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'Green' building designs planned

Design experts are to discuss how to reduce the environmental impact of the UAE's building boom at a summit.

DUBAI // Design experts are to discuss how to reduce the environmental impact of the UAE's building boom at an international summit to be held in Dubai next month. With billions of dirhams of construction projects under way in the country, government departments are encouraging architects to see the boom as an opportunity to develop new ideas on environmental sustainability.

Dubai already requires new buildings to abide by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, an international standard for the design and construction of "green" buildings. In Abu Dhabi, the Government is working on new building codes that will set tough mandatory standards on energy efficiency, as well as on the building's resistance to flood, fire, natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

Abu Dhabi's Masdar project, which will provide homes to 50,000 people, aims to be the world's first carbon neutral city when it is finished in 2013, through a combination of solar power, recycling and public transport, together with buildings that are designed to waste as little energy as possible. It will also reduce the consumption of desalinated water by up to 80 per cent through the use of advanced water re-purification techniques, and the use of domestic waste water for irrigation.

"With the globalisation of trade, enterprises and professionals from many countries, accustomed to differing national or regional building codes, must increasingly work together on major construction projects," said Sultan bin Saeed al Mansouri, the Minister of the Economy and chairman of the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology, the national body that monitors whether the UAE is meeting international standards.

"In such circumstances, globally relevant standards based on international consensus among experts in the relevant field can guide co-operation and harmonise practice, thus promoting efficiency and safety while avoiding unnecessary technical barriers to trade," he said. gmccleneghan@thenational.ae

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