Tag Archive | "green building"

Dubai Municipality educates on new green building legislation at The Big 5

 The Dubai Municipality will be presenting the latest Dubai Green Building Code at The Big 5, offering attendees the opportunity to understand more about the regulations and their impact on the industry for the future before they go-live in early 2014.

The new legislation will be mandatory for all new buildings across residential, commercial and industrial sectors. The code covers a range of construction features, including building vitality, ecology, as well as energy, water and waste efficiency and effectiveness.

Information on the Dubai Green Building Project, of which the new regulations are derived, will be provided along with the rationale behind its implementation, and the role it will play in Dubai’s drive for sustainability. There will be a full outline the requirements for assessment and certification of green buildings together with a follow-up workshop that will provide more in-depth information on assessment procedures. The seminars will include a comprehensive overview of the testing procedures of products within the new regulations and the certification process.

Engineer Abdulla Rafia, Assistant Director General of Engineering at the Dubai Municipality, said: “The new Green Building Code will be implemented next year, and we are currently working to strengthen our efforts in educating the necessary audiences on the requirements they will have to meet.

“We are ready, our testing and certification centres are ready; we want to ensure that the industry is also ready and has access to the relevant training and information they require in advance of the launch. The Big 5 provides an excellent platform for us to engage with a wide range of stakeholders and communicate this key information.”

These free-to-attend seminars will also provide key insight into the progress of Dubai’s construction market, and the key successes and challenges, including that of meeting the increased demand for power and water that comes with the on-going growth and development.

“The new legislation from Dubai Municipality is an important step towards realising sustainable construction processes with a long-term view,” comment Andy White, group event director, The Big 5. “The Dubai construction market is one of the most active in the region and presents significant opportunities for the future, it is vital that those looking to capitalise on these fully understand the new regulations and the positive impact they will have.”

The seminars will take place on the 25 and 26 of November during The Big 5 at Dubai World Trade Centre.

For further information and to register for a place, please click here.

In addition to the seminars delivered by the Dubai Municipality, The Big 5 will host a number of educational platforms, with seminars and workshops focusing on key challenges and trends within the industry. Furthermore, the two-day Sustainability Design & Construction Conference will run in parallel and host a series of regional and international experts to discuss urban development, iconic architecture and present case studies of several local sustainable buildings.

Middle East Concrete and PMV Live will take place alongside The Big 5, providing insight on the latest technologies and innovations from across the concrete and plant, machinery and vehicle sectors.

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Green building barriers

The Dubai government is due to introduce green building codes, which will dramatically effect the construction industry. But will it reduce the emirate’s overall carbon footprint and what about the existing buildings? Moheet Vishwas considers the future

From smart cities to smart businesses, the sustainability drive is getting bigger and growing wide in the UAE where the rulers increasingly advocate turning to technological solutions. Dubai Municipality is expected to unveil the Dubai Green Building Code later this year – the announcement is expected to be made at The Big 5 construction exhibition in Dubai, which takes place between November 25 and 28 at the World Trade Centre. It is expected to include a full outline of the requirements for assessment and certification of new green buildings, with both clearly explained new regulations and the rationale behind their implementation. Regulations promise a comprehensive overview of the testing procedures for products under a new certification process. Legislation will be mandatory for all new projects across residential, commercial and industrial sectors. The categories to deem buildings green and sustainable include latest ecological and sustainability regulations for developers such as building vitality, ecology, as well as energy, water and waste efficiency and effectiveness. Long overdue, but as they say it’s better late than never, I for one am very keen to know more about this new initiative and to understand its contribution in determining the impact of the green wave in this region for the near future Setting up a green building code is a necessary certainly a step in the right direction, but does it address the need of the hour?
Existing building structures in the UAE represent 35 to 45% of domestic energy consumption if not more. Focussing sustainable efforts on new buildings alone won’t go far enough towards meeting the broader goals of reducing the overall carbon footprint in this region. The real challenge would be to introduce a series of regulations that would ensure that these existing buildings become more sustainable with least environmental impacts.
In the recent past, Etisalat along with Pacific Controls launched the Emirates Energy Star Programme to help reduce the energy consumption of existing buildings. The initiative has helped to eliminate more than 23,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions solely through monitoring, streamlining, and reducing energy usage through HVAC applications at over 80 existing buildings in the UAE. The total savings until now come up to 42,000 KWh or $3.9m. The amount of carbon emissions reduced is equivalent to planting 5,000 trees. The plan is simple: extensive metering to monitor and measure consumption. The aim is to reduce the carbon footprint at buildings in the UAE by 20%. Encouraging as it is, a possible downside to a private sector initiative without a proper framework of government rules and regulations in place is that there are no accountability for their performances or promises. Diminished carbon emissions can be equated to planting trees but it cannot be called the same. Nevertheless it’s an initiative to roll wheels into motion and its figures are mighty enough to knock inspiration into other industry leaders. A good healthy competition always keeps its runners in check by pushing them to better themselves constantly. A holistic approach to reduce energy consumption in existing buildings while laying out stringent guidelines for new construction can ensure a sustainable future for the UAE and its inhabitants.

