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Going green.

In the UAE there has been a growing awareness about the necessity of going green, and using green design and office principles to achieve that.

Governments have introduced new green building regulations (Estidama in Abu-Dhabi and Green Building Codes in Dubai), developers have a better understanding of the economic benefits of building green and people are keener to adopt a sustainable lifestyle. In fact, the UAE leads the MENA region in the number of registered LEED buildings with 802 LEED-accredited projects against 1,250 for the entire region, according to green fit-out company Summertown.

Despite leading in the region, the country is still behind its western counterparts. At a corporate level, there is little or no legislation in place as yet that forces companies to consider the environment. Private companies that take measures to protect the environment do so voluntarily. Although there has been an increase in awareness regarding both the economic and corporate benefits of being sustainable, investment in education is still lacking - whether that is educating developers, interior designers, architects or end-users - about the economic benefits of being green.

As the UAE continues to invest in more advanced infrastructure development and the population continues to grow, there is an urgent need to manage and ensure equal distribution of natural resources. While newer commercial buildings are set up with sustainable building guidelines, there is a need to refurbish old and existing commercial buildings so that they are energy efficient. The UAE has made great strides in emulating the most advanced sustainable practices, especially in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but it is important to take this to the next level. There is a need to reduce the ever increasing number of cars on the roads by encouraging people to walk shorter distances or take public transport.

This has the dual impact of saving fuel and reducing air pollution. Also, while it is commendable that the city is investing in sustainable building designs and other technological innovations that reduce the environmental impact; there is a need for more green spaces in and around the city.

Environmental sustainability helps preserve natural resource for generations by making the most efficient use of our resources to ensure their sustainability and reduce damage to the environment. With global warming leading to climate change and the population set to grow to nine billion by 2050, sustaining the basic quality of life is increasingly becoming a challenge.

It is important for UAE to integrate sustainable practices in the way people live and work. Organisations and companies have to do their part in keeping the environment and fulfill their social requirements as key platforms for innovation on strategy.

The region ranks high in energy consumption, a resident consumes 8,271 kilogrammes of oil equivalent energy (kgoe) per annum, much lower than some of its neighbours, such as Qatar which has a per capita energy consumption of 12,799 kgoe and 12,204 by the people of Kuwait.

In comparison, the per capita energy consumption in the United Kingdom and the United States are 3,254 kgoe and 7,164 kgoe, respectively while on an average India consumes 566 kgoe per annum. Although oil producing countries has had high per capita energy consumption, Iceland, surprisingly, tops the list with 16,882 kgoe, followed by Trinidad and Tobago with 15,913 kgoe. Data for all the countries have not been updated beyond 2010.

The UAE is the world's seventh biggest energy producer, with proven oil reserves of 97.8 billion barrels - enough to last more than 100 years, if pumped at the current level.

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Publication:CPI Financial
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Mar 5, 2015
Words:607
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