New EGBC chair appointed

Ali bin Towaih has been appointed as chair of the Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC) for 2008-09.

Ali bin Towaih has been appointed as chair of the Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC) for 2008-09.

Bin Towaih succeeds Dr Sadek Owainati in the role with immediate effect following a nomination process involving the EGBC management committee and officers.

The holders of the other management committee roles remain as in the 2007-08 period.

One of the major changes Towaih plans to oversee in his role as EGBC chair is the introduction of permanent staff for the council. "That has been one of the main obstacles with going forward...we are working on having permanent staff who can take over the day-to-day operations,"? he revealed.

Currently the EGBC is staffed on a voluntary basis, with those on all committees employed full-time with other firms. Towaih himself is director of Tecom's Sustainable Energy and Environment Division (SEED).

With increasing governmental pressure for green buildings, the EGBC has the potential to be the "industry voice"? stressed Towaih. "The Council is becoming a consortium of all the industry. It has very big potential and a vision of promoting green buildings across the UAE,"? he stated. "We are working on how we can enhance the EGBC and its mission...We are seeing many drives towards green building from the Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Federal governments, so we are working on how we can be the neutral element in all of these and promote them all right,"he added. He revealed that in addition to supporting a number of relevant forthcoming conferences within the region, the EGBC is currently considering staging such an event.

Meanwhile it has been revealed that plans to run a pilot scheme to trial the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system devised by the EGBC have been shelved. Jeff Willis, co-ordinator of the EGBC technical and award sub-committee revealed: "We contacted a lot of different people and asked them [about piloting the system]. Many responded interested, but when we gave them the details nobody came back and said that they wanted to do a pilot."

Moves by the US GBC to introduce a UAE specific version of LEED added to the decision to drop the pilot scheme. "They announced that they...will be having a specific system that applies to the UAE and will be using our credit system in this...so there was no longer any point in us doing [the pilot scheme],"? added Willis. The new version is expected to be available in January 2009.

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