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Building a green future

This month we hear from some of the people involved in implementing key areas of the green economy across the UAE as part of the Sustainable Solutions series hosted by BGreen and Emirates Green Building Council

The UAE has been at the forefront of sustainability drive in the Middle East region during the past 10 years thanks to a leadership that is committed to building and nurturing a green economy. In fact, the country boasts of highest share of green buildings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as well as the largest solar thermal power project operating in the world. BGreen and Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC) chaired a round table discussion, the seventh in our collaborative series Sustainable Solutions, to understand the sustainability trends in different sectors of the economy. Round table participants were Ibrahim Al Zubi, head of CSR, Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Group; Sarfraz Dairkee, general manager of corporate development & engineering, MAHY Khoory; P R Jagannathan, sustainability manager, EHS-Trakhees; and Ajita Nayar, education manager, Emirates Wildlife Society–WWF. Discussion moderated by Anoop K Menon, contributing editor, BGreen.

BGREEN: Given the diversity of Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ business footprint, how has sustainability evolved within the group?

Ibrahim Al Zubi: As an entrepreneur and mall developer, Majid Al Futtaim Properties has come a long way to become one of the biggest names in the region’s retail sector. When we decided to make sustainability an integral part of the company’s outlook, one of the first steps we took was to find out whether we had management buy-in. We engaged the different internal stakeholders and asked them why they wanted sustainability. The key value drivers of sustainability identified were brand reputation, moral obligation, long term profitability, license to operate and corporate citizenship. Given the buyin and added value for the business, we engaged stake holders internally, came up with a policy and created a full time, dedicated post of head of sustainability – which I currently helm – reporting to the CEO. We have put in measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and tangible annual and long term targets that get audited every quarter by a third party auditor. To increase awareness, we also decided to become transparent and share these findings with our staff, the board and external stakeholders.

BGREEN: Are the customer’s customer (i.e. the end consumer) enthused about the fact that they are shopping in a sustainable mall, for example?
Al Zubi:
Part of the marketing department’s KPI as sustainability targets is to do customer surveys. Our end-customers find shopping at Mirdiff City Centre mall, which is the first shopping mall in the region to have been awarded a LEED Gold rating, a positive experience in terms of its physical structure and fit outs compared to other malls. We also have government departments like Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) and Dubai Municipality (DM) using the mall to educate consumers about sustainable living. We are now targeting the first LEED EBOM (The LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance) certified shopping mall in the Middle East. We want to document the engagement of our tenants and customers, see if they are aware. Interestingly, during a customer survey in Lebanon, buying a green building asset emerged as one of the top five most important deciding factors. A few days ago, I was part of a panel at the ethical branding conference in Dubai, and what came out is that customer awareness is definitely on the rise.

