Blazing the trail

Abu Dhabi unveils new sustainable building measurement tool.

The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC)-in conjunction with the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), Abu Dhabi Municipality, Masdar, Aldar and Sorouh-have announced a new programme to ensure sustainability in design, operation and maintenance of new buildings and developments.

Translated as Sustainability' in Arabic, 'Estidama' is the namesake of the Estidama New Buildings (ENB) measurement tool, which is the first of its kind to be specifically formulated for a Middle Eastern context.

"The EAD aims for sustainable development to be the driving force behind any development efforts in the emirate of Abu Dhabi," said Majed Al Mansouri, general secretary of the EAD. "This can only happen through partnerships, transparency and good governance. Through green building designs, we can minimize our contribution and impact and set a practical example for business and the community."

Pre-empting the creation of the much-anticipated EmiratesLEED measurement tool, which is aiming to align itself with the guidelines of the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the ENB is an Arab-led initiative to transform Abu Dhabi into a completely sustainable emirate.

ENB was created in large part to ensure architecture and urban development in Abu Dhabi remains consistent with the principles of the emirate's Plan 2030.

Phase One of the ENB design guidelines identified water, energy use, indoor environmental quality, ecology, management, transport, pollution, materials, waste management and land use, as the ten most important elements of sustainability.

The ENB guidelines are expected to become formal regulations over the coming months and will be introduced to architects, engineers and developers via a large-scale education and awareness campaign by the UPC.

"Estidama is the cornerstone of our sustainability efforts, and we are extremely proud to be working with developers and other government departments across the emirate to make it a success,"said Falah Al Ahbabi, general manager of the UPC.

According to Juma'a Al Juneibi, general manager of the Abu Dhabi Municipality, several major Abu Dhabi developers have set the benchmark by implementing ENB guidelines in their projects already.

"These [projects] will provide inspiration for others to put sustainability at the heart of their developments," she said.

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