More than a decade ago, in January 2012, in keeping with the United Arab Emirates’ ability to anticipate the needs of its people and the world well in advance, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and First UAE Minister and Ruler of Dubai has launched a long-term national initiative to build the country’s green economy.

With the slogan A Green Economy for Sustainable Development fueling the initiative, the UAE today is doing what it takes to be a world leader in this field and become a center for the export and re-export of products and green technologies, while helping maintain a sustainable environment to support long-term economic growth. But what does all this have to do, you might wonder, with the country’s booming property sector? Obviously, a lot.

Last month, in a major announcement from Abu Dhabi-based Aldar Properties, reported by WAM, the property management and investment company pledged to invest 25 million dirhams for energy renovation projects in 13 of its residential communities. The move is expected to reduce utility consumption for landlords and tenants as part of the company’s efforts to make its communities more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

Reduce carbon footprint

Aldar’s investment will offset 19,000 tCO2 per year and reduce utility consumption by a total of Dh 12 million per year across the 13 communities. The plan was developed in conjunction with the communities’ homeowner associations, which are managed by Provis, Aldar’s property management company. Grfn acts as the energy project management company, while Siemens will carry out the renovation project.

Considered a first-of-its-kind initiative by an Abu Dhabi developer, the company’s investment in its communities comes on top of the announced ambitious portfolio-wide energy management project in early 2022. The project will improve efficiency across a range of Aldar Hotels, schools, commercial, leisure, retail and residential buildings.

Commenting on the project, Greg Fewer, Aldar’s Director of Finance and Sustainability, said: “The commitment we have made to reducing the energy consumption of our residential communities reflects the pioneering role we have played in the real estate sector in the region to reduce our carbon footprint. . This project is special because its innovative structure allows for large capital investments in community assets while reducing energy consumption, carbon footprint and community service costs at the same time. We pride ourselves on our team’s ability to plan and execute true win-win solutions that drive our industry forward and add tangible value to owners within Aldar-managed communities.

Aldar’s broader energy management initiative announced in January is expected to reduce consumption by 20% and support the company’s efforts to align its sustainability practices with long-term carbon reduction goals. term of the United Arab Emirates. The renovation project is a key step in the company-wide decarbonization journey to net zero – it will reduce carbon emissions by 80,000 tonnes, electricity consumption by 110 GWh, energy consumption by water of 886,000 m3 and gas consumption of 726,000 m3 per year.

Pioneering role

In Dubai too, the push for green by its real estate sector is seeing excellent synergy between government and commercial actors through initiatives such as the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan. The initiative is expected to maximize the country’s resources with a set of goals, including one involving the growth of green space in the emirate by more than 100%. The industry’s push for green solutions started much earlier, even before the launch of the UAE’s green economy campaign, when Dubai launched its Green Building Regulations and Specifications project in 2011, providing for the need for sustainable sectoral growth.

Haider Tuaima, director and head of property research at international consultancy group ValuStrat, links the initiative to the role of the property sector in supporting Dubai and the UAE’s push towards a green economy. “The Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications Project, introduced by Dubai Municipality in 2011, is a strategy to balance economic development and environmental protection.

“Originally only mandatory for government buildings, three years later the regulations became mandatory for all new buildings in Dubai. The main objectives included sustainable solutions to reduce energy and water consumption and recycle waste.

However, opting for green solutions in any development could come at a higher cost, Tuaima adds. For example, installing solar panels and batteries to store energy has a high initial cost. “However, it can be seen as an investment towards lower energy consumption in the long term. The good news is that with increasing occupant demand for sustainable buildings resulting in improved rents and capital value , vendors continue to innovate and cut costs due to increased competition, helping to drive the global green building movement into the future.

In fact, sustainability has always been one of the key elements in Dubai’s rise as a cosmopolitan haven, says Andrew Cummings, Partner, Head of Prime Residential at Global Consultants, Knight Frank Middle East.

Sustainable site development

“Indeed, Dubai’s focus on non-oil revenue has been a key part of the UAE’s own sustainable development efforts. With a booming population set to nearly double over the next 20 years, the city has recently made significant inroads into sustainable real estate.

Agreeing with Tuaima on the aspect of innovation within Dubai’s property sector to create momentum in sustainable building solutions, Cummings says: “Sustainability has gained popularity in the commercial sector, for example with the ecological rating system. This tier system ranks buildings based on factors such as the site’s sustainability and the use of alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power, etc. boost green spaces by 100% and also contribute to the UAE’s ambition of Net Zero by 2050.”

In the residential space, Sustainable City was Dubai’s first zero-energy development, says Cummings, while planned communities like Al Barari and Tilal Al Ghaf have placed particular emphasis on sustainability in the luxury market. Developers such as the Green Group have also spearheaded green living by harnessing solar power in their flagship Signature Living projects at JVC, he adds.

Finally, the future of life is undeniably linked to a green and sustainable home for all. Hailing Dubai and the UAE’s role in promoting sustainable growth while alluding to developments ahead, Cummings said: “With an ever-increasing population, an overhaul of traditional property development is inevitable in a city. and for a nation that embraces sustainable change and diversity.

– With the contribution of agencies