Abu Dhabi’s stellar efforts to raise green performance across industry sectors position that Gulf state as regional leader in both conceiving sustainable solutions, and more critically, setting them in action. There are some more famous projects like the multi-million dollar zero-energy city Masdar. But this is just the tip of the bucket. Read on for the ten best ways that the United Arab Emirates emirate Abu Dhabi is leading the way for the Middle East.
Plan Abu Dhabi 2030
Top 10 emirati eco-actions include:
- Masdar City, the world’s first large-scale carbon-neutral development, was hatched in AD. This $18 billion investment in cleantech is creating a new city smack in the heart of Middle East oil country that boasts a research university and acts as incubator for newly emerging green collar industries.
- Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) is world-renowned for responsibly managing large-scale planning and rapid growth. UPC drives AD’s urban development strategy, with full focus on the UN-endorsed concept of triple bottom line payoff in social, economic and environmental aspects of any project.
- Abu Dhabi 2030 Urban Structure Framework Plan offers a multi-decade vision for city evolution. As the first planning program of this kind in the region, the UPC sets a sustainable foundation for all Emirate development, and forms a best-practice benchmark for future urban design within the UAE and beyond.
- Estidama (encompassing the Pearl Rating system) was established in 2009 by the Abu Dhabi UPC as the Arab world’s first sustainability rating mechanism to assess eco-performance of buildings, communities, and villas.
- Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council sets uniform performance measures and raises public awareness on environmental aspects of buildings. They’ve launched a Water Efficient Fixtures Conformity Scheme to help consumers make better use of water in public and private plumbing applications. Next they’ll tackle paints and coatings.
- Shams 1 Concentrated Solar Power plant goes live later this year, supplying 100 megawatts of solar power to AD. It’s the largest plant in the world and first of its kind in the Middle East North Africa region to employ solar parabolic trough technology.
- CNG vehicles are replacing the traditional fleet used by the AD Food Control Authority (ADFCA) as part of their commitment to reduce emissions. The switch to alternative fuel is phased, with plans to convert 20% of the total fleet to CNG by the end of 2015. A CNG vehicle’s carbon footprint is about 75% of that of comparable gas-fueled wheels.
- Over 6,000 units of sustainable public light fixtures have been installed across the capital, as part of three separate projects carried out last year by the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City . The fixtures conform to sustainability standards specified in the emirate’s Sustainable Public Lighting Strategy, and will reduce total public lighting costs by as much as 40% over the next 20 years.
- The region’s first rapid electric vehicle charging station was opened in Masdar City, certified to meet the Charge de Move (CHAdeMO) industry standard. CHAdeMO chargers can bring batteries up to 80% of their capacity in only 30 minutes, compared to standard electrical outlets which might take 6 hours.
- National airline, Etihad, is a pioneer of aviation biofuels, becoming the first biofuel-flying Gulf carrier.
Kudoes to this tiny nation, whose forest of eco-accomplishment can easily be obscured by the many individual green “trees” they are planting.