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Estidama doesn’t stop at air quality

Ensuring good indoor and outdoor air quality is an important prerequisite for the layout and design of the urban…

| | Mar 10, 2015 | 4:28 pm
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Ensuring good indoor and outdoor air quality is an important prerequisite for the layout and design of the urban environment. Yasmeen al Rashedi, Acting Estidama Program Manager, Urban Development &Estidama Sector, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, highlights steps taken in this direction in the emirate in an interview with Climate Control Middle East.

What measures has Estidama implemented towards better Indoor Environmental Quality in buildings in Abu Dhabi?

Through the Pearl Rating System, Estidama creates ‘liveable indoors’ that is to the benefit of all building users. Mandatory requirements include maintaining the quality of air drawn into buildings for healthy ventilation, through to the elimination of tobacco smoke from sources inside and outside the building. Estidama also encourages designers and owners to eliminate harmful emissions from materials used in the fit-out of buildings that suppliers are increasingly able to cater to. Estidama does not stop at air quality – it also encourages best practice design to improve thermal and visual comfort through active and passive measures.

Is there an integrated plan to reduce air pollution (particulate matter from vehicle exhaust) in the urban outdoor environment in order to safeguard the IAQ in the built-environment?

Does this include a broad strategy for traffic management?

Estidama creates ‘liveable outdoor’ spaces in the same approach as it does for the indoors, which is through a holistic approach. It promotes accessible community facilities and active urban environments that reduce car use and enable healthy lifestyles at the same time.

Yasmeen al RashediThroughout the planning process, Estidama works with developers to create comprehensive travel plans, which promote walking, cycling and public transport. Where car use cannot easily be replaced, priority is given to more efficient forms of transport and car-sharing vehicles.

Estidama continues to work with all Government agencies on significant infrastructure projects, such as the Metro and light rail transit that ensures all developments are coordinated with the Emirate’s framework plans and master plans, in line with Leadership’s Vision 2030.

A key concern in urban areas is noise (including low-frequency noise) from vehicular traffic and large District Cooling plants in dense residential and commercial areas. What is the Urban Planning Council doing towards addressing noise, which has health ramifications?

It is mandatory to undertake urban systems assessments for all new Estidama buildings, and along with the UPC’s Urban Development planning process, [it] ensures appropriate adjacent land uses to residential areas that mitigate the source of noise. Estidama provides specific noise-reduction targets that are currently optional for developments, but are actively encouraged.

The US Green Building Council has a ‘LEED for Schools’ programme to address Indoor Environmental Quality issues in schools, including air quality and acoustical comfort. Is Estidama considering introducing its own IEQ for schools programme, in order to improve student health (safeguard against incidences of allergic rhinitis and asthma in children) and also to provide a pleasant learning environment for children?

The current school building programme in Abu Dhabi has seen record numbers of new schools being rated as 3 Pearl buildings. In addition to the mandatory elements applicable to all buildings, the new schools also achieved 100% compliance with regards to material emissions, ensuring a high level of indoor quality for children and staff. Schools also achieve Pearl Rating System (PRS) Credits for providing views and a visual connection with the outdoors that provides a pleasant and productive learning environment.

What measures is Estidama taking to encourage retrofitting of existing buildings to save energy and water in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi?

The UPC is not in a position to discuss existing buildings at this stage.

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