What is EmiratesGBC?

EmiratesGBC is a membership-driven, independent forum working, alongside its members, towards promoting and creating sustainable built environments throughout the United Arab Emirates. Its Vision complements that of the UAE government to drive sustainable development and reduce the ecological footprint of the nation by aiming to shape policies for the built environment and facilitating collaborative solutions to support and encourage the best, innovative practices in green buildings.

What does EmiratesGBC do?

Established in 2006 and the first of its kind in the region, EmiratesGBC supports the goals of the government in achieving a low carbon economy and a ‘Green UAE’.  It encourages and promotes the implementation of green building policies and regulations, whilst the enforcement of these regulations lies with the concerned authorities. Through collaboration with various industry stakeholders to achieve the standards related to the sustainable built environment, EmiratesGBC promotes green initiatives across the entire value chain. Additionally, EmiratesGBC provides a platform for knowledge sharing and capacity building through seminars, workshops, and focus forums dedicated to topics on sustainability and green buildings.  Please check out our events page for the latest initiatives and education programs.

What are the primary objectives of EmiratesGBC?

  • Partner with governmental and non-governmental authorities as well as industry professionals and academic institutions to influence the implementation of sustainable practices in built environments and encourage the concept of sustainable development across the whole supply chain.
  • Promote sustainable, green building practices and support related rating systems in the region and local communities.
  • Offer knowledge sharing and networking opportunities.
  • Provide educational resources and information on sustainable building practices to the whole supply chain within the industry including developers, planners, designers, consultants, contractors, suppliers, facility managers, and financial and legal institutes.
  • Provide the link between the international green building movement and local industry.

How do you network with other industry players?

The focus of EmiratesGBC is to bring about transformational change in the attitude of the communities and the approach of the construction industry for developing a sustainable built environment. To achieve these goals, EmiratesGBC engages various stakeholder groups by providing active forums for sharing best practices. These groups range from developers, planners, designers, consultants, contractors, suppliers, facility managers. This is done through hosting a series of networking initiatives that promote and strengthen industry dialogue, and via further development of EmiratesGBC’s education program which includes focus forums where industry leaders can meet to strategize and develop applicable solutions.  In addition to participating in a variety of conferences and exhibitions, EmiratesGBC also provides educational resources and information to the building industry on sustainable practices through its presence on social media and the online EmiratesGBC database.

What has EmiratesGBC achieved since its inception in 2006?

Through its regular networking events and technical workshops, Emirates Green Building Council shares knowledge and information on sustainable built environments with a particular focus on the professional building industry. The Council has served as an effective platform integrating different disciplines related to the entire building supply chain, including financial and legal institutions, developers, planners, designers, consultants, contractors and operations and facility management. The Council has been facilitating workshops and seminars and other education opportunities in collaboration with our strategic partners, including governmental and non-government organisations and academic institutions. Since its inception, EmiratesGBC has been able to drive stronger awareness on the need for creating sustainable buildings within the whole building supply chain. To learn more about the Council’s history, programs and achievements, click here to download the EmiratesGBC Impact Report “Measuring Green Building Progress

What new developments can one expect from EmiratesGBC over the coming years?

Emirates Green Building Council will continue to focus on enhancing awareness on the need to develop sustainable built environments by working with all stakeholders across the entire supply chain. The Council will also focus on facilitating and conducting customised seminars and workshops to address the specific needs of the industry.

How closely do you work with the World Green Building Council (WGBC)?

As the first Green Building Council in the region, EmiratesGBC is recognised as the eighth member of the World Green Building Council. EmiratesGBC works closely with the WGBC in introducing best practices in developing sustainable built environments.

What is the WGBC MENA Network?

The World Green Building Council Middle East and North Africa Network (WGBC MENA) was initiated on September 14th 2010 as a co-operation between EmiratesGBC, Qatar GBC and Jordan GBC to promote coordination between green building councils in the region and to provide a platform to achieve the highest level of sustainable built environments.  The WGBC MENA Network is currently chaired by Jordan GBC and represented by the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Lebanon and Palestine.

How can I become a member of EmiratesGBC?

EmiratesGBC members in the UAE represent the entire value chain of development from developers to architects, planners, designers, consultants, contractors, financial and legal institutions, and service organisations.

Any individual or company with the desire to protect the environment and to embrace sustainability within the UAE is welcome to join and participate as a member. Visit Our Members page to find information regarding our membership process and application forms for corporate, individual, student and SME memberships. By completing an application form and submitting the necessary documents, you can join EmiratesGBC and get involved in our shared goals of promoting the construction of sustainable built environment.

How much does it cost to become a member?

Individual annual membership fees are AED 1,000 (with a onetime joining fee of AED 500), whilst corporate annual membership fees are AED 10,000. Special discounts apply to student and SME memberships. There are numerous benefits to be gained from both individual and corporate memberships, all of which can be viewed here.

How can I help to develop the EmiratesGBC Programs?

