A long road ahead
The pace and scale of development in the UAE is forcing the EGBC to catch up quickly.
The Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC), working in conjunction with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), has been developing a modified version of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for use in the UAE environment.
In order to be mindful of UAE-specific factors like water scarcity and severity of climate, the EGBC is currently in the process of devising a Building Sustainability Assessment Tool (BSAT) that, once finished, will apply specifically to the UAE yet remain globally congruent.
The EGBC has taken little more than a year to develop its own BSAT and get through three phases of the four-phase strategy. Phase One, which included an evaluation of existing BSATs around the world, took place in October 2006.
Existing BSATs included the Australian Green Star; the Hong Kong BEAM and the USA LEED. At the same time, in an effort to form the agenda for future revisions, members were asked to consider the five most important issues to address in the UAE.
Phase One saw the council agree to a modified version of the US LEED tool, Phase Two, which was held in April 2007, was used to decide which portions would be retained, which would be modified, which would be deleted and which would be added to make it UAE-specific.
Also during Phase Two, sub-committees were each asked to examine a separate section of LEED US and recommend modifications to be implemented in the EGBC. The sub-committee proposals also formed the basis for the submission to the USGBC for approval in the UAE.
Phase Three, held in May/June 2007, saw each sub-committee discuss whether to agree to the recommendations of the USGBC and whether or not further research would be required. The outcome of Phase Three was an agreement to the revised system for submission to the USGBC.
At the time of writing, the EGBC is embarking on Phase Four under the modified USGBC system. The EGBC is currently calling for projects to be nominated for the Pilot Scheme, which will focus on a maximum of 25 projects and will, ideally, represent a variety of projects to fully test the model. The aim of the Pilot Scheme is to obtain the widest feedback from the UAE industry to ensure suitability for the region and congruence internationally.
Call for submissions
The EGBC has prepared a submission packet that includes a Prequalification, General Acceptance Criteria and Outline Execution Process, which is available for those wishing to propose their project for the Pilot Scheme.
In an effort to achieve the widest possible range of projects, the EGBC will institute its own selection procedure that will produce 25 front-runners after all submissions have been received.
The EGBC will review the submission documentation and collaborate with the submission design team to ensure it complies with the relevant criteria. The EGBC will then submit the application to LEED in the USA for them to review and certify.
Concurrently, EGBC will review the design team's submission against the LEED Emirates policy where, if accepted, the project will be certified under both LEED US and LEED Emirates.
While the EGBC has worked hard over the last 13 months to develop an internationally congruent BSAT, unfortunately, its work has just begun.
The EGBC's major challenge includes finding a way to emphasise region-specific factors and getting the rest of the world to support its system. Put simply, a Gold LEED certification in Abu Dhabi, for example, needs to equal a Gold LEED certification in New York City, Tokyo or Mumbai.
If this level of congruence is not achieved, the integrity of the UAE's BSAT as well as the mandate of the EGBC will inevitably come under scrutiny.
The LEED green building rating system
- Sustainable sites: erosion and Sedimentation Control; Site Selection; Urban Redevelopment.
- Water efficiency: water Efficient Landscaping; Innovative Wastewater Technologies; Water Use Reduction.
- Energy and atmosphere: fundamental Building Systems Commissioning; Minimum Energy Performance; CFC Reduction in HVAC Equipment; Renewable Energy.
- Materials and resources: storage and Collection of Recyclables; Building Reuse, Maintain 75% of Existing Shell; Construction Waste Management.
- Indoor environmental quality: minimum IAQ Performance; Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Control; Ventilation Effectiveness; Low-Emitting Materials, Adhesives & Sealants.
- Innovation and design process: innovations in Design, Provide LEED Accredited Professional.
Source: associated Green Contractors of America