EmiratesGBC Newsletter

A Letter from the Chairman …

EGBC Chairman

A Letter from the Chairman…

Dear Members and Industry Supporters,

As we enter the last month of 2017 and on the occasion of the 46th UAE National Day, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to our new and long-standing members and partners for your continued effort and cooperation in our commitment to a sustainable built environment in the UAE.

Just last month we kicked off a “State of our Schools Roundtable Discussion” which brought together some of UAE’s strongest advocates of green schools, with the aim to produce the first of a series of white papers under the Emirates Coalition for Green Schools initiative.  The success of the Roundtable is an illustration of how our collaborative efforts helps us take bigger steps toward our shared vision for a sustainable UAE. The white paper will be produced later this month, so stay tuned.

Looking ahead, we are pleased to bring to your attention another key flagship event, the 2018 MENA Green Building Awards.  The awards aim to identify and recognise organisations for innovative and outstanding sustainable building principles and practices in the Middle East and North Africa region.  We are proud to announce that this year’s awards are organised in partnership with MENA Green Building CouncilsWe encourage you to submit your application.  

 Last but not least, I urge you to take the time to visit the EmiratesGBC website for more details on our programs and events in order to find out how you can become actively engaged in driving the green building movement in the UAE.


Saeed Al Abbar

EmiratesGBC News and Updates

Members Only: Sustainable Autonomous House Tour

Have you ever wanted to visit the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center? EmiratesGBC is giving members the opportunity on 6 December!  The Sustainable Autonomous House, designed and constructed by Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center engineers, is considered the first of its kind in the region. We will tour the House and explore the innovations that went into building this unique building.

EmiratesGBC Annual General Meeting

Calling all Emirates Green Building Council individual and corporate members. The 2017 Annual General Meeting will take place on December 14th at TIME Oak Hotel and Suites in Barsha Heights from 9:00 – 10:30 am, with registration, starting from 8:30 am. Please join us and bring your thoughts and ideas for new outreach efforts and initiatives. We’ll be recognizing active members and collecting input to feed into our 2018 strategy.  Registration is vital so please confirm your attendance here.

2018 MENA Green Building Awards: New Categories; Applications Open

Organised by Emirates Green Building Council and in partnership with supporting MENA Green Building Councils, the 2018 MENA Green Building Awards has organically grown to accommodate a wider industry with four new categories now introduced to the 2018 Awards:

  • Green Healthcare Building of the Year – includes all buildings, private or public, related to healthcare
  • Green Public Building of the Year – includes government/agencies such as museums, libraries, post offices, airports
  • Sustainable Urban/Community Development Design of the Year – added to highlight the focus to move beyond just looking at buildings to a wider community and therefore city level
  • Training Initiative of the Year – added to recognize the commitment to foster a new generation of professionals for the growing green building sector in the region

Visit the website to see the full list of awards categories.  If you think your company or your projects or products deserve recognition, please refer to the awards website and apply!

2018 Dr Owainati Student Excellence Award – Open for submissions!

The Dr Owainati Student Excellence Award, sponsored by EmiratesGBC Co-Founder Dr Sadek Owainati, targets UAE based students from a recognised university in the United Arab Emirates who have conducted exceptional research work in a subject related to green buildings in the Middle East.

Students are invited to refer to the EmiratesGBC website to see the list of requested documents that need to be submitted by 1st February 2018, the deadline for receiving submissions.  The winner has the chance of being rewarded a cash prize and will be announced alongside the Professional Awards during the Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner taking place in Roda Murooj Downtown Hotel, Dubai on May 9th, 2018.  Contact EmiratesGBC at awards@emiratesgbc.org if you have any questions.

2018 MENA Green Building Awards: Sponsorship Opportunity

Recognising organisations and projects for innovative and outstanding sustainable building principles and practices in the Middle East and North Africa region, the MENA Green Building Awards is looking for committed supporters through sponsorship to help grow the 2018 Awards to be bigger and better than ever. 

In partnership with MENA GBCs such as Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine GBCs, we are looking forward to another successful event and would like to take this opportunity to invite our members and partners to sponsor.  There is an early bird discount on sponsorship packages available until 01 February 2018. 

