The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council Construction Essay

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Estidama, which means sustainability in Arabic, is an initiative developed by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council under the intellectual legacy of the Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan's dream of creating and building a sustainable future for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It is an integral part of the Abu Dhabi's Vision 2030 and manifestation of visionary governance with an aim to promote thoughtful and responsible development across the Emirate (Estidama).

The primary agenda of Estidama is to preserve and enrich physical and cultural identity of Abu Dhabi by improving the quality of life, especially based on four pillars of sustainability; environment, economic, social and cultural (Estidama).

The Estidama Pearl Rating System is a framework designed to achieve sustainability in design, construction and operation across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The Abu Dhabi Executive Council has mandated that all new communities, buildings and villas be required to achieve the minimum 1 Pearl Rating. Government-owned and operated buildings are required to achieve at least a 2 Pearl Rating (Estidama).

Following are the Estidama Guidelines set to save natural resources, reduce impact on environment, increase quality of life, conserve energy and water and enhance reputation and marketability.

1 Pearl (Mandatory) in effect from 15th Nov, 2010

Less than 10 Villas

Buildings less than 75000m2 GFA

1 Pearl (Mandatory) in effect from 15th Nov, 2010

10 Villas and above

Buildings more than 75000m2 GFA

2 Pearls and above



All other "government" projects

Source: (Planning for Estidama)

The Estidama Villa Products Database has been determined to be compliant with the Pearl Villa Rating System requirements. It covers a wide range of categories all of which are applicable to pearl villa rating system:

Water Fixtures and Fittings

Insulation Products and Systems

Windows and Glazing

Air Conditioning Equipment

Solar Hot Water Systems (Estidama Villa Products Database)

(Please Refer to Appendix)

Significance of Estidama and PVRS:

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is evolving and Estidama plays a significant role in its evolution. If the Emirate continues to build and consume, the way it is going now, economic prosperity, quality of life, cultural richness, social integrity and environmental systems will decline and this underlies the need for Estidama (Estidama: Pearl Villa).

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi receives just about 100mm of rainfall in a year. With minimal rainfall and limited groundwater resources, Abu Dhabi out of necessity obtains much of its water from the sea through the desalination process and this process requires large amounts of energy and results in salt being pumped back into the sea. Another local challenge within the Emirate is the extremely high temperatures regularly exceeding 400C and large amounts of energy are required for lighting, appliances and air conditioning homes. The implementation of Estidama requirements will help conservative energy by ensuring they consume less to meet the daily needs of residents across the Emirate (Estidama: Pearl Villa).

Estidama: At the forefront of Sustainability in Abu Dhabi

Estidama has been extremely in supporting the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 and the Government's drive to be among the world's top five governments. Through its endeavors the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Commission is proud to have accomplished remarkable milestones in terms of sustainability. With support of this initiative, UPC continues to work diligently and closely in sustainable development whereby generations to come will benefit.

Abu Dhabi Economic Vision has been developed on the basis that all policies, initiatives, plans must be sustainable in order for any true development to take place and thereby UPC, spearheaded the establishment of the Arab World's first sustainability rating system named Estidama Pearl Rating System.

Organizations, government and the whole community are closely aligned to the success of Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a whole and therefore align strategy with the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. National Bank of Abu Dhabi impacted by many stakeholders identified in line with the ISD 26000 guidelines meeting their needs and addressing issues and interests in achieving core sustainability (Catalysing Change, 2011).

The Department of Transport responding to stakeholders' priorities developed a sustainability framework representing an integrated and multimodal transport system (Building a Sustainable Transport System, 2010).

The research is expanded to overall sustainability in Abu Dhabi with more detailed statements on focus areas pertaining to sustainability by verbalizing and sharing intentions and values to better communicate direction and what relevant shareholders want to achieve.