BGREEN: What has been Emirates Wildlife Society–WWF’s experience in trying to promote sustainability among the schools in the UAE?
Ajita Nayar:
Nine years ago, EWS-WWF started environmental education programmes among students to raise awareness on environmental issues. We thought we will take it in a progressive manner, starting with environmental literacy… first using small booklets, and then progressing to an online education programme. While the programme had a good impact on students we were also keen to see whether the knowledge gained translated into any meaningful action. That’s when we decided to introduce the Eco-Schools programme. The Eco- Schools programme deviates from a formal education strategy where typically teachers tell students what to do. In Eco-Schools, students are encouraged to be the core strategising group in the school. They try to identify what are the key environmental issues in the school and come up with solutions that are simple, practical and gives immediate results. For example, if they have observed that windows are open when the air-conditioning (AC) is running in a classroom, a very simple behavioural change they need to bring about is to ensure windows are closed when the AC is on. The keywords are simple and practical because many schools are not very comfortable in terms of doing retrofits or technological upgrades to conserve energy and water. Thus the core focus of the Eco-Schools programme is on behavioural changes that can help reduce consumption of resource. Over the three years of the programme, Eco- Schools have collectively reduced their water consumption by 12%. Figuratively, this may not be a huge number but for students to take the lead and come up with simple mechanisms means they are learning to think critically and come up with simple yet profitable solutions.

BGREEN: Does this lead to schools themselves adopting green practices like energy efficient lighting, water recycling and the like?
Nayar:
One of our key messages to schools is that while they may find it useful to do retrofits or install energy saving LED lamps, they don’t have to rush into that. We advocate a more practical approach wherein if at any point of time, for example, they have to replace a damaged light bulb, they could do that with an energy-efficient lights like LED, should they have the finances. If not they could opt for the CFLs. We have also had a very interesting case in a government primary school where they don’t waste even a single drop of grey water from their wash basins. Instead of installing additional plumbing, they trained their janitors to collect the grey water in huge buckets and channel the same into their gardens. In schools, change is certainly taking place but in a gradual way.

BGREEN: EHS-Trakhees has played a pioneering role, from a regulatory standpoint, in spreading sustainability message in the UAE. What were some of the challenges encountered in that journey?
P R Jagannathan:
In October 2007, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai issued a resolution late 2007 that effective from 2008, all constructions in Dubai would be aligned to green principles. At that time, Trakhees- EHS was in the final stages of creating its own green building regulations. These regulations came into force effective January 2008 for all new constructions within the Ports, Customers and Free Zone Corporation/Dubai World jurisdiction. Compliance with these green building regulations was mandatory to obtain an NOC for building permit. This mandatory framework continued through the global economic slump and recovery. As of this day, there are nearly 70 LEED certified new constructions in Dubai of which nearly 70% are from our jurisdiction.
The challenges were several and multifold – the property developers and clients were generally clueless about green buildings per se and the role of such buildings on the environment. But they knew that under the mandatory framework, they couldn’t get the building permit without complying with the green building regulations and obtaining the clearance from Trakhees-EHS. The challenges with the consultants were several. They used to visit our office with a letter of undertaking to comply with all the regulations and were expecting the NOC and the building permit based on that document. This essentially meant that they undertake to comply with the requirement after obtaining the building permit whereas the very purpose of a regulatory review process is to ascertain and make sure that the proposed project fully complies with the green building regulations in terms of robust designs. We were of the strong opinion that sustainability should commence right at the design stage for maximised returns and cannot be left behind to be compensated at later stages.
Once the building is issued with a building permit, the entire focus would be on hitting the ground and proceeding with the construction works rather than looking into incorporating green designs. Hence, such letter of undertakings, notwithstanding the genuine intentions would not help green buildings. We discouraged it right from the beginning and set on the most challenging task of incorporating robust procedures, strong guidelines and other mechanisms to facilitate and encourage the adoption of green buildings and meaningful design submissions; they sharply focussed on matters that are of key importance to the region such as energy and water. Accordingly, important design elements such as energy modelling reports, heat load calculations, water efficiency design predictions, envelope features and overall design consistency were insisted (made a must) and meticulously checked by the review team. These parameters were required to be locked and sealed from a design point of view so that if the contractor follows the designs, the building can expected to be reasonably compliant in the construction phase as well. On the same yardstick with operational measures and awareness, it can expect to perform to the extent of what was committed. What worked for us, in my view point, was making green buildings mandatory. Through strong reviews, we have managed to substantially reduce the gaps on the design compliance front. The stakeholders are aware of what exactly has to be done to achieve green design. The challenge has now shifted to construction and operation/postoccupancy phases.