We encourage you to visit our website to understand more about the awards and our sponsorship packages.

Please also take a look at last year’s awards brief for a comprehensive overview of what the awards entail, as well as to meet the 2017 winners and shortlisted organisations.

Emirates Coalition for Green Schools: Launched on November 19

On November 19th, 2017, Emirates Green Building Council launched the Emirates Coalition for Green Schools, part of the Global Coalition for Green Schools, where some of the UAE’s strongest advocates of green schools were invited to participate in a roundtable discussion to deliberate about the ‘State of Our Schools’.  Stakeholders included government, tertiary level academics, elementary school teachers, education and sustainability-related associations, trade media and the private sector. The session was moderated by Charles Blaschke, Founder and Managing Director of Taka Solutions, EmiratesGBC’s corporate member.

A white paper will be published later this month based on the session’s discourse so keep an eye out for the announcement.

Join the EmiratesGBC Pavilion at Energy Efficiency Expo (WFES 2018)

EmiratesGBC is inviting members of the green building industry to exhibit with us under the EmiratesGBC Pavilion at the Energy Efficiency Expo, co-located with World Future Energy Summit.  EmiratesGBC is a partner of the Energy Efficiency Expo dedicated to promoting energy efficiency across buildings, transportation and manufacturing sectors. The event is hosted by Masdar and is part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, taking place from 15-18 January at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

In order to showcase the green, sustainable and energy-efficient products and solutions for its members, EmiratesGBC is proud to host a dedicated pavilion at the Energy Efficiency Expo. EmiratesGBC corporate members exhibiting within the pavilion are eligible for special rates and benefits and will have access to 30,000+ visitors including Government Authorities, Architects, Building Contractors, Engineers and Consultants.

If you are interested in exhibiting contact Reed Exhibitions at carla.fadel@reedexpo.ae and be sure to let them know you are an EmiratesGBC Corporate Member.

BRT Program: Success of the Dubai Session & Upcoming 2018 Calendar

EmiratesGBC conducted its last Building Retrofit Training (BRT) Level I course on November 16th in Dubai.  The course provides the fundamentals of retrofit through bridging the knowledge-gap regarding best practices for retrofitting.  The programme has been structured based on the EmiratesGBC Technical Guidelines for Retrofitting Existing Buildings, of which a free copy is offered with each course registration.

EmiratesGBC will soon be announcing the launch of BRT Level II, an advanced version of the programme tailored to engineers and professionals already involved in the retrofitting and green buildings market.

Please visit our website for further information on the BRT Programme and to register your participation in the upcoming courses. Follow us on social media (FB, Twitter & LinkedIn) and stay updated as we announce the new BRT course calendar for 2018.

The BRT Programme is in partnership with the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company).

BEA Benchmarking Project – Call for Participation and Call for Sponsors

IMAGE BEA Benchmakring Tool features

We are pleased to invite Hotels, Shopping Malls and Schools in Dubai to participate in the Benchmarking Project carried out in a partnership with Dubai’s commitment to the Building Efficiency Accelerator, a global initiative under the United Nations program Sustainable Energy for All “SE4All”, in which EmiratesGBC is collaborating with the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy.

Under this initiative, we will benchmark at least 100 buildings in three focus groups (Hotels, Schools and Shopping Malls). To participate in this project, contact the EmiratesGBC office at  04-3468244 or send an email with your interest to BEA@emiratesgbc.org.  You can learn more about the Benchmarking Project here.

BEA Sponsorship opportunities are also open, and we invite you to learn more by clicking here or contacting engagement@emiratesgbc.org.

Well Done GBC’s

With Palestine Green Building Council’s guidance and supervision, The Palestinian Museum locates Palestine State on the Green Buildings’ Map through LEED Certificate and project accreditation by the USGBC.

On 13 November 2017, Palestine Green Building Council, presented by Dr Afif Aqel, handed the Palestine Museum Chairman the official Gold LEED certificate to be the first LEED-certified building in Palestine, the first LEED museum in the Middle East, and one of 14 LEED certified museum around the world earning the Golden certificate. The museum design saves about 16% of energy and about 49% of annual water consumption, in addition to other sustainable categories. The building was classified as golden-green with total points of 61 following LEED rating system.

