Green building Revolution in UAE
Eng. Mustafa Khalifa
16 February, 2008
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) consists of the seven small emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al-Qaiwain, and Fujairah, which were united as a federal state on 2 December 1971.
Before the establishment of the oil economy in the early 1960s, two main forms of traditional Emirati culture: the nomadic desert-oriented Bedouins with small oasis farming within the broader context of the desert economy and culture, and the sea-oriented culture that revolved around pearling and sea trading. These subcultures were economically, politically, and socially interdependent, creating a common culture and social identity.
The UAE shares significant aspects of its culture with neighboring Arab countries and the whole Arab culture.
UAE Urbanization development
Before 1960, the only settlements were small towns and villages. Oil resources have enabled massive modernization. Towns have been transformed from mud-walled communities into commercial capitals integrated in the global economy. Because of the small population and harsh desert interior, 80 percent of the population lives in the coastal capital cities, leading social scientists to describe them as city-states.
Urbanization in UAE has been characterized by incomparable growth. UAE cities have been heavily influenced by the global city type. Dominant urban features include skyscrapers in the commercial city centers, multistory residential buildings, large shopping malls, wide boulevards, an extensive network of highways, and sprawling new suburbs.
Impacts of Urbanization
Such mega-urban development trends have a major consequence on level of energy consumption and its impact on the urban environment. Therefore, UAE building practices should be analyzed and evaluated in term of Sustainability.
Now a day, United Arab Emirates has become among the biggest per capita air polluters. It has been listed as one of the nations that have a higher per capita fossil fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emission. Also, because of increasing tourist's movement and the average population growth, the public demands on natural resources have also increased in term of water and energy consumption, in addition, to herculean production of wastes. The economic development of UAE could not have been achieved without increasing the size of its carbon footprint. Although, UAE started to be concerned about diversify its economic resources, the entire country and precisely Dubai is still essentially a fossil-fuel economy. According to the World Wildlife Fund, Dubai has the second-highest per capita carbon emissions in the world. Environmental Buildings and Sustainability
In the pervious times, building-design has been adapted to the harmony with the natural environment while in the modern times environmentally-friendly solutions emerge to lighten human’s activities and damages on the natural environment and reduce the over-consumption. The main goals of environmentally-friendly urban projects are saving natural resources and reducing pollution.
Since the 1970s, many events on sustainability have addressed the significance of the building-design’s role on reducing the environmental problems of a specific building or development: - After the oil crisis in 1973, the reduction of energy consumption by the building sector has been introduced. - After the emerging of “sick building syndrome” in the 1980s, the building sector should take into account a study of “healthy building” techniques. - After the Rio Conference on the development of the concept of sustainable development in 1992, the building sector has a key role in understanding such concept and its implications. - After the climate debate and the Kyoto protocol in 1997, the building sector has to reduce greenhouse gases emissions. - The building sector...
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