BGREEN: What would be the challenges in the construction and operation/postoccupancy phases?
Jagannathan:
There is an enormous awareness gap. Notwithstanding the green design and construction, we cannot say with assurance that all the certified buildings are performing as per the original predictions. This is not only a regional issue but a global one as well. It is important that post-handover from the contractor and the consultant, the building must behave ‘green’. First and foremost, the client or the investor and his Facility Management (FM) team needs to understand that the facility that they have inherited is a sustainable building (green building) and accordingly, requires a different set of approach, both technical and behavioural. Likewise they need to be aware that they deserve to derive the benefits of such a building in return for their investments. With this philosophy, they should start demanding the performance. However, in its absence, it would continue to be a property of neglect just like any other building.
Very often, they come to know that measurement and verification is mandatory only after they come to us for an official fitness renewal. There are so many parameters in the operational phase that may completely shift the engineering design estimate so those things have to be factored and calculated again. On the other hand, if the client is aware of the facility, he does not need to wait for regulatory intervention. Rather, he would lead the sustainability efforts in order to get the benefits and return on the investment. At the end of the day, without the full involvement and commitment of management, sustainability cannot become embedded into the corporate DNA. Moreover, sustainability should be incorporated to the extent that it makes a good economic proposition. Sustainability without direct / indirect profitability may lead to green washing.

Nayar: Are LEED certifications permanent? Jagannathan: Initially, LEED gave certificates that didn’t have a validity period. But here, I would like to make a point that we shouldn’t have an obsession towards an international rating system. Whether it is New York or Dubai, all we are talking about is energy, water, waste, operations and behavioural change.

Al Zubi: While this is a good point, what is the solution? Even within the region, we have multiple green building standards, locally developed as well as international.

Jagannathan: Within Trakhees- EHS jurisdiction, you will find mostly commercial and office buildings, residential and warehouse developments. From our discussions with stakeholders, business units and clients, we realised that it is harsh to impose LEED regulations on a warehouse development which has a different nature of usage such as a large storage area with a very small conditioned space (say 100 m2 of air conditioning). So we started developing EHS In-House green building regulations for warehouses, targeting envelope, energy, lighting, controls and water. Instead of leaving it to consultants to mix and match and do the modelling, we prescribed in detail what needs to be done from basic engineering to design to operation. The same approach was adopted for villas as well.

Al Zubi: We have considered coming up with our own green building standards. The issue is when you are trying to build a business case. We have a standalone energy policy supporting the green building policy because energy consumption is a key issue.

Sarfraz Dairkee: In EGBC, when we started in 2004-05, we realised that there were multiple green building rating systems. But there is a difference between imitation and adaptation; what we wanted to do was adapt because only that enables you to get to the root of the matter. For example, then and now, LEED has two credit points for water efficiency. But in the case of the UAE, we found that energy and water have a strong nexus – every m3 of water is equal to 5-5.5 kWh of energy. At that time, we realised that one of the key issues to look at, from a sustainability standpoint is water. Probably, we were ahead of time when we proposed threeline plumbing system to collect and re-use the grey water. Again, in this region, cooling accounts for majority of the energy consumption. So we tried to look into various aspects of air conditioning – for example, in those days, the emphasis was on air-conditioning the building. But it is not the building which needs air-conditioning; rather, it is human beings who need air-conditioning. The moment you adopt this approach, your entire design philosophy changes. Even today, a very large percentage of green building compliance remains a ritual. As long as it remains a ritual, you will never solve the problem. If you try to apply the same solution, you will get the same results. You cannot expect different results with the same solution. It only adds to the costs with very little value addition. To have the value addition, you have to ask what sustainability means to you.

