03 March 2014 - 09:00 am, Published by Dewan Architects + Engineers
"As a result of a rapid shift in focus, 65 percent of all green buildings in the MENA region are located in the UAE,while leaders in the construction and architectural industry continue to find innovative ways to curtail environmental damage," said Mohamed Al Assam, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Dewan Architects and Engineers. The comment was made as Dewan Architects and Engineers celebrated completion of three decades of developing sustainable buildings in the region. Two-thirds of the buildings in the MENA region that have been awarded globally-recognised Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (Leed) accreditation are located in UAE.
According to the 2012 Living Planet report by the World Wide Fund for Nature, based on 2008 figures, the UAE has a per capita ecological footprint of 8.4 hectares (gha) per person – the third highest in the world. There is, however, definite improvement, especially since the introduction of rigorousinitiatives such as Abu Dhabi's Estidama requirements thatensure private firms' commitment to four pillars of sustainability;environmental, economic, social, and cultural.Estidama cuts energy consumption by over one third from the baseline.
According to rankings by the World Energy Council (WEC), the UAE placed 102nd out of 129 countries in sustainability, four places improvement on last year. As Dewan marks its Pearl anniversary, it is among the architectural sector's forerunners in adhering to these rigorous regulations. The Premier Inn Hotel and ADEC Future Schools Project – both initiatives designed and supervised by Dewan – have been recognised as the first 2-Pearl Estidama hotel and 3-Pearl Estidama school in the Abu Dhabi respectively. The former was the first project in the Emirate to implement an onsite water recycling network whichyielded water and energy savings of 33%.
Al Assam continued:"Dewan is focused on finding solutions to minimise environmental damage and reduce resource consumption in each of our projects. We are proud of having played our role in the transformation of the Middle East's architectural landscape over the past three decades; the challenge is to maintain this rapid developmentwhile preserving theenvironment forposterity".
Dewan, which was set up in 1984, has contributedto the region's architectural scene and isdriven by the passion of around 300 dedicated staff,with offices in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Qatar, the Philippines, and India.The company was awarded top honours from Building Design Magazine's World Architecture 100 list, an annual barometer of excellence in the industry that is recognised worldwide.
The 2013 rankings saw Dewan ranked 2nd in the top architectural firms in the Middle East and in the top-50 globally. Another sector-leading publication, ME Architect, recently named Mohamed Al Assam, Managing Director of Dewan, the 16th most influential person in the architectural profession in the region.