Dubai leads way on sustainability, says expert

Adoption of mandatory codes puts it ahead of developed nations

Knauf Insulation's head of sustainability Vincent Briard on the stage.
Knauf Insulation's head of sustainability Vincent Briard on the stage.

Dubai Municipality's decision to introduce mandatory new green building codes is "showing direction" to most of the developed world, which still relies on voluntary agreements, according to an expert.

Speaking at a conference organised in Dubai last month, Knauf Insulation's head of sustainability, Vincent Briard, said: "My personal opinion is that Dubai Municipality is showing direction for sustainability in new buildings."

He said that although many individual countries have adopted their own standards such as LEED (US),BREEAM (UK), HQE (France) and DGNB (Germany), these are only assessment tools used on a voluntary basis.

"But with the regulation that has just been introduced in Dubai, you have not a voluntary scheme but a mandatory regulation. This is exactly what we as an industry are trying to work with the European Parliament to work in Europe. To go from a rating scheme that is voluntary to a regulation.

"What we want to do is start regulation with minimum performance, which is maybe what the principle is in Dubai but from the conversations I've had it looks like this minimim is quite a high level for a minimum performance, to be honest."

Briard also discussed Knauf's own products, including the firm's Ecosse technology - the first glass wool insulation product to be made which replaced harmful Formaldehyde binders with a greener product made from plant starch.

Knauf is a building materials group with a €6.1bn turnover and more than 25,000 employees worldwide.

Its insulation arm has a turnover of €1.2bn and employs 5,000 people in 35 countries.

It manufactures at 30 sites across the world, including one in Abu Dhabi operated as Exeed Industries, which is part of Abu Dhabi's National Holdings.


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