Green Council seeks UAE ‘LEED’ standards as Wafi goes for Gold

EGBC aiming for UAE environmental standards, while the first LEED project undergoes a review

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By  Alison Luke Published  October 28, 2006

The Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC) has set up a technical and awards committee with the aim of producing a set of environmental standards specific to the UAE market. The committee is currently undertaking a comparison between the existing benchmarking systems used elsewhere in the world. It’s aim is to facilitate a comprehensive set of benchmarks that are relevant to the UAE environment. Systems being examined include the USA Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Awards; the Alaskan Green Star Awards programme and the Hong Kong Building Environmental Assessment Method (HK-BEAM). The EGBC became a full member of the World Green Building Council during September, only the 8th country in the world to do so. EGBC chair Mohsen Aboulnaga confirmed: “By early next year we expect to have the benchmarking in hand and to start setting up a series of UAE standards. The technical committee is currently auditing buildings and comparing these to LEED, Green Star and HK-BEAM standards.” Meanwhile the owner of the first UAE-based project to achieve a LEED Award from the USA’s Green Building Council has applied to have the status upgraded. The District Cooling Plant One project for Dubai’s Wafi City development was awarded a Silver LEED rating in summer 2006. Built by ETA’s Gulf District Cooling Division and Khansaheb Engineering the 8,100TR plant serves various areas of the Wafi site including the new Raffles hotel and the shopping mall. “For an industrial building, achieving the Silver Award is an accolade,” stated Ron Coulter, building services manager for client MKM Commercial Holdings. “But we found that we were only short of the Gold Award by a few minor points, which were mostly administrative, such as the level of documentation available to prove the sourcing and recyclability of materials. “We’ve since worked on these points and got the documentation together,” he added. The USA Green Building Council is currently considering the status of the Wafi City award and a decision is expected by the end of October. If the appeal is successful this would be the UAE’s first Gold LEED Award.

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