Tag Archive | "education"

Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi collaborates with ADWEA and CWM

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has signed two agreements with Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) and Centre of Waste Management – Abu Dhabi (CWM) in a move that will create synergies among the entities in the field of environmental education and awareness.

The two agreements are aimed at reducing overall water and electricity consumption and reducing waste among schools and universities across the Abu Dhabi.

The organisations will work towards equipping students – which constitute over 25% of the total population in the emirate – with the knowledge and skills advocating sustainable management practices.

The focus will be on wise water and electricity use and how to minimise waste. This will be done through joint educational programmes and initiatives, with a strong focus on EAD’s Sustainable Schools Initiative (SSI) and the Sustainable Campus Initiative (SCI) as the main conduit for awareness-raising.

The two agreements will look to promote sound environmental stewardship among the students, reduce the emirate’s ecological footprint, and work towards an ecologically-sensitive and resource-conscious society led by students, parents and neighbourhood communities.

H.E Dr. Jaber Al Jabri, EAD’s Deputy Secretary General: “One of the pillars of what we do is running educational efforts to promote environmentally-friendly behaviour among today’s youth. This is something that we’ve focussed on since our inception in 1996, and with the support of the Abu Dhabi Education Council, we incorporated environmental education as part of Abu Dhabi Emirate’s first ever environmental strategy of 2001.

“With the support from several public and private entities in the UAE, EAD has successfully carried out programmes that have allowed us to achieve our strategic objectives. These efforts have helped win awards and accolades for Abu Dhabi Emirate from international bodies such as UNESCO and international environment education organisations whom the Agency networks and shares best practices with to promote the role education plays on environmental issues.”

The agreements will continue for a period of four years from the date they were signed, and shall be automatically renewed for the same period, unless terminated by either party.

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Sustainability Network expands to over 50 members

With a new member, AGL Coca-Cola joining in, the Sustainability Network’s membership has gone up to 51 companies. Two of the members – Tristar and Majid Al Futtaim Properties – who have recently produced Sustainability Reports talk about the challenges and benefits of reporting on their company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and share their reporting journey in this issue.

As a Sustainability Network member, the Chalhoub Group is featured for its Gift of Giving Campaign during Ramadan when the company distributed 12,000 plus backpacks made of 100% recycled plastic bottles to 6,000 plus underprivileged students in the UAE and region reinforcing the link between education and environmental responsibility.

In its ‘Sustainability Network Interview Series’, the newsletter features Mr. Simon Webb, Managing Director of AF Carillion who talks about his company’s strong commitment to health and safety and its impact on the quality of people’s lives as well as their approach to embedding responsible business practices.

The newsletter covers Engage Dubai’s new community partners including Growing Leaders Foundation (GLF), Skyline University College and Stepping Stones while the Dubai Chamber Sustainability Directory shares the story of a Sustainability Network member (National Bank of Abu Dhabi) and company (BiteRite) working together to deliver healthy meals at the Bank.

Also, the newsletter covers the Climate Change seminar which the Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) organised in collaboration with EWS-WWF and carries an article on Marketplace Leadership in the Dubai Chamber CSR Label framework as well as new case studies from the CSR case study bank. CRB established in 2004 by Dubai Chamber, fosters corporate integrity promoting Dubai as the region’s gateway for global commerce by promoting transparency and rule of law. It is the leading centre of expertise in business ethics and corporate social responsibility in Dubai.

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KSA to launch environment programme in schools

Saudi Environment Society (SENS) will launch an environment programme in schools throughout Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Arab countries. The programme will be a collaboration between international organisations and the Ministry of Education.

Eight programmes will focus on solid waste management, coastal line and ocean preservation, electricity consumption, industrial waste management, environmental safety, recycling, water consumption, climate change and air pollution. The special programmes will educate students about the environment, with two hours every day dedicated to allow students to take part in an extra curricular activities.

SENS recently concluded the first workshop on water conservation with the participation of seven Arab countries. The workshop was held within the framework of the National Programme for the Environment and Sustainable Development with the aim of establishing environmental programs in schools. The workshop was organised with the cooperation of the National Water Company and the Ministry of Education.

The society is building upon its practical experience to launch a full-fledged academic programme that can be applied across the country’s schools. It has successfully introduced the programme in 60 schools in Jeddah and another 60 schools in Najran.

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GE lighting works with AUD to promote energy efficiency

GE Lighting signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the American University of Dubai (AUD), to nurture local design talent in architecture and interior design, covering both the student community and industry professionals. In addition to a planned Design Council that will share industry information with students, the MoU also envisages the creation of short-term courses for industry professionals by drawing on GE Lighting’s industry insights.

GE Lighting will also support a professionally designed ‘light experience laboratory’ at AUD, which will feature the most-modern range of lighting systems including its advanced LED solutions that are environment-friendly and contribute to significant energy savings. In addition, the laboratory will serve as a platform to host industry seminars and short-term professional courses.

Agostino Renna, President & CEO of GE Lighting Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Dr. Lance de Masi, President of AUD signed the MoU.

