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When the construction industry in the Middle East began to take off several years ago, green buildings were a little slow in getting off the mark. The massive growth and expansion of cities such as Dubai were focused more on other factors such as location and amenities to promote their value.
Now that construction has become more stable, the demand for green buildings within the region has become more significant. Developers are beginning to recognize that buildings need to demonstrate a degree of sustainability to be marketable to an increasingly environment-conscious brand of consumers.
The UAE is considered the leader in green building practices in the region, with 67% of all GCC LEED-rated projects in 2013 being UAE-based. The government’s goal to become a sustainable country, with some emirates releasing green building codes for developers and those in the related fields to adhere to, has perhaps contributed to this.
The rise in the number of green buildings within the region is starting to have a significant impact on the entire construction industry. Its increased demand and popularity is causing an equivalent boost in the demand for eco-friendly products, equipment and building materials. It is creating countless opportunities for suppliers of energy-saving products such as lighting, kitchen and bathroom fittings and fixtures. It has also created a new market for new and diverse building materials which are in line with new building specifications. There have been innovative developments in materials that are sustainable such as biomaterials made from agricultural derivatives like bamboo and sugar cane.
The continued rise in the number of green buildings being built comes as industries and developers realize that the long-term benefits of these outweigh the initial costs. With green buildings costing on an average of 20-25% less to maintain, it seems that the UAE’s goal of making one-third of the buildings in the city to be green within 10 years is both economically sensible and ecologically sound.
• UAE is considered a leader in green building practices in region.
• The ‘green’ trend is boosting demand for eco-friendly materials.
• The long-term benefits of green buildings outweigh initial costs.
Source: Nicholas Baker, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer