Geen building guidelines and assessment methodology is the first of its kind in the Middle East

Engineering consultant Mott MacDonald and the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD) have launched a sustainable buildings and communities programme for Abu Dhabi, the first of its kind in the Middle East.

The Estidama (sustainability in Arabic) is a scheme comprising landmark sustainable buildings and communities programme that aims to help Abu Dhabi reduce its high consumption rates of energy and materials and encourage world-class practices for sustainable development.

The Estidama programme will be implemented by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council to bring in a series of mandatory regulations and discretionary guidelines to Abu Dhabi, which will be introduced to the market through an incremental process, revolutionising the way in which buildings and community projects are designed, procured and operated.

The programme will introduce a new green building assessment methodology known as the Estidama Pearl Assessment Tool. The adoption of this system will enable the government of Abu Dhabi to certify sustainable buildings and communities based on assessment criteria specifically tailored to respond to the challenges of the current and future environmental, social and economic status of the emirate.

The tool takes into account local factors affecting the development of green buildings in the emirate, such as high temperatures during the summer, low rainfall and lack of groundwater resources, high solar radiation and humidity.

The region’s sensitive marine environment, lack of local building materials and high car dependency were also considered during the development of the guidelines and assessment methodology.

Gordon Hudson, Mott MacDonald’s technical team leader, said: “Considering the aspect, elevation, and use of materials at the design stage makes comfortable temperatures achievable within a building without the need for air conditioning, even in the Middle East. At the same time, solar collectors can be included in designs to meet the buildings’ energy requirements and power any ancillary cooling systems.

“The development of these guidelines will have a far reaching impact on the building sector in Abu Dhabi. At a time when building in the Middle East is booming, this is a very significant opportunity to demonstrate best practice and the new guidelines should place Abu Dhabi as leaders in sustainable buildings in the Middle East.”