Green Building Rating Tools

Green building assessment tools are a means to help ensure buildings, communities and projects are developed in a sustainable and integrated manner, engaging the appropriate experts throughout the process. The purpose of many of the assessment tools is to drive building design and construction beyond regulatory minimums.

EmiratesGBC encourages the use of recognized green building rating tools as a guide to creating a more sustainable built environment. There are several systems in the global market place as well as those used specifically in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) market, including:

  • Estidama, Pearl Rating System
  • Al Sa’fat – Dubai Green Building Evaluation System
  • LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
  • BREEAM – British Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method

EmiratesGBC annually publishes the Green Building Market City Briefs for Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which outlines the green building policies in both Emirates. To learn more about the number of green certified buildings in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, visit

Estidama – Pearl Rating System

The Estidama Pearl Rating System (PRS) was developed by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council and was launched in April 2010. The pearl rating system includes both prerequisites and voluntary credits. The Estidama PRS is mandatory for proposed new-construction villas, buildings and community projects that fall under the ownership of developers. The PRS has been integrated into the building permit process at the various municipalities such that the construction of an applicable development is only possible if a project complies with the PRS requirements. The Executive Council Order of May 2010 states all new applicable buildings must meet the 1 Pearl requirements, whilst all government funded buildings must achieve minimum of 2 Pearls.

The Estidama PRS encompasses:

  • Pearl Building Rating System (PBRS) – includes different building typologies such as offices, retail, multi-residential, school and mixed use.
  • Pearl Community Rating System (PCRS) – promotes the development of sustainable communities and improves quality of life. Applicable to developments that are multiple plot subdivisions, with a vehicular network and community facilities or amenities. A fundamental part of the PCRS is the requirement for master plan teams to develop Pearl Rating targets and guidelines for all buildings within the community.
  • Pearl Villa Rating System (PVRS) – respects the traditional ‘fareej’ residential design and supports historical priorities of solar shading, outdoor thermal comfort and internal privacy. Applies to any new stand-alone enclosed permanent structure to be built on a new or existing plot, and containing one dwelling unit for use by a single household, or a multi residential building of three or less stories above grade that houses multiple dwelling units.

All Pearl Rating Systems encourage water, energy and waste minimization, local material use and aims to improve supply chains for sustainable and recycled materials and products.

For further information about the Estidama Pearl Rating System visit

Al Sa’fat – Dubai Green Building Evaluation System

The Al Sa’fat rating system was introduced by Dubai Municipality in 2016 and is based on the Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications. Under Al Sa’fat, there are 33 mandatory general requirements, as well as rating specific requirements. Additional optional requirements are also needed to obtain higher ratings. The main categories under Al Sa’fat rating system are:

  • Ecology & Planning
  • Building Vitality
  • Resource Effectiveness – Energy
  • Resource Effectiveness – Water
  • Resource Effectiveness – Materials & Waste

The Sa’fat rating to be achieved is determined by the applicable regulations required for the specific rating, as well as the applicable regulations for the building type. To find out more about Al Sa’fat and its requirements, please contact Dubai Municipality.


Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a building rating system established by the US Green Building Council to measure the performance of a building against pre-established parameters, and third party verification. LEED assesses buildings against the following main criteria:

  • Location and Transportation
  • Sustainable sites
  • Water Efficiency
  • Energy and Atmosphere
  • Materials and Resources
  • Indoor Environmental Quality

To find out more about LEED, visit


BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design. BREEAM was first developed in the UK over 20 years ago and was a pioneer in providing the first-ever building assessment methodology. Addressing wide-ranging environmental and sustainability issues, BREEAM enables developers and designers to prove the environmental credentials of their buildings to planners and clients.

BREEAM assess a building based on the following categories:

  • Energy
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Innovation
  • Land Use
  • Materials
  • Management
  • Pollution
  • Transport
  • Waste
  • Water

BREEAM encompasses a number of building typologies and can be used for existing or new constructions. During the assessment process, each category is sub-divided into a range of issues, which promotes the use of new benchmarks, aims and targets.  When a target is reached credits are awarded.  Once the development has been fully assessed, depending upon the total number of credits awarded, a final performance rating is achieved.

Visit to find out more about BREEAM.