EmiratesGBC is dependent on the active involvement of its members to develop and contribute to its programs, such as the Energy Efficiency Program (EEP), Hospitality Program and Green Key Program. To register your interest in participating in one of the Programs please email us at  info@emiratesgbc.org.

How can I become a speaker/presenter at the EmiratesGBC networking events?

If you are a corporate member and would like to share your experience of green building within the region, please contact the EmiratesGBC office at info@emiratesgbc.org. Presentations at EmiratesGBC events are to be educational and focus on new ideas in sustainability and innovative approaches to some of the challenges faced in the green building industry. Speaking opportunities are based on the event’s topic, and priority is given to EmiratesGBC members and sponsors.

How do I pay for an event and what is the cost?

Networking events cost 50 AED for EmiratesGBC members and 150 AED for non-members. Both are requested to register their attendance in advance, whilst payment can be made in advance or upon arrival by cheque or cash (payment by credit card is not available).

Do I have to be an EmiratesGBC member to attend an event?

No, EmiratesGBC encourages and welcomes both members and non-members to our events. EmiratesGBC members  do however have access to exclusive events, as well as having further benefits such as receiving discounts on a variety of activities and events hosted and supported by the Council.

What is a ‘green building’ and what practices does it involve?

A green building can be, at a very basic level, defined as one that is environmentally sustainable, having been designed and developed to function so as to minimise its impact on the environment. According to the International Energy Agency, buildings are responsible for nearly 40% of the world’s primary energy consumption and approximately 24% of global carbon dioxide emissions, making them a critical component in any sustainable development initiative. Today with greater environmental awareness and knowledge of how buildings can contribute to environmental degradation, steps are being taken to incorporate ‘green design’ principles right from site selection and planning to design, development, the materials used and the operational stages.

Design considerations involve amongst others optimizing building orientation and insulation or maximizing the use of day lighting, whilst the actual construction practices can include the use of concrete mixes and other building materials that are environmentally less polluting. From the material supplies and operational perspective, having energy efficient lighting and air conditioning systems as well as integrating solar panels and condensate recovery systems are among other measures that help make buildings more energy efficient.

What kind of green building practices are already in practice in the UAE?

The UAE has taken tremendous strides in leading the region to adopting green principles and developing sustainable built environments, led by the ‘green vision’ of the government. Today many green building assessment tools are available and widely used throughout the UAE. More information on such tools can be found here.

What examples exist in UAE that outline an adoption of green building principles and a move towards sustainable development?

In October 2008, Dubai decreed that all new buildings must be green and launched its Green Buildings Regulations and Specifications in 2010, while Abu Dhabi has successfully established an indigenous rating system for green buildings named ‘Estidama’ (Arabic for ‘sustainability’). The Masdar Initiative in Abu Dhabi provides a further example of the country’s move to create a ‘green UAE’. The globally recognized initiative is one of the significant actions that have been taken by the emirate aimed at developing a carbon neutral city (Masdar City).

What is the current level of awareness regarding green building practices in the UAE?

The level of awareness on green buildings and sustainability in the UAE is rapidly increasing, and there are concerted efforts across the entire supply chain to promote green building practices. In fact, the UAE has been at the forefront of this trend in the region, with Emirates Green Building Council being the first of its kind in the region and the eighth member of the World Green Building Council.

What are the primary barriers in achieving green building standards in the UAE and the MENA region?

Capacity building will continue to be a priority for the next few years as the need will grow for architects, engineers, developers, planners, contractors, designers and other professionals who are fully committed to sustainability and capable to design green buildings. This is putting a clear demand on universities to transform their curricula and satisfy the new needs. From the developers’ perspective, the misconception that green buildings are more expensive is gradually declining throughout the region as an increasing number of developers are accepting that green buildings are more cost effective in the long term and therefore an economically viable solution. Recycling facilities are increasingly being incorporated in developments throughout the UAE and MENA region. However, It remains a challenge to encourage the public to participate in various recycling campaigns and, more importantly, to have in operation recycling facilities and associated logistics.

We are at the start of the green journey that we have embarked upon in the MENA region. While the region started implementing green ideas for new buildings with an increasing interest by those seeking international certification, the main global challenge remains in transforming existing buildings. With the current decline in demand for new construction globally, shifting the emphasis to renovating existing buildings is expected but has yet to be effective.

What does EmiratesGBC do to further raise awareness about the importance of green building practices in the UAE?

Emirates Green Building Council is taking focused efforts to strengthen further awareness of the concept. Through regular events held every month including networking events, seminars, workshops and participation in exhibitions, the Council shares knowledge and information on sustainable built environments with a particular focus on the professional building industry. The Council has been serving as an effective platform integrating different disciplines related to the entire building supply chain, including financial and legal institutions, developers, planners, designers, consultants, contractors and operations and facility management. Furthermore, EmiratesGBC is in constant dialogue with various federal and local authorities, municipalities, utility providers and the leading consultants and engineering firms in UAE, all of whom play a significant role in defining the standards of buildings in the UAE and Gulf region.

