Dubai Chamber bags LEED certification

Water and energy consumption reduced by 77% and 47% respectively

Dubai Chamber of Commerce has been retrofitted to achieve LEED certification.
Dubai Chamber of Commerce has been retrofitted to achieve LEED certification.

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An official plaque-unveiling ceremony has been held at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry to highlight its new LEED certification.

The unveiling took place in the presence of HE Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, the UAE Minister of Environment and Water. The certification makes the Chamber the first existing commercial LEED building in the region, and one of only four outside the US and Canada.

Besides the Minister, the high-profile ceremony was attended by HE Eng Hamad Buamim, director general, Dubai Chamber; Jeff Willis, chairman of the Emirates Green Building Council; government officials, representatives of the various business groups, councils and companies; as well as experts in sustainable initiatives and the media.

“This achievement demonstrates the Dubai Chamber’s commitment to the strategic vision of our leaders towards environmental sustainability. It also demonstrates the Chamber’s commitment to conserving resources and implementing best practices, and reinforces our strategic objectives of creating a favourable business environment for the Emirate, supporting the development of business and promoting Dubai as an international business hub,” said Buamin.

The Dubai Chamber’s efforts to go green started more than ten years ago, during a time when environmental responsibility was not fashionable or expected, led by the Chamber’s green building team, which worked on a number of energy- and water-saving initiatives in the region.

The Dubai Chamber has succeeded in reducing water and energy consumption by about 77% and 47% respectively between 1998 and 2008, leading to significant carbon emission reductions and accumulated power savings of around AED7.1 million.

“We have demonstrated that environmental responsibility is good for business, it saves money, enhances efficiency, and demonstrates good citizenship. We hope that our members will adopt many of the initiatives we have undertaken which will enhance efficiency, save them money and allow them to contribute towards building a stronger nation,” said Buamim.

Steps taken include capturing the humidity through the air-con system as condensate water to use in the fountain and toilet system, saving 0.85 million litres of water a year, adjusting lift weighting loads to decrease energy consumption by 20%, reusing municipal grey water for landscaping and the toilet system, and providing VIP parking for staff and free valet parking for visitors using fuel-efficient vehicles.

The Chamber’s 18-storey building joined the ranks of 204 buildings in Canada and the US, as well as three other buildings in India and Sri Lanka, in achieving the LEED existing building certification, an internationally-recognised green building standard set by the US Green Building Council. It is the first in the region to demonstrate that even existing older buildings can be improved significantly for the benefit of the environment, building users, operators and the broader community.

In 2009, the Dubai Chamber was awarded the gold prize in the Green Buildings Category of the Dubai Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) award from Trakhees-Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation (PCFC). It also received two certificates of appreciation from DEWA for energy and water conservation efforts.

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