The Museum, in return, honoured Palestine Green Building Council (PalGBC) for their technical efforts and technical support during the design, construction, and operation phases.

Well Done Members

A big congratulation to Corporate Member, Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates for winning the 5-star city hotel award at the Dubai Sustainable Tourism awards.  We salute your efforts for continuously striving to be a leader in sustainability within the UAE hospitality sector.

Your Green Building Tooltips for December 2017!

This month we encourage you to improve your lifestyle by adopting an EmiratesGBC Green Building LifestyleTooltip – “Turn off the AC’s and open windows when the weather outside is good!”

The EmiratesGBC Green Building Tooltips is a rich online platform serving to further educate the industry and community on simple green building practices.   The interactive designs cover three different building typologies, showcasing a home, school and office building.  The initiative is powered by BASF and Legrand, EmiratesGBC board members underlining their commitment to promoting sustainability.

We strongly urge you to visit the Green Building Tooltips on our website to test out this valuable online tool and fulfil your goal of pursuing a greener lifestyle whether it be at home, school or at the office.

EmiratesGBC Technical Workshops – November 2017

Grundfos – Energy Optimization & Retrofit – Pumps

On November 7th, 2017, a Technical Workshop was delivered on Energy Optimization and Retrofitting of Pumps, facilitated by Grundfos, a corporate member of EmiratesGBC. Topics covered included pump fundamentals and characteristics, energy efficiency measures, and potential retrofitting measures. Pumps account for a massive 10% of the world’s electricity consumption and by simply switching to energy efficient pumps, a 40% reduction of that portion can be realized. The savings can reach 60% if smart controls are applied. Achieving energy efficiency does not solely depend on the pump but rather the integration of the entire pumping system.

Clyde & Co – UAE VAT Law – Overview of the new legislation

On November 21s, 2017, a special edition of the Monthly Technical Workshop was delivered on UAE VAT Law. The session provided an overview of the new VAT legistlation and a perspective of the impacts on the construction industry. During the workshop, both facilitators and attendees observed the VAT legislation as a cashflow management matter rather than a cost concern. Understanding the upcoming law and ensuring transparent and full compliance with the requirements should ease the VAT invoicing and reclaiming processes. Until the complete law is announced, business owners are advised to register their companies with the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) as required and mandated.

Academy Feature of the Month

With the advent of VAT in 2018, this month we will be looking at the white paper by Thomson Reuters, Implications of VAT Implementation on the GCC Construction Industry, which discusses the recently announced Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Unified VAT Agreement and its effect on the construction industry. The whitepaper was published as a result of a roundtable hosted in Dubai and brought together both local and regional industry players, providing a platform for them to voice any concerns and gain further clarity from value-added tax (VAT) experts from Deloitte Middle East and Thomson Reuters.

The paper summarizes construction specific VAT rules, which states that all domestic supplies of goods and services are subject to the standard VAT rate of 5 percent unless specifically zero-rated or exempted. Furthermore, there is no specific relief for the construction sector in the UAE VAT laws. Additionally, other construction related VAT rules state real estate-related services will be taxed where the real estate property is located and that the UAE has allowed a tax refund for citizens of member states who are constructing their homes for private use.

To learn more about the upcoming VAT and its effect on the construction industry, click here to read the white paper.


Green Key Spotlight

The EmiratesGBC team is busy reviewing and certifying new and renewing hotels with THE Green Key certification.  The Green Key eco-label is the Largest global ecolabel operating in 56 countries and with 2600+ establishments.  It’s also the lowest cost label on the market due to its operation as a non-governmental, non-commercial, and independent program.

Hotels interested to strengthen their brand by committing to sustainable operations and environmental best practice should consider the Green Key certification. If your hotel is committed to sustainable best practice and interested in becoming Green Key Certified, EmiratesGBC can support you in the journey.  Please contact greenkey@emiratesgbc.org.

EmiratesGBC Technical Guidelines for Retrofitting Existing Buildings

Click here to learn more about how the Technical Guidelines for Retrofitting Existing Buildings can potentially save your facility and/or home millions in utility bills and reduced operational costs.  Copies are available in both English and Arabic for purchase at the EmiratesGBC office.