Agostino Renna said: “One of the strategic growth approaches of GE Lighting in the region is to promote local talent, drive innovation and share our knowledge to nurture a talent pool of industry professionals. In the past, we have worked extensively with educational institutions to highlight the newest trends in lighting, including design aspects. Our MoU with AUD , one of the high-ranking universities in the region, aims to not only encourage the student community to gain the latest insights into lighting but also enable professionals to regularly enhance their skills.”

George Bou Mitri, GE Lighting’s General Manager of Middle East, Africa and Turkey, added: “With the region witnessing tremendous investments in infrastructure development, a young talent pool of professionals who are aware of the latest trends in energy efficient lighting can make a significant difference in driving sustainable growth. Our partnership with AUD highlights our commitment to knowledge sharing and building local talent in the lighting sector.”

Dr. Lance de Masi added: “The partnership with GE Lighting is a strong testament to our commitment to foster industry linkages that are important windows of knowledge for our students. The MoU will cover a number of industry components – from classroom learning to promoting innovation – which will significantly add to the skills of architecture and interior design students and professionals.”

GE Lighting will draw on the extensive industry experience and knowledge base of its US-based Lighting Institute to develop the content for the short courses for students and professionals. It will also work with like-minded business entities to create a Design Council in Dubai, which serves as a repository of knowledge and conducts guest lectures for students at AUD covering the advances in lighting. The MoU is expected to support at least 20 professionals on short-term courses of 3 to 7 days at AUD annually. Design professionals, architects, interior designers, engineers, contractors and other industry stakeholders can attend the course. GE Lighting and AUD will also organise a lighting design competition for students on the sidelines of Light ME, as well as a conference that will be focused more on the student community.

Associate Professor of Interior Design Dr. Linda Nubani added:” Our engagement with GE Lighting began over two years ago when we co-organised the ‘GE Lighting Best in Class Student Light Design,’ with one objective in mind to identify and highlight emerging talent in light design and energy-saving lighting in the UAE. Not only did our students claim top awards at these competitions, but they also integrated their experiences with GE Lighting into their studio projects. They simply wanted more! Today, we are signing the MoU with GE Lighting that will no doubt increase our students’ awareness in this field and industry professionals alike.”

 

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2013 a comeback year for construction

According to a recently conducted region-wide study, the value of new construction projects in the GCC is expected to rise in 2013, with projects valued at US$64.5 billion set to be awarded to contractors over the coming 12 months.

This figure shows a sharp increase, up by a third (33%) on the value of projects awarded in 2012 (US$48.4bn).

Building projects worth over US$68.7bn were completed in the GCC in 2012 according to the sector report issued today. Despite being lower than previously estimated, the Gulf’s construction industry grew by 48% over 2011 when completed projects were valued at US$46.5bn. The report also forecasts a further 19% sector growth in 2013, with completed construction projects set to reach US$81.6bn.

Growth of construction projects by sector

In 2012, residential, commercial and hospitality sectors led the GCC projects market; with US$29.4bn, US$12.2bn and US$5.5bn worth of projects completed respectively. Education, medical and retail sectors were other significant contributors, with completed projects worth US$5.2bn, U$3.3bn and US$2.4bn respectively.

 In 2013, a two-paced growth is likely with residential, retail and commercial sector construction projects growing at slower rates of 4.4%, 4% and 13% to US$30.7bn, US$2.5bn and US$13.8bn respectively.  However, hospitality, educational and medical projects will grow at faster rates of 27%, 69% and 79% respectively to US$27bn, US$8.8bn and US$5.9bn. The hospitality and educational sectors of the GCC building construction industry will see their market share by value of projects completed in 2013 grow tremendously by 137% (from 3.8% to 9%) and 134 % (4.7% to 11%) respectively. Residential building projects will remain the largest segment of the real estate market in terms of projects expected to complete in 2013 with a market share of 38%. Commercial will remain the second largest real estate sector with 17% but the educational sector is set to overtake the hospitality construction segment and claim third place with an 11% of the market share against hospitality’s market share of 9%.

Overview of the GCC interiors and fit-out market

Despite being lower than previously forecast, the value of the GCC interior contracting and fit-out market in 2012 was US$7.86bn – an increase of 56% against the 2011 figure of US$5.04bn and is expected to rise by 17% in 2013 to US$9.2bn. In 2012, the UAE was once again the largest interiors and fit-out market in the GCC and, at US$2.83bn, made up 36% of the US$7.86bn GCC market. It was followed by the Saudi Arabia and Qatar which were valued at US$2.6bn and US$1.49bn respectively. The Kuwait interiors and fit-out market was valued at US$472m, Oman’s at US$314m and Bahrain’s at US$157m.

The residential sector continues to command the largest market share of the GCC interior contracting and fit-out market with a 41% share of the overall market value in 2012 (US$3.24bn). While the residential sector is expected to remain the largest sector of the interior contracting and fit-out market in 2013 and increase in value by 5%, it will see its market share reduce slightly to 37% (US$3.4bn) as other sectors grow at a faster rate.