Buildings/Designers following Estidama Guidelines:

Projects embellish the core philosophies and guidelines of the Estidama program combining a cultural and technical framework for energy, water and construction standards based around sound architectural principles of passive measures linked to high efficiency in building systems backed up with responsible renewable technology. The Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort achieves a first in attaining innovation credits and has achieved the five pearl rating of the Estidama Pearl Rating System (UPC Awards First-Ever Estidama Five Pearl Rating to Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre in Al Ain, 2011).

Following are the architectural guidelines organized in different categories that are fundamental to achieve sustainable development and these form the heart of the Pearl Rating System.

Building G+4

Maximum of G+4 (five storey) and 20 meters in height to the frontage property line to provide strong definition of street space.

Façade Treatment

Wall penetration with a relatively high degree of solidity with windows punched into the wall is more climatically appropriate. The extent of window area is up to 30-45%. Both vertical and horizontal expressions are appropriate for the façade of Al Ain buildings.

Response to Climate

Ground floor of buildings considers a covered, shaded space utilizing a colonnade, or gallery space.

A horizontal canopy may be applied to facades of buildings, or supported on free standing structures.

Sun shading may be achieved at both ground and upper levels using a brise-soliel device.

Window areas may be shaded through the use of screens.


Surfaces that have texture such as concrete, plaster, and wood finishes are more vibrant under sunlight.

Clear glass will work effectively if properly shaded.

Using shading devices to block or diffuse light.

Color and Patterns

A color palette that is typically monochromatic and the ones express base color.

Organic geometrical vocabulary is an appropriate design approach for the patterning if buildings.

In addition to the architectural guidelines, Estidama guidelines are embellished through other techniques such as high level of building insulation, low flow fixtures for effective water usage, roofing technology, and planting of drought tolerant species and native indigenous plantings (Al Ain Architectural Guidelines).

Impact of Application of Estidama on the Performance of Buildings:

Estidama provides building owners and operators a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction and operation and maintenance solutions. Estidama being an integrated approach brings valuable environmental savings and outcomes while also saving money through energy, water and waste reduction over the life of the building.

The Spectrum Light Block Factory located in the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi established in a land size area of 45000 m2 producing 1000 m3 of Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) material per day by making full use of automated German plant. The production capacity of the factory could be expandable up to 1300 m3 in a single day. The Estidama branding has been clearly identified in the factory as having achieved Pearl Rating System requirements and as a result AAC products demonstrates a reduced environmentally load of at least 30% in energy use compared to other products. (Please Refer to Appendix). Moreover, AAC products provide savings in steel and concrete used in building while making use of only 33% of raw materials for making regular blocks (Spectrum Light Block Factory).

Estidama encourages applying the concept of green roofs and external landscaping in order to mitigate heat island effects by Dubai Municipality. And therefore NRC-IRC constructed a filed roofing facility at its Ottawa campus and this efficiently reduced energy demand from 6.5-7.0 to less than 1.0 kWh/day in the garden roof, a reduction of over 75% effective in controlling heat gain than in reducing heat loss by means of several mechanism involved such as shading, insulation, evapotranspiration and thermal mass (Al-Sallal, 2012).


Al Ain Architectural Guidelines. (n.d.). Retrieved November 11, 2012, from

Al-Sallal, K. A. (2012). Mitigating Heat Gain Using Greenery of an Eco-House in Abu Dhabi. International Journal of Environment and Sustainability .

(2010). Building a Sustainable Transport System.

(2011). Catalysing Change.


Estidama Villa Products Database. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2012, from

Estidama: Pearl Villa.

Planning for Estidama.

Spectrum Light Block Factory. (n.d.). Retrieved November 11, 2012, from

UPC Awards First-Ever Estidama Five Pearl Rating to Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre in Al Ain. (2011, June 4). Retrieved November 11, 2012, from


Appendix 1: Water Fixtures and Fittings

PW R1 Requirements

Appendix 2: Insulation Products and Systems

RE-R1 Requirements

RE-2 Requirements

Appendix 3: Windows and Glazing

Appendix 4: Air Conditioning Equipment

RE-R1 and RE-R3 Requirements:

RE- 1 Requirement:

Appendix 5: Solar Hot Water Systems: