Dubai is to announce new rules that property developers must meet to ensure the sustainability of projects as several developments get under way boasting green credentials.
"We will announce criteria to regulate the sustainable development of real estate," said Majida Ali Rashid, the chairwoman of the Dubai Land Department's property investment management and promotion centre. "The pillars will be economic, social and environment."
Ms Rashid said the initiative, to be announced next month, would be managed through the establishment of a working group of experts specialising in property and environmental sustainability.
She was speaking at a press conference yesterday to announce Dubai's hosting of the Arab International Sustainable Real Estate Conference on May 1 and 2 in cooperation with the Arab League.
Dubai and the Arab region as a whole are further behind other parts of the world in sustainable practices in the property market. Before the property market crash of 2009, Dubai was renowned for several large scale projects, some of which were never completed, such as the Waterfront and two of the three Palm Islands.
Developers behind more recent projects insist they are having more regard of the impact of their development on the environment.
Solar-powered golf carts and an organic farm are among the environmentally friendly features of the Dh1 billion (US$272.2 million) Dubai Sustainable City, expected to be completed in 2015.
Work would start soon on the project, located on a 5 million square metre plot of land near Arabian Ranches, said Faris Saeed, the chief executive of Diamond Developers, which is behind the scheme.
"It is a fully integrated city with a mixed-use development," he said. "We are recycling all of the water to reuse in the city, we are producing around 50 per cent of electricity needed in the city through solar farms and each house is producing its own electricity by using solar panels. The city will be linked up to the nearest metro station via buses."
Falcon City of Wonders, a 41 million square foot development to feature replicas of the seven wonders of the world, is also promoting its green credentials. Sewage water would be recycled for irrigation and the roads would be lit by solar power, said Salem Al Moosa, Falcon's chairman and chief executive.
"Our fathers and ancestors practiced sustainability in their lives by rationalisation of their urban footprint," he said. "However, such practices disappeared with the economic booms and due to many factors, most notably the lack of sustainability culture."
The conference is also expected to address how to ensure sustainability in property pricing.
Prices in Dubai dropped about 60 per cent in some areas after the property crash. But prices increased from 20 to 30 per cent on an annual basis in some areas at the start of the year.