BGREEN: With the Eco- School programme, did you have to face difficulties in adapting a concept developed elsewhere to local conditions?
Nayar:
The good thing about Eco-schools framework is that it is completely malleable. The framework can be tailored to local requirements.

Dairkee: With schools, you don’t have to deal with ‘unlearning’ either.

BGREEN: How did Majid Al Futtaim Properties navigate through the web of multiple green building rating systems?
Al Zubi:
Across our portfolio, we have hotels, big malls, community malls and community developments. We have mall assets in different countries with different climatic conditions. The fact we have sustainability policy, that sustainability is part of our organisation’s DNA is 50% of the job done. From experience, we found that it is easier to achieve LEED for malls and new-build hotels and EarthCheck for existing hotels. For multi-storied, in this case the Waterfront City project in Lebanon, we did gap analysis between LEED, BREEAM and Lebanon Green Building Council’s ARZ Rating System. Unfortunately, ARZ is for existing buildings but we are supporting them to develop standards for new-builds. Recently, we carried out a gap analysis study for old standards and credits. Over the last two years, we have been training our project managers and development managers in all green building standards including LEED and BREEAM. I did this, not only to save money on green building consultants, but to help our team know which credits to choose and raise awareness internally. All over the world, building standards are developed by industry associations, USGBC being a great example. If EGBC came up a national green building standard for the UAE, I would find it easier to follow; similarly, I would prefer to follow the Lebanese Green Building Council’s standards in Lebanon.

Dairkee: Even with green building standards in place, a green outcome cannot be guaranteed. It is important to internalise the truth and adapt it. The solution to our kind of challenge is understanding what the critical thing is. You cannot define it and the moment you do so, it becomes very static. It is a moving object in the sense that your truth will not be my truth. I believe that every building has its distinct personality. Unless we address that, it won’t respond to our likes and dislikes. To know that, we have to identify the owner’s project requirements. The owner himself needs to be aware of the possibilities, dreams and aspirations and define them.

Al Zubi: For aspirations to be translated into action, you still need to give a design brief, look at the spreadsheets, put in the investment.

Jagannathan: The confusion about multiple green building standards and regulations is an issue for consultants. If it is EHS-Trakhees, it is mandatory regulation; if it is Sharjah, there is none; if it is Abu Dhabi, there is the mandatory One Pearl; if it is Dubai Municipality, there is none until next year. In fact, Dubai Municipality’s Green Building regulations were initially applicable to government buildings from 2011; from 2014, they will be extended to the private sector as well. The way I see it, at least in Dubai, we have multiple stakeholders like Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA), Dubai Municipality, Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence and EGBC active in green building movement. There are lot of synergies to be gained by working together. Perhaps, the government can play an important role. Typically, when a goal is set and policy created, the policy should have legal backing and enforced through regulations. Policies help identify priority strategies, regulations and programmes. The programmes would have different time frames, resources, measurable metrics and reporting mechanisms. However, if you have a good technical team who are convinced that a particular approach will get them 18% in energy savings, then it doesn’t really matter whether you have a government regulation or not; what matters is that you are saving energy and water, and that should be the key focus. What the government school achieved by collecting grey water and re-using for landscaping is a much more effective than investing in sophisticated grey water systems. Sometimes, a low cost practical approach that delivers quantifiable savings is preferable over savings promised on paper.

Al Zubi: While a green building code or energy labelling may not be necessary to start saving on energy and water, the challenge is in communicating these savings with stakeholders. We invested in a third party auditor to ensure that our data is proper and correct. We had to do our own benchmarking for the last three years, and it is a lot of hard work. Everyone in the room will agree that you cannot manage something that you cannot measure. We need to benchmark, collect data; we need a platform and a framework. We are benchmarking our assets through GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark). You need a benchmarking framework to see if you are doing well. This will also makes it easy to communicate the technical aspects to the top management. I feel that EGBC can play an important role here.

