Over the recent years, has Dubai evolved to a more sustainable and eco-friendly city? This paper explains the current sustainability of Dubai’s construction and other means. It shows that the city has a certain lack of awareness toward the more eco-friendly living and society. Evaluating the lack of the resident’s initiations toward a more eco-friendly city shows that the Dubai has no requirement to be sustainable. However, the current sustainability is being improved. Many people, such as Pradeep Parmar, founder and owner of Enthusiasm Star Ltd. has tried to introduce a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to plastic bags in supermarkets around the city and the country. Jute bags are more sustainable towards the environment and he is trying to implement that into the society of Dubai. Shirish Patel, an architect who has been living in the UAE for more than fifteen years, has also tried to give more sustainable options to the projects that he has worked. In an interview with him, he had outlined the current pros and cons of Dubai’s sustainability and eco-friendliness. He also suggested that some ideas for a more sustainable and eco-friendly city. In conclusion, although many sections of Dubai are not the most eco-friendly out of all, the city is trying its best to be as sustainable as possible and they can improve on these if they try to implement some of the concepts and ideas that were introduced and outlined by Shirish Patel and Pradeep Parmar. If Dubai tries a bit harder and aims to complete their goal of total sustainability, they may just be able to reach another milestone once again.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents……………………………………………………………………………………………………………2
Current Positive Effects of Sustainability…………………………………………………………………………..4
Current Negative Effects of Construction………………………………………………………………………………….6
Possible Improvements on Dubai’s Sustainability………………………………………………………………8
In 2005, Dubai was rated as the highest carbon footprint city in the world, as conducted with a research by the WWF Living Planet 2008 report. The UAE has been found to have the carbon footprint of about 9.5 global hectares. As a result, the UAE was ranked as the 45th highest carbon footprint country. The United States is the second largest carbon footprint country while Kuwait ranks in at third. There are quite a number of factors that outline Dubai’s current sustainability. The are the positives factors, such as the implementation of economically friendly public transport systems such as buses which can decrease the amount toxic pollution that is given off by heavy duty cars. In an interview with Shirish Patel, this method is discussed and analyzed more thoroughly. There are also negative factors of sustainability in Dubai such as the emission cuts and the costs of doing so. Being a new technology, sustainability is not very well known among architects who have been constructing major buildings such as the Burj Al Arab and the Burj Khalifa. In addition to the negative factors of sustainability, improvements of how to implement sustainability with low costs are discussed in detail with Shirish Patel in his interview. All of these factors affect the sustainability of Dubai but the true question is that over the recent years, has Dubai evolved to a more sustainable and eco-friendly city?
In today’s time, Dubai is most known for its luxurious lifestyle, the massive boom in construction and its ability to reach milestones in this field with the Burj Khalifa. Also it is known to be the most attractive city in the whole of the Middle East. Soon, Dubai could become the next New York City. But with so many buildings and structures that have been erected, sustainability to the environment is also a major cause for the depletion of the ozone layer in certain parts of the world. Dubai has many building with eco friendly leads such as the newly constructed Burj Khalifa and the Emirates Towers on the Sheikh Zayed Road. In an interview with Shirish Patel, an architect from the UK and has been living in the UAE for more than 15 years of his life. His input on this idea and current situation is merely based on his personal experience of living and working in this country. He believes that Dubai is trying to create a more environmentally friendly city by implementing such positive factors such as the eco-friendly public transport systems such as buses. Also, to make life easier for many travelers in the country where heat is the main climate for around eight months, creating stations where people can sit indoors and wait for the buses to arrive. This is positive as people need not to wait in the heat but can relax in the cools of the Air conditioning system while they wait for their transport to arrive. Dubai also tries to save energy and recycle as much as possible by constructing the buses from used metals and other wastage that may be of use. He also believes that Dubai is able to improve their current sustainability on buildings by implementing new methods of construction and living. For example, many buildings could implement the new technology of solar paneling and the ability to use fiber optic wires to channel the energy collected from the solar panels and convert them to energy to give electricity to certain areas of the building. Other implementations could be the reduction of the A/C system in certain areas of the building and the usage of natural air usage to cool the office during the times when heat is most unbearable. For example, the if a company was working in a building during the summer months, then the natural air that was stored during the winter months could be slowly used in the office. Also, the use of lights during the daytime in schools or public places should be eliminated as enough light is emitted from the Sun and the implementation of more windows could aid this situation. Many other methods of energy saving and ethical energy storage could be implemented in this situation. Aside from these implementations, the Green Building Council of UAE has tried to help with this current situation. The Green Building council is the group that was formed in the US to help sustain the over usage of energy and other methods of sustainability. Over the years, the Green Building Council has expanded to many countries and in 2009, they moved to the UAE after looking at the amount of carbon footprint that the country was making. Along with the government of Dubai, the Green Building Council has been a major part of the implementation of sustainability in the UAE for all of the major buildings and monumental sections of the city. Currently, Dubai remains at the top of the carbon footprint list, although currently actions are being taken to change the ways and methods of their expansion.
