Green Buildings Becoming Mandatory

Dubai is taking many steps forward into the green building future, with new laws passed to make sustainable building practices in all buildings mandatory.

The new laws start in 2014 and will effect all new buildings, whether they be private or commercial, with green building requirements currently optional in private buildings.

This will mean all buildings in Dubai will need to install items such as solar water heaters, water saving measures and other green components.

Along with this, the Building Department of Dubai Municipality launched an education and training program with the slogan Be Educated on Green Buildings.

The state will hold seminars and exhibitions, having already hosted My Green Environment in January to promote sustainable building practices and demonstrate the environment benefits these have for private dwellings.

The world’s largest LEED Platinum status government building, the Dubai Energy and Water Authority’s (DEWA) Sustainable Building, also opened in Dubai in February.

These laws are beginning to be seen in many countries across the world, as governments realise the savings to themselves, their citizens and their environment of encouraging green building and sustainable living practices.

To highlight this, a survey by McGraw Hill Constructions found more businesses across more countries were expecting their work to be more ‘green’ in coming years.

It found that companies expected green buildings to generate business value and opportunities such as the development of new environmentally friendly products.

The survey found that from 2012 to 2015, companies expecting that more than 60 percent of their work would be green triples in South Africa; doubles in Germany, Norway and Brazil; and grows between 33 and 60 percent in the United States, Singapore, Britain, the United Arab Emirates and Australia.


Harvesting new water ideas

Drinking rainwater that is harvested from rooftops is not a new concept and one that those in the country and not connected to the water grid embrace as a fact of life, but it’s something that could be introduced to capital cities in Australia.

Melbourne is one city looking at this and other ideas to conserve our most precious resource- water.

The Living Melbourne, Living Victoria report authored by former Sustainability Victoria chairman Mike Waller recommended expanding competition among government-owned water businesses and creating a water trading market, licensing private providers to offer not-for-drinking recycled and stormwater to the home and even paying a premium on water bills to avoid restrictions.

These recommendations were made as alternatives to spending billions of dollars on infrastructure projects including a desalination plant, a north-south pipeline or the Thomson Dam.

A recommendation that all states and cities would do well to adopt is that new estates could produce more drinking water with new homes capturing water off their rooftops to be piped back to water storages, avoiding costly connections to the traditional water grid.

The longterm benefits of these ecologically sustainable recommendations would mean new communities would be more self-sufficient when it comes to their water usage and recycling resulting in more savings for the environment and in monetary terms.