The Emirates Green Building Council hosted their 4th Annual Congress on 20th October 2015 under the topic of “How do Green Buildings Scale Up? Bridging the Gap between Green Buildings & Sustainable Cities” with ALLEN & YORK’s Middle East Managing Director, Simon Bangs providing industry insight on one of the Roundtable discussions.
The conversation focussed upon the question of “Is the UAE Green Economy driven by Green Buildings?” with ALLEN & YORK providing several live examples of how the Green Building industries reputation as an early pace-setter is now being caught by a range of other sectors – in particular Clean Energy.
Whilst the UAE (and wider GCC) has often made headlines for their high carbon footprint per capita, ALLEN & YORK are dealing on a daily basis with private companies, government agencies and consultants who are working to create a greener, less-carbon intensive society.
The UAE acts as a regional leader for innovation in a range of sectors and combined with it’s diversification away from an Oil & Gas dependent economy is starting to realise the business opportunities that exist from utilising one of their other natural resources – solar power.
With the membership of organisations like the Middle East Solar Industry Association growing by over 50% in 2015 already, we see evidence of the country’s pro-business environment creating opportunities for a range of international manufacturers, EPC’s and Developers to set up regional Headquarters to capitalise upon the appetite for solar.
Whilst many of these companies arrive with the international transfer of staff, the need for these to be balanced with those who are already based locally and understand the intricacies of the regional markets is evident.
The UAE’s Green building industry continues to push for lower energy subsidies, a need for higher specifications in building regs, increased connectivity between the Design, Construction & Operational Management of buildings – all of which should lead to leaner, greener and more efficient building stock.
Whilst the scale of the challenge may be daunting to some, the opportunity of hindsight allows us to realise just how much has been achieved both in terms of awareness and on-the-ground impact in the last 5 years. So yes a large chunk of the Green Economy continues to be driven by Green Buildings but some of the hard yards have already be made and a more environmentally conscious society is being reflected in how employers classify and treat “Green Jobs”