As GCC countries continue to invest in social infrastructure, the value of the educational and medical sectors of the interior contracting and fit-out market will see huge increases of 70% (from US$412m to US$702m) and 80% respectively (from US$261m to US$470m).

In 2013, the hospitality sector of the GCC interior contracting and fit-out market is set to overtake the commercial sector and take the second largest share of the market – increasing in value by 31% from US$1.2bn to US$1.57bn.

The report

The in-depth sector report issued today was commissioned by the organising team behind INDEX, and conducted by Ventures ME.

Frederique Maurell, Event Director for both the INDEX and Office exhibitions, who supervised the compilation of the report, said: “A number of construction projects that had been on hold resumed in 2012, as the region’s oversupply concerns were dispelled by a rise in demand due to growth of the population and disposable incomes. Governments have initiated construction across key sectors to cater to this demand. Though recovery of the commercial real estate sector remains somewhat subdued, new opportunities are emerging in residential, hospitality, retail and education sectors; albeit at a cautious and regulated pace. While the global economy as a whole remains relatively flat, it is safe to say that GCC construction industry and the associated interiors fit-out sector are recovering momentum.”

“This trend is being driven by investors acquiring partly completed properties and renovating, expanding or adding value rather than initiating new developments. The interiors and fit-out sector is responding well to these changes in demand, and beginning to see growth in new projects. Together, this puts the market firmly on an upward trajectory,” added Maurell.

As a preamble to INDEX 2013, the report highlights the potential for a comeback for the construction sector. The 23rd edition of the annual INDEX Interiors and Design Exhibition, the region’s largest and longest running interiors and design exhibition, will run alongside the 12th edition of the annual Office Exhibition on 20 to 23 May 2013 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE.

 

 

 

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It starts in school

Over the past few months, momentum has built globally to support the worthwhile push into Green Schools. Jourdan Younis explains how sustainability education could catalyse the GCC’s green movement

While my team and I were in Stuttgart, Germany for the World Green Building Council annual meeting, Rick Fedrizzi of the USGBC inaugurated the “Centre for Green Schools.”

Why is this important?
Typically 25% of our Gulf population goes to school or college every day as students, teachers, staff, faculty and administrators. When you look at the current condition of our schools today, you see outdated buildings in need of repairs, burdened with unsafe toxins, lacking daylight and generally unhealthy ventilation systems.
In the Gulf, we spend over 90% of our time indoors. Pause and think about that for a moment.
Even with all of the particulate matter in the sky, the air is often worse indoors than it is outdoors, with indoor pollutants typically being concentrated at two to five times the levels outside, and sometimes 100 times higher. These contaminants include: Formaldehyde, Nitrogen Dioxide, Mold, Pesticides, Smoke, Carbon Monoxide, PM10 and various Volatile Organic Compounds.
In fact, the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi, in the most recent UAE national-scale ranking of environmental risks, listed indoor air quality as the second highest health risk in the country. Due to the rapidly developing repertory systems of children, the negative effects are often magnified. This has led to a 10 fold increase in flu virus, 20 to 40% increase in allergies and a 4x increase in asthma in typical Gulf schools. According to the Carnegie Melon Center for Building Performance, bronchial asthma is the 3rd leading cause of hospitalisation amongst children.
And we thought that sending our children to school was good for their development.

So what is the solution?
In Abu Dhabi, the ADEC arm of the government has embarked on the multi-year, multi-billion dirham Abu Dhabi Future Schools Program which has adopted global best practices to create advanced schools for the population. Regarding Estidama, they have mandated, not two Pearls (As in any standard government project), but a more challenging and ambitious Three Pearl certification. That sounds promising for the public schools in AD, but what about the private schools and the schools outside of the Emirate?
This is where the joint forces of LEED and The Centre for Green Schools come in. As I am sure you already are aware, LEED is one of the most recognised of the global sustainable rating systems for buildings. What you may not realise however is that when it comes to designing and constructing the interior environmental quality for schools, LEED has even more stringent standards based on the California Department of Health. This allows us to give them the healthy learning environments that they deserve.
The mission of The Centre for Green Schools (TCGS) is to expand the USGBC’s efforts to drive change in how the development industry designs, constructs and operates our schools so the buildings will actively enhance student learning experiences. We need to remember that we build schools in the service of students and children, and TCGS is focused on the following elements: creating sustainable learning environments for students, generating and applying solid research to inform leadership about the benefits of healthy, high-performing schools, and the creation of resources to help make this transition possible.
In addition, the TCGS is working to harness the energy of motivated students, teachers and environmental activists such as you, in order effect local change within our local school districts and private schools.

Are you interested in making a positive impact?
Join us for a day of service. On Saturday, 29 September, hundreds of companies will partner with the Centre for Green Schools at USGBC to transform schools around the world during our first annual Green Apple Day of Service.
We’re calling on you to engage your employees and staff in local service projects at schools and within your communities. This is an opportunity for your organisation to demonstrate strong corporate leadership, social responsibility and to be recognised for your support of healthy, high-performing schools.

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