Green buildings to top agenda of ISO meet in Dubai

September 30th, 2008 - 12:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Sep 30 (IANS) The effects on the environment caused by the booming construction industry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will top the agenda of the annual meeting of the International Standards Organisation (ISO) here next month.The 31st general assembly of ISO, to be held here Oct 12-17, will discuss regional changes in legislation affecting the construction industry and buildings.

ISO is an international standard-setting body comprising representatives from various national standards organisations.

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, it promulgates worldwide proprietary industrial and commercial standards.

The Dubai meeting will examine global standardisation to support the incorporation of new technologies for sustainable buildings of the future.

“With the globalisation of trade, enterprises and professionals from many different countries, accustomed to differing national or regional building codes, must increasingly work together on major construction projects,” Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE’s Minister for Economy said in a statement in connection with the ISO meeting.

“In such circumstances, globally relevant standards based on international consensus among experts in the relevant field can guide cooperation and harmonise practice, thus promoting efficiency and safety, while avoiding unnecessary technical barriers to trade,” he added.

This west Asian metropolis, witnessing an unprecedented construction boom, has started implementing mandatory requirements for all new buildings to abide to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, the internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.

Neighbouring Abu Dhabi is also in the process of setting up a green buildings code in response to the multiplicity of demands imposed on new commercial, governmental, or residential buildings to be resistant to fire and flood, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks besides being energy efficient.

In the light of this, an open session at the ISO meet will discuss the principles for sustainability and how these can be translated into buildings to optimise energy efficiency, safety, security, communication and other comforts and convenience.

This year’s keynote address at the assembly will be delivered by Louise Cox, president of the International Union of Architects.

Other panellists will include Jun Kanda from the university of Tokyo’s Department of Socio-Cultural Environmental Studies, Greg Sang, director of projects at UAE-based Emaar Properties, and Khaled Awad, director for property development at Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company.

The UAE has already taken several initiatives as the world looks at having green buildings.

Masdar City near Abu Dhabi will be the world’s first carbon-neutral city when completed in 2013, housing 50,000 people in close vicinity to their workplaces, educational facilities and light industries.

Among the city’s main features are emission-free energy supplies, mainly from solar power, modern ecological architecture with a good passive energy balance and high energy-efficiency, extensive recycling of waste, and a modern system of public transport.

Masdar City will also reduce desalinated water consumption by 80 percent by using re-purification techniques and domestic wastewater for irrigation.

In Dubai, a lighthouse tower at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is being planned to cut conventional energy consumption in the building by 65 percent by using solar and wind power.

The Mirdiff City Centre, also being built in Dubai, is in line with environmental standards and is described as the region’s first ‘ecologically friendly shopping centre’.

“The ultimate goal is to convert the UAE from a technology-importer to a technology-exporter,” Al Mansoori said.

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