Jagannathan: While one should not be discouraged by the absence of a benchmarking framework in Dubai, its absence is indeed a barrier for those who would like to assess their performance vis-a-vis others. How will we know what is the energy intensity of a villa in Al Quoz compared to a similar one in Jumeirah or what is the energy intensity of a tower on Sheikh Zayed Road compared to a similar tower in TECOM?

Al Zubi: I believe that transparency is a big part of benchmarking and implementing green building standards. We have taken a big step towards that with our annual sustainability report.

Jagannathan: A great example of such transparency on a broad level is one set by the Energy performance of buildings directive in UK which calls the requirement of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for properties when sold, built or rented and Display Energy Certificate (DEC). While the extent varies within the range of properties, it serves to significantly promote awareness and provide the existing owners as well as potential buyers a complete energy background of the property that they own or planning to own. It also assists in potential tenants in choosing the most energy efficient property.

Dairkee: Enforcement can work only so much. For sustainability to work, it has to come from within. If you are making regulations and you cannot implement them, it is better not to make them at all.

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A look at LEED 4.0

Jourdan Younis outlines what to expect from the highly anticipated LEED Version 4 after speaking to ecopreneur Paul Hawken at the sidelines of Greenbuild 2012 in San Francisco

With press pass in hand and several more barrels of carbon credits burnt, this past month afforded me the opportunity to visit the heart of the sustainable development movement “Greenbuild” first hand, to listen to the Ecology of Commerce guru Paul Hawken and to assess the status of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Version 4 which will be released in 2013.
The second week of November was the 11th annual celebration of sustainable development, an event known as Greenbuild. This year 25,000 industry professionals, students and political leaders joined together in San Francisco to take stock of where we are, the success and setbacks that we had in 2012, and to chart our course for the future.
Greenbuild is developed and organised by the US Green Building Council, but don’t let the US-centric name mislead you—over 120 countries were represented at the conference. In fact, the delegation from the UAE, via the US Embassy’s commercial service office, included approximately 50 of professionals representing over 30 organisations and commercial firms. Of noteworthy representation in recent years were the Abu Dhabi Municipality, TDIC and the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, and this year there were also several key members from the Qatar development community including the Qatar Green Building Council.
In addition to the political delegates, several industry leaders also demonstrated their commitment to embodying the principles of “green capitalism” by discussing the reinforcing values of commerce and sustainability and how they are not only complimentary but also extremely supportive of one another. Environmentalist, entrepreneur and co-author of Natural Capitalism Paul Hawken responded to a question on the public’s perception of climate change with, “historically when there have been messengers that threaten the establishment, we’ve eliminated them – Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King – but in the case of climate change there is no messenger. So instead we’ve killed the message and we have killed it with corporate money, The Wall Street Journal, through the coal industry, to Exxon Mobil. That message and that science has been obliterated by corporate interest.”
Mr. Hawken also discussed his long-term message that businesses need to move past their Industrial Revolution notions when natural resources were abundant and labour was the limiting factor of production. Now, there’s a surplus of people, while natural capital resources and the ecological systems that provide vital life-support services are rare and relatively expensive. He described how by becoming more efficient and “firing” the unproductive tons, gallons, and kilowatt-hours it would be possible for businesses to keep the people who will foster the innovation that will drive future profits and improvement.
On the LEED side, Version 4, the much improved and enhanced iteration of the 10+ year old rating system, will be released in 2013. Some noteworthy enhancements are as follows: The credit categories that we are used to will be modified and actually will look and feel more similar to the Estidama Pearl Rating System. The energy efficiency credits will now use the updated ASHRAE 90.1-2010 standards; this alone is expected to take what would be a LEED Gold project today, and shift it down a notch or two to either Silver or Certified. Then there is a new credit for Envelope Commissioning, which in our air conditioning dependent climate will make a large impact in energy reduction. We always like to say, that it is expensive to air condition the desert, so try to build the envelope system to be as efficient as possible (While providing a comfortable and healthy level of fresh air and exchange) . Once again, in alignment with Estidama, there will also be a Whole Building Lifecycle Assessment credit.
Of the +12 additional credits and credit modifications, the one credit that has received the most resistance from the product industry is the “Building Products Disclosure and Optimisation – Material Ingredients,” which requires that the project team specify 20 products with chemical inventories through a manufacturer inventory, a Health Product Declaration, or the William McDonough inspired Cradle to Cradle program. This will, for the first time, incentivise chemical manufacturers to provide the detailed ingredient list in their compounds so that consumers can be informed of what they are touching and breathing. As this is expected to uncover some ugly truths about the materials that we use in our homes, offices, hospital and schools, the American Chemistry Council has taken a hardline on this credit and has tried to force the US government to stop specifying LEED for its projects (The US government requires LEED Gold for all new federal buildings and is the largest user of LEED with over 11% of all project).
The question that you may be asking yourself, is why go through the process of updating the system at all? With the technological advances and education over the past few years, LEED Gold is now taken as the norm, as opposed to a lofty target only available for the best in class projects. LEED was created to shift development mindsets and to encourage project teams to stretch a bit, so in response to this LEED was always expected to get more challenging every few years and 2013 is the time for an update. As mentioned above, just simply certifying your building in Version 4 would require roughly the same effort as a LEED Gold building under Version 3, so good luck to all of us.

