradation are “the Roof mounted photovoltaics powering daytime artificial lighting – A solar thermal air-conditioning system – CO2 monitoring for indoor air quality – Landscaped areas irrigated using rain water and recycled waste water – 50% of construction materials sourced locally – 10% of building materials by cost made from recycled goods” (Rashid, 2007, p. 5)
The development of the green building has led to increased awareness of the environment and the potential dangers other forms of construction have on the environmental condition of a country and of the entire world as a whole. Green building as led to reduced energy wastes and better strategies of construction that have ensured energy costs are minimized.
The UAE has employed the use of green building. As a result, there are various advantages that are going to accrue to the country due to the adaptation of the LEED Emirates strategy in construction. More building constructions that are based on LEED are yet to be constructed in the UAE and the benefits accruing to the use of this strategy would be visible after a period of time.
Janardhan, Meena. (2010, July 19). Land of Black Gold Focuses on Green Buildings. Retrieved from http://www.nanovations.com.au/Case%20studies/Land%20of%20Black%20Gold%20Fo cuses%20on%20Green%20Buildings.pdf
Rashid Al Maktoum. (2007, October) .The Sustainable Vision of Dubai. Retrieved from http://www.ctbuh.org/Portals/0/Repository/P1_SheikhMakteum.3d3c0499-b670-4a4d- a73c- 2ea73283f3ce.pdf