Abu Dhabi’s initiative ushers in green regime

Nine years ago, Abu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council ushered in a sustainability initiative called Estidama.

Pearl Rating System is a must for all new projects since 2010. Sammy Dallal / The National
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Nine years ago, Abu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council ushered in a sustainability initiative called Estidama.

A key component to this was the Pearl Rating System, the region’s first sustainability rating system designed to assess the performance of buildings, communities and villas.

But it wasn’t until 2010 that the PRS was a requirement for all new developments.

“The PRS has been integrated into the building permit process at the various municipalities, such that the construction of an applicable development is only possible if a project complies with the PRS requirements,” a UPC spokeswoman says.

These requirements help to reduce energy and water use, carbon emissions and construction waste.

The UPC says design teams must follow the integrated development process, one of seven PRS credit categories, to maximise the use of sustainable designs.

New buildings have energy-­efficient heating ventilation and air-conditioning systems, and lighting that reduces energy consumption.

A building’s envelope is required to have a particular thermal transmittance and air leak rate to be met for the walls, roofs and windows.

Certain types of fixtures and fittings are done inside of the buildings to decrease the chance of leaks.

The UPC audits the construction stages to “ensure that proper construction and installation of materials takes place”

Then there is a follow-up on all development projects making sure that the “actual implementation of the various components during the construction stage”.

Buildings constructed prior to 2010 widely remain unregulated and certainly without “greening” standards.