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The Total Office achievement

The Total Office achieves ‘LEED Silver Certification for its flagship Dubai showroom.

The Total Office, a leading UAE-based company specialising in modern, ergonomic and environment friendly workspace solutions, has achieved ‘LEED Silver certification’ for its flagship showroom in Dubai, which is located in the Grosvenor Business Tower in Tecom. The 7,000 sq.ft showroom is visually stunning and has been designed by Mehdi Moazzen from UAE-based design firm Point of Design. In just over a year since the inauguration of the showroom, the company has been certified in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for its commercial interiors. The move was facilitated by Energy Management Services International (EMS), the first company in the Middle East to provide energy management solutions, and follows the ‘LEED Certification’ that was awarded to The Total Office for its Abu Dhabi facility in 2010.

The LEED Green Building Rating System for Commercial Interiors is a set of performance standards for certifying a building’s design and construction in order to promote healthy, durable, affordable, and environmentally sound practices in tenant space design and construction. In line with The Total Office’s commitment to the environment, the showroom follows the regulations of U.S. Green Building Council LEED version 3.0 for Commercial Interiors for high-performance green interiors that are healthy, productive places to work; are less costly; and have a reduced environmental footprint. On an average, The Total Office’s Dubai showroom uses 30% less energy than a typical showroom of the same size and utilises technologies such as automatic dimming lights, LED lighting, energy saving appliances; and ensures indoor environment quality and water efficiency.

“Achieving LEED Silver Certification for our Dubai showroom represents our commitment towards reducing our carbon footprint and follows on from the LEED certification achieved for our Abu Dhabi facility, which was a first in the capital,” said Siddharth Peters, managing director of The Total Office. “The reality is that every person that walks into our showroom has the opportunity to see green building in action and more importantly we get to practice what we preach. Significantly, the manufacturers we partner with are also committed to creating sustainable working environments and so we have a range of green products in store including ergonomic chairs and energy-saving LED lighting.”

A closer look at the LEED certification process reveals that project has reduced potable water use by 24 percent from the calculated baseline design through the installation of low-flow kitchen sink and a 35.37 percent reduction in connected lighting power density was achieved using the whole building method. In addition, ENERGY STAR-rated equipment and appliances equal to 56.74 percent, by rated power, have been installed on the project. Further, the HVAC system has been designed so that every solar exposure has a separate control zone, interior spaces are separately zoned, and all private offices and specialty occupancies have active controls, which are capable of sensing space use and modulating the HVAC system in response to space demand.

