Gulf Municipality Pampers Villa Owners Who Don’t Get Green Building

green building, sustainable building, energy, water, carbon footprint, Estidama, United Arab Emirates, villas, Abu Dhabi, pearl ratingGoing green doesn’t come naturally to wealthy villa owners in the Gulf.

An online real estate  company listed a seven bedroom villa in Dubai’s neighboring Emirate Abu Dhabi for $95,300 a year, which amounts to nearly $8,000 a month. Anyone who can afford to spend that much money on rent probably has little incentive to turn off the lights in order to conserve energy or shorten their showers, which may explain why the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council sometimes has to meet with villa owners six times before they grasp the minimum requirements of the country’s mandatory Estidama green building code.

Energy and water guzzlers

Government subsidies keep energy and water costs unrealistically low in the Emirates, despite its dubious distinction of having the world’s largest per capita carbon footprint. And many foreigners who have flocked to the Emirate to help the country exploit their enormous resource wealth live behind tall walls in self-enclosed villas.

So it’s hardly surprising that they are perplexed by the Estidama Pearl Rating System that was established in September, 2010 as a mandatory means to reduce the carbon and water footprint of all structures built in Abu Dhabi.

In order to help them find their way, the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council has launched an online tool that villa owners on a step-by-step journey through this unknown landscape. Appropriately called the “e-villa configurator,” this platform demonstrates to new builders what techniques can be used to save “precious water” resources, according to The National.

Pampering the un-green

“When users click on a category, they can learn how it will affect their final design and what the environmental benefits will be,” the paper reports.

Despite this serious pampering, people aren’t catching on as quickly as the UPC would like. Only 50% of the 1500 applications for Estidama have been approved since November, 2010, and these aren’t strident requirements. Although Government Buildings are required to achieve at least two out of five pearls, villa owners only have to earn one.

An adviser for Estidama, Edwin Young told the paper that it “once took applicants between four and six attempts to get through the process; now the UPC aims for two.”

The building requirements for villa developers have been simplified; hopefully they’ll get the hang of going green soon.

:: The National

image via World Property Channel

More on Green Building in The Emirates:

A Greener Space Planned Between Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Dubai Ends Cheap Local Gas

Former Masdar Director Says the UAE Must End Subsidies

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