Hot Discussions: Challenges and Opportunities of Sustainable Development In The UAE?
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Currently, several building conferences being held are actively discussing sustainable development, a hot topic for our industry. Hence, I thought to post an article keeping with a similar theme. The built environment of our cities not only plays a massive role in our lives but also dramatically impacts local environments, our health and most importantly energy consumption. It is estimated that over 40% of carbon emissions worldwide is produced from the occupation of buildings and sadly, because of the way our cities are planned, 20% is due to transportation.

What are the 6 challenges of Sustainable Development?

A major challenge that faces sustainable development is the region’s construction industry. The lack of city wide frameworks, enforceable energy efficiency requirements, financial incentives and even sustainable design knowledge among professionals, has created an industry that is generally reluctant to adopt sustainable construction. At an individual building scale, the region’s hot and arid climate poses another challenge. In recent decades, building forms that have shaped the Middle East were internationally inspired and hence its design was not environmentally responsive to this region’s climatic conditions. This meant that reliance on energy-intensive ACs to keep structures cool enough for human occupation has continued to rise. With a scarcity of energy, water and waste management, it has become imperative to take extreme design measures to overcome pressing issues and to stimulate a market change towards more sustainable developments.


What are the 6 opportunities of Sustainable Development?

With that being said, the UAE’s urban environment has natural potentials for sustainable development and has taken firm strides to chart its way forward. Several potential opportunities and positive developments listed below are indicative of the region’s commitment to sustainable development, willingness to change the status quo and collaboration between governments, NGOs, professional bodies and the public:

  • The increase in urbanization and development projects have a natural potential for the construction of highly-energy efficient neighborhoods.
  • There is a rich heritage of traditional building designs that have mastered energy efficient living, which can easily guide our construction today.
  • Abundant solar and wind resources provide potential for renewable energy systems to be integrated into the built environment.
  • There has been much interest in sustainable development by governments, NGOs and professional bodies which has led to the creation of institutions and regulations.
  • Energy efficiency standards for buildings have been established along with green building councils that promote sustainable design and green building rating systems.
  • Opportunity Alert: Several sustainable design pilot projects have been commissioned along with providing financial incentives for commercially viable efficient buildings and systems. This is good news for international companies that would like become a vital part of transforming the industry by bringing forth their innovative approaches and unique concepts. To purchase a more extensive market report on this opportunity, do write to us on

Traditional Wind Towers


Decorative Mashrabiya Screens

In the next post, we’ll cover best practises, creative approaches and successful experiences that have helped some countries make profound leaps in the fields of sustainable developments.

Until we rendezvous again,

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