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8th Annual EmiratesGBC Congress draws attention to circular economy, sustainability

A circular economy is essential for the built-in environment, says Chairperson, World Green Building Council

| | May 2, 2019 | 3:50 pm
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Dubai, UAE, 2 May 2019: The call for a circular economy and sustainability in the built-environment were the key points articulated at the 8th Annual EmiratesGBC Congress, on May 1 in Dubai. Saeed Al Abbar, Chairperson, Emirates Green Building Council, while delivering the welcome address, said, “We continue to drive dialogue while focusing on a circular economy for the built-environment.”

Saeed Al Abbar

Lisa Bate, Chairperson, World Green Building Council, said that a circular economy was essential to the built-environment. Elaborating, she pointed out that the process of production and consumption are closely linked with materials that are selected for re-use. “We are driving the market towards sustainability by bringing people from the building, government and civil society sectors together.” In addition, she said, we are developing the tools and the resources needed, which will help us collaborate, innovate, communicate and advocate green buildings. The UAE, she said, is committed to developing a circular economy, reducing waste and moving towards a net-zero-carbon future. Andrea Di Gregorio, Director, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Administration, Ras Al Khaimah, speaking on behalf of H.E. Munther Mohammed bin Shaker, Director General, Ras Al Khaimah Municipality, said: “The concept of a circular economy is something that moves beyond efficiency to concepts such as re-use, recycling and the replenishment of existing resources.” The application of a circular economy, he said, can be a contributor to the global commitment of moderating climate change, as a part of the United Nation’s mission. With reference to the construction sector, he said that a circular economy can support the security and the supply of raw materials, while also increasing economic competitiveness.

Another aspect that came up for discussion with reference to sustainability was the call to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs).  Aime Shuttleworth, Global Director of Sustainability, Cundall, pointed to the building sector and said that the market needs to be backed by a sense of urgency in order to move forward. Sustainability, she said, can be achieved if every city around the world maximises its potential and resource. “It’s all about finding the right solutions,” she said, to which education and awareness have a key role to play. Global entities, she added, must commit to working and figuring out solutions. And while sustainability is of the essence, drawing the balance is vital. Echoing the thought was Dina Mustafa, Head of Sustainability, Expo2020. She said that while sustainability is a major aspect taken into consideration with regard to the structures at the World Expo2020, the buildings have a legacy factor. Elaborating on the efforts being put in towards the Sustainability Pavilion, at the World Expo 2020, she said, “The structures have a legacy aspect to them, and this was the mandate since the day I walked in.” Eighty per cent of the structures at the site, she said, are built to be LEED-Gold certified and above. In order to meet the expectations on sustainability from the buildings, she added there was a need to change the way in which contractors worked on the project, and an attempt was made to push for a circular economy within the construction process on-site. In addition, she said that the design stage of the project, especially was a humbling experience and that when it comes to sustainability, it’s essential to have an approach where you collaborate and initiate solution-finding, so as to meet targets.


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