EmiratesGBC also offers a free copy of the Technical Guidelines, as part of your registration and participation in the Building Retrofit Training Workshop. For more details, please click here to complete registration.

EmiratesGBC in the News


White paper to evaluate schools’ green efforts

White paper on the state of schools in the UAE will be released next month by the Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC), which will reveal where schools stand in terms of being green.

Although, a round table by the EGBC has already revealed that majority of schools in the country need improvement when it comes to being green. Only 75 schools are registered as eco-schools out of the 1,316 school buildings in the UAE and only seven are LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design registered.

Read more

EmiratesGBC showcases ideas of MENA Green Building Award 2017 winners; launches 2018 awards with 4 new categories

Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC), an independent forum aimed at conserving the environment by strengthening and promoting green building practices, hosted the winners of the MENA Green Building Awards 2017 and launched next year’s edition with four additional categories based on industry stakeholder feedback.

At the event held at TIME Oak Hotel & Suites in Barsha Heights, EmiratesGBC brought together the winners of the MENA Green Building Awards 2017 to present their winning ideas and initiatives as part of a knowledge-sharing initiative to promote sustainable built environments.

EmiratesGBC also announced the launch of the MENA Green Building Awards 2018 with four additional categories adding to the existing 15 professional award categories and sub-categories. These awards have been instituted based on the feedback received from various industry stakeholders, and include recognitions for the Green Healthcare Building, Green Public Building, Training Initiative and Sustainable Urban/Community Development Design of the Year.  Read more

Big 5: Five minutes Amit Ahuja, AMCA International

CW: What are AMCA’s priorities in the Middle East for 2018?

AA: AMCA will make an announcement in Q1 2018 about staffing arrangements in the region, and we will continue to host technical seminars in conjunction with ASHRAE. Our chief goal is to increase uptake of the AMCA Certified Ratings Program. We also intend to help regional professionals develop and enforce tighter specifications, and – in collaboration with ASHRAE Falcon and the Emirates Green Building Council (Emirates GBC) – we would like to educate the market about new energy efficiency standards for fans.  Read more

Voices of efficiency: Dubai’s quest to improve energy performance starts with benchmarking

Dubai is blazing a new path for cities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by calling attention to energy consumption in urban buildings and highlighting the lack of data available to benchmark usage rates and measure progress.

In 2016, Dubai joined the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA), a global network of cities led by WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, and proposed a new policy on energy performance labels for existing buildings. The city government launched a pilot project in February 2017, led by the Emirates Green Building Council and Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, to measure the performance of 100 buildings. The World Green Building Council is a delivery partner for the BEA, supporting its Green Building Councils involved in the program.  Read more …

Local News


VAT in UAE: Key facts on real estate

The UAE will start implementing a value added tax (VAT) rate of five per cent from January 1 2018, and businesses in the first phase can start now registering on the website of the Federal Tax Authority (FTA). As the real estate sector affects most expat lives in the UAE, let us take a look at the implications of the new levy on this industry.

What is a supply in relation to real estate?

A supply of real estate may include the sale, lease or giving the right in any real estate.

What is a residential building for VAT purposes?

A residential building is a building or part thereof that is intended and designed for occupation by individuals, and mainly includes buildings which can be occupied by any person as a main place of residence. It does not include:

Read more


Catch them young, teach them to care for the earth

Small, practical changes can make significant difference to the environment in the long run

In October I was invited by the World Green Economy Organization and DEWA to participate in a youth dialogue centred around the topic of whether going green is practical or unrealistic for today’s youth. It was an absolute honour to lend my voice to a topic that is of paramount importance to the rapidly evolving world we live in, and to have an engaged young audience.

The environment is incredibly near and dear to my heart and I have faith that the current surge in the global youth population could radically change economies, unlock the potential of the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, environmental ambassadors and change agents. After all, young people hold the majority stake in world demographics, with nearly 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24 worldwide, according to UN statistics.

Read more

Regional & International News


Global EVRT Launching Longest Electric Vehicle Road Trip In Middle East From World Future Energy Summit 2018

Global EVRT’s second long-distance electric vehicle road trip in the Middle East will launch on January 18, 2018, from Abu Dhabi at the World Future Energy Summit, part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and one of the world’s premier renewable energy conferences.

