Dubai, UAE: According to a press communiqué from dmg events Middle East, Asia & Africa, the organisers of The Big 5, the Gaia Awards 2016 are set to honour the most sustainable construction products and services in the Middle East and Africa (MENA) region. The eight edition of the Gaia Awards, the communiqué said, will take place during The Big 5 on November 23, 2016. The communiqué added that interested companies can submit their applications until September 8, 2016, by visiting the Awards website.
The entry criteria for the Awards, the communiqué highlighted, focus on three factors: People, planet and profit. Dr Alaa K Ashmawy, Professor of Civil Engineering, Dean of the School of Engineering at the American University in Dubai and Chairman of the Gaia Awards judging panel, explained: “The ‘people’ component deals with how the product contributes to the human welfare, comfort, and health. The ‘planet’ aspect addresses the impact of the product on the planet, in terms of reducing greenhouse gases and reducing, reusing, and recycling material. The ‘profit’ component ensures that the product is suitable for implementation in the MENA region and is economically sustainable.”
The communiqué revealed that a panel of industry experts, with acclaimed credentials, will select the overall Gaia Awards winner and the winners for product sectors, divided into MEP Services; Construction Tools & Building Materials; Building Interiors & Finishes; Building Envelope & Special Construction and Smart Building & Design Technologies.
Citing the example of last year’s winner Basalt Rock Composite, which developed a product that replaces steel bars with basalt in concrete reinforcing, Ahmad Bukhash, Director of Urban Planning of the Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA) and member of the Gaia Awards judging panel, said that the Awards is looking to “promote sustainable products available in the market and support companies that are truly revolutionizing the industry”.
The US Green Building Council (USGBC), the communiqué mentioned, had named the United Arab Emirates, with the eighth-largest stock of LEED-certified buildings outside the United States, as one of the top 10 markets for Green Building space in 2015. It added that Dubai was ranked eighth in a list of top 10 global cities for Green Buildings by consultancy firm Solidiance.
According to the statistics released by Dubai-based Green Technologies, as of August 2016, the United Arab Emirates count on fact 221 USGBC LEED-certified buildings, followed by Saudi Arabia (124) and Qatar (97), said the event organiser.
Furthermore, the organiser revealed that among the projects currently under LEED certification process, the United Arab Emirates ranks number one in the Middle East with 609 LEED-registered projects, followed by Saudi Arabia (99), Qatar (82), Lebanon (37), Oman (27) and Jordan (23).
Dr Ashmawy said: “The government plays a very important role in promoting and enforcing policies to reduce carbon footprint in the UAE. Government entities such as DEWA, ADWEA, and SEWA are implementing new plans and policies in this regard, and sustainability initiatives such as Abu Dhabi’s Estidama and Dubai’s Green Building Code are really promising.”