The Dubai Municipality has announced the launch of a new green rating system – Al Safat – which translates into date palm fronds in Arabic and also refers to the traditional Arabic system of using palm fronds as roofing to keep the interior cool.
The new rating system will focus on the life cycle of the building and other key factors including increased efficiency, reduced energy and water consumption, use of environment-friendly materials, renewable energy characteristics, alternative energy sources and construction design to reduce their energy usage by upto 34%.
With this new buildings across Dubai will now be rated on the execution of green building standards. New projects that do not adhere to the lowest bronze rating will not be eligible for building permits.
Making the announcement recently, the Director General of Dubai Municipality, Hussain Nasser Lootah stated that the move was in keeping with Dubai’s ambition of transforming into a smart, sustainable city by 2021.
The new Al Safat rating system hopes to reduce the consumption of electricity by 20%, water consumption by 15%, carbon dioxide emissions by 20%, and waste by as much as 50%.
The initiative also hopes to achieve its objective of ensuring human and environmental health by enabling the development of high-performance buildings. This he said would be achieved by strengthening the planning, design, execution and operational stages of new buildings.
As per the details made available, the new system is divided into four main categories – platinum, gold, silver and bronze. While adherence to the higher ratings has been kept optional, every new project will have to qualify for the lowest bronze category in order to obtain the required permits from the Municipality.
This rule will be applicable to all under-construction buildings taking which have applied for permits from September 1 and also to those constructed since Dubai implemented its compulsory Green Building code in 2014. Projects with existing green certifications will also have to re-apply for a rating certificate.
Appealing to building developers, owners and investors to apply for additional qualifying elements to improve their rating, Lootah further revealed that the new rating system would apply to all categories of buildings including residential, commercial and industrial facilities.
With regard to older buildings, Lootah said that the municipality was mulling over a strategy of refitting them with eco-friendly and sustainable equipment to reduce their carbon footprint.
As a result of this initiative the Dubai Municipality hopes to reduce carbon dioxide emission by a whopping 7.3 mn tonnes over the next five years, which is equivalent to planting approx 36 mn trees.
As per available data, over 90% buildings in Dubai constructed post-2001 are already eligible to qualify for Al Safat bronze certification. To further simplify the process of eligibility, the municipality has developed a smartphone app (green buildings) to explain the laws, terms and conditions of green buildings in simple terms.
It also plans to launch a new website dedicated to green buildings (www.alsafat.ae) to provide indepth information about the new ratings system in addition to a list of green material suppliers.
Dubai presently hosts approx 1,433 green buildings since 2010 with the municipality registering over 120 mn sq ft of realty since the green building code became mandatory for all new buildings since March 2014.
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