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Dubai: The focus on new buildings and development projects is not the only way urban planners want to achieve a sustainable city by 2030 – they are also now looking at old buildings and how to turn them green.
“We want to convert 30,000 buildings by 2030, which is about 25 per cent of the 120,000 buildings that we have now. At first, we will select the buildings that use the most energy. First we will target the government buildings so they can lead by example,” said Kamal Mohammad Azayem, coordinator of Dubai Municipality’s Sustainable Committee.
“We have not forgotten about old buildings, or those that were constructed before the mandatory Green Building Code that was implemented on March 1. We are carrying out a study that will be completed by the end of the year and, once it is approved, we will be able to make recommendations to building owners on how to make their buildings green,” he said
Speaking at the Urban Agenda 2020 Conference, held alongside the Outdoor Design, Build and Supply Exhibition, Azayem explained that during their course of research, authorities will look into the best approach on how to insulate old buildings from within as well as outside and the best materials to be used, Azayem pointed out that buildings consume around 75 per cent of power in the city, out of which 70 per cent of that is used to run air conditioners.
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority had earlier announced that it recorded a 3.3 per cent rise in power demand in 2013 as its customer base climbed 4.4 per cent to 652,200. Dewa said the demand for electricity grew to 37,478 gigawatts per hour in 2013 from 36,299GWh in 2012, reaching a growth of 3.24 per cent.
Dubai Municipality is also working on a proposal to set up a rating system for buildings, which is still under review. Buildings will be rated on how green they are, which can then be used as a tool for building owners to rate their buildings and, in turn, have a higher selling price in the market.
Najeeb Mohammad Saleh, Head of Planning Research Section, Planning Department at Dubai Municipality, explained that the steering committee for the Dubai Urban Plan 2020 has implemented a set of rules to ensure all projects do not affect the government’s initiative to achieve a green city.
“We will increase the number of Metro stations and other public modes of transport which will help in reducing the dependency on vehicles and energy consumption. We also want to increase the urban concentration within walking distance to Metro stations at 400 square metres, and adopt a strategy for green buildings for the private and public sector, which includes solar-powered panels and energy-saving light bulbs,” he said.
Source: Mariam M. Al Serkal, Senior Reporter, gulfnews.com