Rola questions – with good reason – whether Arab governments are sincere about sustainability. While certain of them such as Qatar and Abu Dhabi are making some effort to reconcile their fossil addiction, others continue to spend on profligate projects like Dubai’s destructive World Islands. Abu Dhabi, rated one of the world’s best cities, continues its baby steps towards a healthier, smarter Emirate but it remains to be seen whether their belated enlightenment will stay the worst that climate change has in store. In the meantime, hoorah for Estidama Pearls.
Similar to America’s Leadership in Energy And Environmental Design certification (LEED), which is not without its own challenges, the Estidama Pearl Rating system initiated by Abu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council aims to influence the sustainability of building projects throughout the Emirate.
Irina Foster, an American Assistant Project Manager for the consultancy firm Aecom, is among the first 186 architects, engineers, and urban designers qualified to develop a project underneath the Estidama umbrella as a Pearl Qualified Professional.
A detailed training program lasts two days, though it is also possible to achieve a shorter, more general module. To date, already 3,200 people have sought out the new sustainability training according to John Madden, the senior Planning Manager at UPC.
The National reports that Irina agreed to do the test despite her familiarity with LEED, since Estidama focuses on environmental concerns that are endemic to the Middle East – sparing water and energy in particular.
Other rating systems are also in the pipeline. By late spring, a construction rating system will attempt to reduce the impact of actual building and ensure that buildings are actually built according to plan. In addition, this new system will encourage less waste generation and recycling that which is wasted. Ensuring more efficient fixtures and installation is also a part of the sustainability game.
In order to monitor the implementation of these less harmful environmental practices, municipal inspectorss, developers and contractors need to be trained. They will also learn to implement operation ratings system for buildings that manage efficiency and general energy-saving maintenance.
Rating systems operate as a sort of checks and balances, according to the paper, that ensure that the plans – from design to construction to operation – are actually met.
:: The National
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