Saa'fat Dubai's Green Vision

H.E. Eng. Abdullah Rafee
Assistant Director General for Engineering and planning Sector - Dubai Municipality
Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Dubai achievements have been undoubtedly fascinating. It has grabbed the world's attention with most astonishing story of transformation starting from a barren desert to constructing the world's tallest building and I am sure the best is yet to come. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid AL Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE Ruler of Dubai, the mind behind the masterpiece of Dubai, has encouraged creating a healthy and sustainable development, which is all about achieving a balance between economic development and environmental protection .

His vision has led to the creation of Dubai's Green Building regulations and Specification project, which is considered to be one of the most important legislation to be adopting by the government for protecting the environment, its natural resources as well as for ensuring the health and welfare of the people . The regulations were written after extensively researching and studying several international green building rating systems and adopting only those that suit the UAE ‘s environment economy and culture.

Dubai's Green Building Regulations and Specifications, which are now available on the Dubai Municipality website encourages all developers to build toward a greener tomorrow, safeguarding future generations and at the same time not having a negative impact on the occupant's health. It addresses different aspects of green building design, starting from ecology planning, building vitality, recourses effectiveness in energy, water and material and waste management. Dubai has included the environment as part of its general strategic plan-which includes a number of sub-plans ,initiatives and projects that aims to improve the environmental conditions in the emirate and reduce the energy consumption by 30% within 2030.

Hence in January 2011, as a first step towards implementing the strategy, Dubai Municipality made the green Building Regulations and specification mandatory for governmental buildings and voluntary for private ones. As of March 2014, when a total of 44 green governmental building had been constructed, the Dubai municipality took the second step towards implementing the strategy ,and made the regulations mandatory for all new building. Within five months, by July 31, 2014, a total of 413 new building received green permits. The key targets of Dubai's Green Building Regulations are to reduce the consumption of water and electricity, and reduce waste and CO2 emissions. This will be accompanied by a reasonable and controlled increment in costs, however future plans aim to completely prevent any additional costs vis-à-vis traditional projects. Further, to encourage the community to be a part of the green building society and to go beyond the regulations and toward a greener future, Dubai Municipality is currently developing a new green building system called Saa'fat which will have a huge impact on new construction in Dubai.

There are also several books on green building that have been published by the Building Department at Dubai Municipality, which you can find online. The Green Building and Specifications book, which covers the regulation, is one first books to be published along with the Green Building Regulations and Specifications: Practice guide, which explains in depth how the implement them.

Our third publication in the Green House book, which presents examples of how to apply the regulation in residential building so as to reduce energy consumption and produce a healthier environment. The last publication is The Green Materials Guide, which is our approved list of green materials and their suppliers.

Meanwhile, Cement in one of major components of reinforced concrete, however it can be harmful to the environment due its high carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and other toxic substances released during manufacturing Many extensive research on ecofriendly cement ,its advantages and disadvantage. We concluded that it should replace ordinary cement which is widely used nowadays. It has been scientifically proven that manufacturing 1 ton of typical cement produces 1.1 tons of CO2, about 164 kg of dust and emits other poisonous substances which contributes to global warming increases respiratory diseases such as asthma, pulmonary ossifications and lung cencer, and causes kidney failure. Moreover, cement factories produce about 50% of all the CO2 released from factories.

Many internationally –used cement alternatives were reviewed and it turned out that many developed countries have already began using it. This is because it helps not only preserving the environment and reducing emissions ,but also improves the durability of concrete. Several scientific research centers after theoretical and practical deliberations ,have recommended using eco-friendly cementations materials.

Fly ash, ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS), silica fume and fiberglass are some of the approved eco-friendly cementations materials .

Researches who have studied the characteristics that distinguish these eco-friendly cements from Portland cement, say the most important advantages are: improved life of concrete structures, reduced CO2 emissions of up to 80% reduced instances of cracked concrete during the process hydrogenation (in the early hours of casting) and reduced moisture and water permeability in the concrete ,thus reducing the probability of steel corrosion. The green cement also improves thermal to mineral deposit and maintains the concrete's durability against pressure as effectively as Portland cement. Moreover the most popular cementations materials, fly ash and GGBFS, cost the same as or sometimes lesser than Portland cement, and are also easily available in the market.

Green Buildings and green building materials are a vital parts of Dubai's strategic plan to become a green city. The challenges presented by sustainable urban development are huge. Urban planning, transportation infrastructure, quality of life and the use of renewable energy are just few of many strategies we are working on to steer today's urbanization toward sustainability. Green building and green cities are a part of long-term national initiative to build a green economy in the UAE under the slogan: "A green economy for sustainable development"

Through this initiative, the UAE aims to become one of the world leaders in sustainability which becomes a export center of green products and technologies and maintain a sustainable environment to support long-term economic growth. Green Building Regulations and Specification in Dubai are not just about building , it is also about lifestyle of community and how to live healthier. As Dubai municipality ,it is our role to educate the public about why it is important to build green and hoe to live a healthier and greener lifestyle. We, at Dubai Municipality, will continue to strive and work hard to make our city a green one, thereby achieving the wise vision of our leader, His Highness Shiekh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

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