DUBAI // All buildings in the emirate have now implemented insulation systems to nearly double their energy efficiency, according to Dubai officials.
Energy efficiency is one of five elements that must be met for a building to be considered "green" by international standards - the other four are water efficiency, waste management, design and livability. Within the next three years, Dubai officials say every building will meet all five criteria.
Adnan al Marzouqi, the head of construction materials at Dubai Municipality, said initiatives such as the annual Buildings and Construction Week, which ends today, were crucial to the emirate's environmental ambitions. In two years, it will be mandatory for all new projects to follow green guidelines.
"We have eight labs, and one is dedicated to green building," said Mr al Marzouqi. "All in all, construction is rising and we received 20 per cent more lab samples than last year from government bodies, private companies, block factories and material suppliers," he said.
Craig Plumb, the head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle Mena, said it was positive that the municipality was enforcing environmental initiatives but warned that being green was "about more than just material used".
Mr Plumb said setting a benchmark for what constituted green building would make the government target more attainable.
"We have to elevate the level of awareness, and this is a good start. The Government recently expressed concerns over water supply for the next 20 years, so when people are aware of wastage, measures will be taken.
"There should also be more pedestrian walkways and air conditioning should be turned down to save money and energy," Mr Plumb said.
A recent study by the risk management and auditing service Deloitte Middle East, entitled GCC Powers of Construction 2010, noted that the financial crisis had prompted a number of new trends, including green initiatives, affordable housing projects and revised government budgets.
According to the study, the UAE was host to 36 per cent of the region's construction projects - worth US$958 billion (Dh3.4trillion) - and the industry was expected to grow9.6 per cent between 2010 and 2014.
Mr al Marzouqi said further sustainability projects were planned. The municipality recently received approval for a proposal to use recycled aggregate from demolition waste to reduce the need for new construction materials.
Further proposals include converting organic waste into energy and recycling soil as pavement material.