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Dewan Highlights the Importance of Sustainable Development at Construction Week Conference
15 December 2013 - 08:30 am, Published by Dewan Architects + Engineers
Three projects by Dewan Architects & Engineers, a regional and international leader in architecture and engineering consulting, are leading the way for sustainable construction in Abu Dhabi – 'but there are tough challenges ahead for the wider industry to improve the UAE's excessive ecological footprint'.

That was message delivered by Dewan at the sixth Construction Week Sustainability Conference. Eng. Jaber, Architect & Sustainability coordinator at Dewan, discussed how the three projects - the Al Bateen Park Development, the Premier Inn Hotel and the ADEC Future Schools Programme– were being successfully developed in accordance with Abu Dhabi's rigorous Estidama standards. These requirements were introduced two years ago to ensure that private firms operating in the region were committed to the region's four pillars of sustainability: environmental, economic, social, and cultural.

The Premier Inn Hotel, holding a 2 Pearl Estidama rating, is the first project in Abu Dhabi to implement an on-site water recycling network.The ADEC Future Schools Project has attained 2 and 3 Pearls, utilising sustainable technologies including solar hot water and PV panels to achieve minimal water savings off 26% and energy savings of 26-30%.

The Construction Week Sustainability Conference brought together industry leaders from the public and private sectors to expound its underlying theme: making a commercial case for sustainability through new buildings and retrofitting existing developments in line with ecologically beneficial activities.

Making strong commitments to improve sustainability is an especially urgent priority in the UAE. Fuelled by its high GDP and living standards in a hot, dry environment which is not replete in natural resources, the country demands significant energy and resources from outside its borders. In the 2012 Living Planet Report by the WWF, it was found – based on 2008 figures- to have the third-highest per-capita ecological footprint in the world.

That is an improvement from the previous year - when it held the unenviable top position - but there is much more work to be done. The UAE's footprint of 8.4 hectares (gha) per person exceeds the global average several times over. Moreover, the country has just 0.6 gha of biocapacity available per person, meaning its residents are overwhelmingly dependent on imports to meet its resource needs, which amasses extensive environmental costs.

More than 60% of overall waste generated from Abu Dhabi comes from construction and demolition: close to a thousand tonnes a day of debris. Up until 2009, a relatively low figure - just 22% of that waste – was recycled. But new procedures and innovations from Dewan have been pioneering in the field. With proper construction waste management plans, the company has managed to recycle in excess of 90% of construction waste in selected projects.

Mohamed Al Assam, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Dewan, said: "It is inexcusable that in the developed world, vast amounts of energy are wasted by poorly designed buildings which have had a deeplydamaging ecological impact. Our responsibilities to our future generations oblige us to design the infrastructure of tomorrow in a way that minimises resource consumption and disruption to the natural environment. That is an integral pillar of Dewan's philosophy – and we are proud of our pioneering approach towards delivering high-end Estidama projects which meet and surpass the standards rightly required in the region".

Backed by a successful three-decade track record in the Middle East, Dewan Architects & Engineers' architecture has fostered a regional and international reputation for designing innovative buildings that are fresh and inspirational in design and function. Its portfolio of developments spans more than ten countries, encompassing commercial and residential towers, mixed-use projects, hospitality and leisure developments, sports complexes, retail malls, healthcare developments, education facilities, and urban planning projects. For the fourth consecutive year, Dewan received top honours from Building Design Magazine in 2013, ranking second throughout the Middle East and in the top-50 globally.