“Having worked with EMS on the LEED Certification of both the Abu Dhabi and Dubai offices, we can say with certainty that operating a LEED facility is as practical and cost-effective as it is responsible. In addition to constantly evaluating the efficiency and performance of our facilities, we are in a unique position to advise and help clients meet their sustainability and environmental goals. The process of achieving this certification was comprehensive and has helped us better measure the impact our actions have on our employees, suppliers, community, customers, and environment,” concluded Peters.

The LEED rated showroom displays the latest products from international commercial interior design brands like Teknion, Codutti, Emmegi, Blumohito, Casamania, CBS, HAG, RH, Manerba, Office Electrics, Orangebox, Idea Paint, Koenig & Neurath and Kusch & Co. It features innovative new designs from a vast product portfolio that support in creating healthy, productive work environments. The showroom also gives architects and interior designers a view of the best solutions and designs available for meeting emerging workplace trends and causing only the minimum environmental impact. The showroom features mock-up offices and extensive use of glass allowing natural light to penetrate. There are also a series of temporary and shared workstations typical of today’s open, collaborative and creative workplaces; and mock-ups of lobby, executive cabins, conference rooms and a coffee bar.

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Green gatekeepers

In conversation with Melanie Bensch, Sustainability Manager—Group Sales, at DORMA Germany, BGreen examines the potential green doors may have in pushing sustainable construction forward

As a major design element of a building, doors have a dual function of creating a seal between indoors and outdoors, while remaining aesthetically pleasing. Doors that are part of a sustainably built projects can greatly improve energy efficiency by reducing  heat exchange. Sustainable buildings take the entire life cycle of each element into account, so a green door should ideally be manufactured to ecologically sound standards, while making provisions of the end-of-life phase.

BGreen: Can you highlight some of DORMA’s sustainability goals? How does DORMA reach these targets?
Melanie Bensch: We are committed to sustainable development as one of our business maxims. DORMA’s aim is to ensure energy-saving and resource-conserving production, a high recycling ratio and the longevity of our quality products. With comprehensive advice, innovative products and an international service capability, we are able to make a significant contribution to energy efficiency and to drive cost savings derived from sustainable building concepts. Through our involvement in national organisations around the world, we at DORMA support the idea of the World Green Building Council.  We ensure compliance with our values, mission, vision and strategy through the implementation of corresponding management systems and associated processes.

BGreen: Can you outline strategies employed by DORMA at the end of the product’s useful life?
Bensch:    DORMA Architectural Hardware USA (DAH) recognises the importance of maintaining a policy which encourages environmentally responsible practices for the proper processing and disposal of products which have reached the end of their useful life.
Under this program, DAH will manage the recycling and/or disposal of any DAH manufactured or branded products which have reached the end of their lifecycle and beyond the product’s warranty period, should the owner be unable to perform this function. DAH provides this service free of charge.

BGreen: What are some elements contractors should look out for when selecting doors?
Bensch: Apart from supply-side green ethics, in terms of sourcing environmentally sustainable materials for manufacturing, some things to look out for include the longevity of products, innovative products, an international service capability, contribution to energy efficiency, drive cost savings, comprehensive advice, high recycling ratio.

BGreen: How can automated doors be utilised without affecting the building’s total energy consumption, especially in commercial buildings where doors are used almost every minute of the working day?
Bensch: Revolving doors are sensible climate barriers. Thanks to their construction, revolving door systems reduce the loss of heated and/or cooled air to the outside. Brush seals from natural hair seal the entrance off on three sides; thus the door is never actually open although it rotates and is accessed by users.
Revolving doors save energy and cut costs. The special climate barrier feature ensures that the energy loss in the entrance area is very low – which in turn cuts the cost for heating and/or air conditioning.
The KTC 2 model, for example, uses modern drive technology, which means that requires 18% less energy than its predecessor, which saves energy costs – despite its bigger internal diameter.
BGreen: Could you tell us more about the status of various environmental certifications?
Bensch: A part of DORMA’s green commitment internationally, certification of all international sites to ISO 14001 and ISO 16001 standards are planned for the future. The certification of all German sites according to these standards is currently in preparation.

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