What role can green building practices play as energy demand rises throughout the country, particular throughout the peak summer demand period?

Through the inclusion of measures that drive energy efficiency, green building practices can help in effectively managing the peak summer demand. Green buildings with smart lighting solutions and environmentally-friendly design considerations will help bring down energy use, even during summer.

How developed is the adoption of green building practices and technologies in the Middle East?

EmiratesGBC has been a pioneer in promoting green buildings in the Gulf and has assisted other countries in the Middle East to establish their own green building councils. The World GBC MENA Network consists of 13 GBC’s, most of which have formed over the last 2 years. The region is gradually adopting practices of green buildings in their new building designs as many seminars and conferences are being held at most countries within the region showcasing successful green projects. Many of these events also included exhibitions introducing latest green technologies, and a gradual shift in the private sector towards the introduction of such new technologies from developed countries and other emerging markets is apparent. For example, manufacturing of various renewable energy and energy efficient technologies such as solar power and water recycling equipment has already begun in many of the 13 countries. Furthermore, local markets have seen a noticeable transformation towards the use of more environmentally friendly construction materials. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon have begun to take the initial steps towards creating their own specific green building standards, whilst simultaneously the number of buildings being registered for LEED certification continues to increase with nearly 700 buildings from the MENA region registered. Click here to see for a complete directory of LEED projects

What are the emerging trends in green building construction in the Middle East?

Innovative architectural designs have become the concept desired for new iconic buildings in the MENA region. While many of these buildings are incorporating important principles of sustainability and green solutions, this trend has somewhat diverted from the local culture of architecture.

Energy audits have become an accepted practice for new designs as architects and engineers are obliged to satisfy energy requirements as per the relevant rating system. Thus, more attention has been given lately to the building envelope resulting in improved insulation and more energy efficient buildings, as compared to mainly glazed façades.  Advanced solutions for the air-conditioning systems are gradually introduced and this important element of the buildings in the Middle East is becoming more efficient. Examples are such as use of district cooling, water cooled chillers are used more often, while heat recovery equipments and heat pumps are other ways that are being utilized. Building management systems and controls has developed a good market, especially in the last few years. In limited cases, geothermal energy has also been used to compliment the AC design efficiency. Use of efficient lights is spreading in the region and in most new buildings water efficiency has been easily adopted with trends to utilize recycled water for landscaping. It is also noted that the above has been implemented in some existing buildings as well. On the other hand, new materials that are environmentally friendly such as paints, flooring and timber have also been introduced but the price factor has yet to become encouraging. A similar story can be told with regards to renewable technologies, with implementation of solar PV cells still yet to be introduced on a large scale.

What is the future for green buildings in the Middle East over the coming years?

It is apparent that the region is heading towards better appreciation for the need to have more efficient buildings in order to conserve energy in the region. There are serious investments in infrastructure projects with emphasis on mass transit systems which will help to improve the efficiency of urban developments in the Middle East. With increasing knowledge and awareness regarding the advantages of green buildings, there are definitive trends by concerned authorities throughout the MENA region to improve building performances. Resultantly, new standards are increasingly being developed in different countries across the region. Overall, EmiratesGBC believes the movement towards embracing sustainable developments in the region is inevitable, which in turn will lead to having more green buildings throughout the MENA region. In the coming years, the trend of energy efficient buildings is likely to be the feature of new developments within the MENA region, with some green standards for new buildings likely to become mandatory in many countries.

What green building codes and assessment tools exist in the UAE and which ones do you promote?

There are a variety of green building codes and assessment tools present in the UAE today. As an independent forum, EmiratesGBC encourages and promotes the implementation of green building policies and regulations, whilst the enforcement of these regulations is the responsibility of other concerned authorities. More information on existing building assessment tools can be found here.

Are you the official green building rating agency for Dubai?

EmiratesGBC is an independent forum that encourages and promotes the green building and sustainability concept. We will contribute our ideas and suggestions to governmental agencies and organisations working towards a green built environment in the United Arab Emirates.  EmiratesGBC is not a certifying body and the existing green building rating systems are certified through their respective ownership.

What is an Ecological footprint?

‘Ecological footprint’ refers to the human demand on the Earth’s ecosystems required by a population to produce the goods and services required to support a particular lifestyle.

Do you have an estimate of the ecological footprint of the UAE?

One of the key challenges outlined by the UAE Government is to reduce the country’s ecological footprint and drive sustainable growth. Today, the UAE ranks high globally in terms of the ecological footprint, thus developing sustainable built environments is imperative in addressing this challenge. EmiratesGBC is focused on driving sustainable development by boosting energy efficiency and promoting the construction of a sustainable built environment throughout the country.  EmiratesGBC supports the UAE Ecological Footprint Initiative.

How can I get more involved in EmiratesGBC?

There are a variety of ways in which you can get involved in the work we promote at EmiratesGBC, including becoming a member, attending and/or sponsoring events, participating in a working group, and becoming a volunteer.

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