The road trip will run for 9 days across the UAE and Oman and will include the opening of new electric vehicle charging stations along the route, opening up new roads to electric vehicle owners. This will be the fifth electric vehicle road trip by Global EVRT, following three in Europe and one in the UAE in January of this year. The public can now register to join the adventure, which, as well as enjoying the breathtaking scenery of the two countries, will visit sustainability-focused site visits along the way.

Read more …

GCC and EU experts share policies, practices for energy efficiency and cooling technologies

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 2: The Kuwait Society of Engineers (KSE) and the EU-GCC Clean Energy Technology Network organised a two-day high level workshop and training on energy efficiency and cooling technologies, held at the KSE premises. The event was held under the patronage of the Minister of Oil and the Minister of Electricity and Water, Essam Al Marzouq, and was organised in association with the College of Technological Studies — PAAET.

The aim of the event was to foster partnerships by bringing together high-level stakeholders from the European Union (EU) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to discuss Energy Efficiency and Cooling Technologies suitable for the region, exchange best practices and lessons learned and advance collaboration between EU and GCC actors.  Read more …

Cazza Taking 3D Printing To Towering Heights, Literally

NASA are holding a $2.5 million competition to build a 3D printed habitat for deep space exploration, including the agency’s journey to Mars. This pales in comparison with what Cazza, the Silicon Valley company behind innovative 3D printing systems, is trying to achieve here on earth: The world’s first 3D printed high rise.  Read more …

WorldGBC comes home to Toronto, Canada, in June, for Congress 2018

WorldGBC is delighted to announce that its Congress 2018 will be held in Toronto, Canada – the birthplace of the organisation – in partnership with the Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC) Building Lasting Change conference.

Taking place from 3 to 7 June, the event – titled “Building Lasting Change with WorldGBC Congress Canada” – will combine CaGBC’s conference with a WorldGBC International Stream, and WorldGBC’s annual Members’ Day and related events such as its Board, Corporate Advisory Board, and Established GBC CEO Network meetings.

WorldGBC will lead the ‘International Stream: Insights from the World’s Green Building Leaders and Experts’, which will feature a number of sessions including approaches and projects for net zero carbon buildings; major trends in urban planning with inspiration from the world’s cutting-edge cities; and groundbreaking insights into green building and health, wellbeing and productivity, generated from case studies from around the world.  Read more …

COP23: What does the Bonn climate summit mean for sustainability professionals?

As delegates from almost every nation arrive in Bonn to discuss the ways to prevent rising global temperatures from reaching catastrophic levels, edie takes a closer look at how developments at the UN climate summit could affect sustainability teams and their efforts to accelerate the shift towards low-carbon, resource-efficient business models.

Thousands of representatives from 195 countries are gathered in Bonn from November 6-17 to work on a “rule book” for implementation of the Paris Agreement. Essentially, the summit is expected to lay the groundwork for the rules and guidelines which will need to be established by each country before December 2018’s COP24 summit in Katowice, Poland. The summit is being chaired by Fiji, the first time that a small island nation will be at the helm of a major international climate conference.

Major talking points will centre around the need for international standards to measure carbon emissions and ensure that each nation’s efforts can be compared against each other. Bonn also provides a timely opportunity for countries to take stock, reaffirm commitments made in Paris two years ago and set new, more ambitious goals for curbing carbon emissions after 2020.

Read more …

Light pollution: Night being lost in many countries

A study of pictures of Earth by night has revealed that artificial light is growing brighter and more extensive every year.

Between 2012 and 2016, the planet’s artificially lit outdoor area grew by more than 2% per year.

Scientists say a “loss of night” in many countries is having negative consequences for “flora, fauna, and human well-being”.

A team published the findings in the journal Science Advances.

Their study used data from a Nasa satellite radiometer – a device designed specifically to measure the brightness of night-time light.

It showed that changes in brightness over time varied greatly by country. Some of the world’s “brightest nations”, such as the US and Spain, remained the same. Most nations in South America, Africa and Asia grew brighter.  Read more …