What Makes the UAE a Green Leader?

The UAE is once again demonstrating its potential for progress and innovation, as it has been named to the U.S. Green Building Council’s list of Top 10 Markets for Green Building. The list incorporates 10 of the best places for companies to build structures that meet standards for sustainable, eco-friendly construction.  According to the USGBC, the UAE comes in as the country with the 8th-largest quantity of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified buildings. In total, the nation has 3.1 million square feet of LEED-certified building space.

The UAE also ranks 5th in terms of the largest number of LEED-certified projects with nearly 1000 green construction projects. Like others in the UAE, frequent traveler and UAE culture enthusiast Hussain al Nowais sees this ranking as a touchstone moment for the UAE’s future as an international leader in sustainability.  Not only will the UAE’s effort to embrace green building benefit its immediate environment and that of the larger region, it’s also a highly-effective economic initiative because it will attract environmentally-conscious businesses from around the world. Al Nowais hopes that the UAE’s pursuit of green building will inspire other countries in the region to follow suit.

While the UAE has implemented the United States’ LEED criteria as a standard for green building, it has also taken the initiative to develop its own set of criteria, such as its Green Building Regulations and Estidama standards.

The Emirates Green Building Council, formed in 2006, is a major player in the UAE’s green building movement, and has just recently released a first set of technical guidelines for retrofitting existing buildings to meet green standards. The group notes that the guidelines are a part of the UAE government’s Vision2021 national agenda, which features a number of other green areas of focus, including:

  • Green Energy
  • Green Investment
  • Green Cities
  • Green Living
  • Green Technologies
  • Climate Change

The UAE was also one of the 190 nations that agreed at the United Nations Rio +20 Summit that green growth via a “green economy” is the key to facilitating economic growth while ensuring that ecosystems remain in place.

With such a strong focus on sustainability, the UAE is certain to become a global leader in green initiatives.