Estidama, the emirate's sustainability initiative, will lead the way for the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) in 2012.
UPC officials plan to finish devising an operational rating for projects built using the Estidama Pearl Rating System, a programme that grades structures on their environmental friendliness.
Currently, new projects are rated once for their design and a second time after construction. In the future, buildings will receive a third rating when they have been open for 18 months to two years, according to Edwin Young, a programme advisor for Estidama.
Officials will continue discussions about the possibility of adapting old buildings to meet better environmental standards, Mr Young said.
Finally, UPC plans to award contracts for four Emirati housing projects this year, including 3,500 villas. Also this year, 6,000 finished villas will be handed over to local government entities, who will allocate them to Emirati owners.