Emirates Green Building Council hosts roundtable on the ‘State of Our Schools’ to promote green schools in the UAE

EmiratesGBC Press Release

  • Emirates Green Building Council to present whitepaper on the roundtable in December
  • Event brings together advocates of green schools under the Emirates Coalition for Green Schools initiative to create a national vision of healthy, high performance schools while saving energy and resources

Dubai, UAE; November 19, 2017: The UAE’s strongest advocates of green schools met in Dubai to discuss the ‘State of Our Schools’ with the goal of creating a national vision of healthy, high performance schools that are conducive to learning while saving energy, resources and money.

The ‘State of Our Schools’ roundtable, held at the Sheraton Dubai Mall of Emirates, was hosted by the Emirates Coalition for Green Schools, part of the Global Coalition for Green Schools, comprising green building councils and like-minded organisations that aim to equip communities with resources and support to achieve the UAE vision of ‘ensuring that every child in the UAE has the opportunity to learn in a green school within this generation.’

Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC), an independent forum aimed at conserving the environment by strengthening and promoting green building practices, is a founding member of the Global Coalition, and will present a white paper on the deliberations of the roundtable in December.

Aref Abouzahr, Executive Director of TAQATI Dubai Energy Efficiency Program and member of the Emirates Coalition for Green Schools, said: “The first roundtable on the ‘State of Schools’ presented an opportunity to bring together diverse stakeholders from government, private and educational institutions, to discuss how schools can contribute to the UAE’s sustainability vision and to its energy efficiency goals. We believe that it is important to engage students and schools in our collective mission to achieve a greener future. The roundtable served as the first step to forging constructive dialogue for tangible action.”

Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman of EmiratesGBC, said: “Schools play a defining role in promoting the sustainability agenda of our nation. The participation of our educational institutions and its leaders has a ripple effect in our concerted initiatives to promote a more sustainable built environment. The first roundtable on the ‘State of Our Schools’ presented a first of its kind platform to engage diverse stakeholders including members of the academic, government and private sector to plan, design, implement, innovate and sustain green initiatives in our schools. The whitepaper that we shall present in December will articulate the findings of the roundtable, and also put forth a national vision for green schools.”

The roundtable discussed the history of the Global Coalition for Green Schools programme, and elaborated on the first roundtable session’s objectives including building a case for green schools and stakeholder mapping. Experts who participated in the session helped define a consensus on green schools, as healthy, sustainable environments committed to resource use efficiency and instilling the value of environmental sustainability in students.

Anisa Heming, Director, and Carolyn Yi, Project Manager, Centre for Green Schools at US Green Building Council, delivered a video address on green schools, and set the template for the discussion. Establishing the difference between green buildings and green schools, with a focus on how schools can serve as champions in promoting a greener environment, the roundtable debated on why green schools are important, asserting that they lead to enhanced productivity, decreased absenteeism, improved value of buildings, and reduced liability for building designers and owners.

The roundtable also set the local context identifying the number of schools in the public and private sector, and focused on identifying the local advocates of sustainability for schools, and in establishing the missing stakeholder links and ways to engage them better. All the details of the discussions will be presented in the white paper being prepared by EmiratesGBC.

The roundtable was moderated by Charles Blashke, Managing Director, Taka Solutions, an ESCO that works with building owners, facility managers, designers and operators to deliver comprehensive energy solutions that improve energy and water efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and save clients money.

The event was supported by Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, Taqati and Etihad Energy Services. Those interested can sponsor the White Paper being developed by EmiratesGBC. For details, contact: engagement@emiratesgbc.org.

EmiratesGBC regularly hosts and participates in multinational events, conferences and forums. It has also developed a suite of activities, inclusive of networking events, technical workshops, focus days and facilitated training based around specific issues related to the built-environment that meet the needs of its members, of the UAE community and the wider Middle East.