Although Dubai has taken the precautionary methods to sustainability within the city, many inhabitants are not satisfied with the methods of sustainability. For example, people are not willing to turn off the lights during the daytime as they complain that they are unable to see what they are doing. By doing this, residents are wasting unnecessary amounts of electricity during the times when it is not needed. For example, schools in Dubai use a significant amount of electricity during the day. This example is completely based on personal experience. Instead of using so much electricity during the day, they should possibly consider saving that electricity since schools run during the daytime and there is enough sunlight during the entire day. A possible extension of windows in the classrooms could aid the problem of students being unable to see in class. The schools should only be using the lights when natural sunlight is not available, such as during the winter months. Even then, the bulbs in for the lighting should be refitted with fluorescent lights, as they are much more efficient in energy conservation. Another method of conservation is possibly the implementation of intelligent building to new structures that are arising and to accumulate this method into current buildings around the city of Dubai. Intelligent Building is a concept that has been developed recently. Starting out in the US, this concept has established itself in many major countries such as the US, UK and many more. Basically, the concept behind this method was to create a system that will allow humans to remain in their comfort zones, along with controllability of the state-of-the-art technology. For example, a person would go into their room in a hotel and the computer would recognize the occupant. Then according to the calculations of the occupant’s current body heat, the air conditioner level is adjusted. There are many other advanced features like those and it is also manually adjustable by the occupant. Unfortunately, the costs of these projects and initiations are too overpriced since there is a certain lack of architects and engineers that are experienced in this field of work. Since there is a lack of resources, the cost of bringing these people to the city and paying them to implement their concepts of sustainability can be difficult. Also, in the current market conditions, many people will seek the opposite of this idea of involving these people since not only will it be expensive to bring them to the city and to supply them with the necessary materials, but it mean that construction and labor costs will be increased since it requires more depth. In an interview with Shirish Patel, he speaks about the unaccounted usage of water bottles and plastic bags in the country. He says that they should eliminate the amount of water bottles around the city and/or keep them exclusive to hotels and restaurants. These water bottles are unnecessarily being filled up in landfills around the city. One of the main reasons that people do not recycle is because there is no external power that requires them to do it. For example, although it is not a national law, states such as New York and Seattle enforce fines on citizens who throw away certain recyclable items. If Dubai implements such laws towards the residents of the city, Emiratis and Foreigners, then the amount of wasted recyclable items would drastically reduce. Also, the usage of plastic bags should drastically be reduced. Implementation of paper bags or the new concept of ‘jute bags’ should be added in the supermarkets and other bazaars. Enthusiasm Star, a company that has specialized with jute bags in Dubai has introduced these concepts to big supermarkets such as Carrefour, Hyperpanda and other major supermarkets in the city. There are many other ways to conserve energy in Dubai but I do believe that the city is making some form of an effort to make itself a more environmentally friendly location.
In 2007, Enthusiasm Star Ltd. began an initiation to bring a product that was interesting and reusable at the same time. Jute bags were, and in some areas, is a popular trend of the Indian community. Pradeep Parmar, the Managing Director of Enthusiasm Star Ltd., says he had seen this trend for many years of his life in India. When he realized what waste plastic bags can do to environment, he decided to implement these bags to the market in Dubai. He had penetrated the strongest market available, the supermarkets. Instead of supplying the bags himself, he had pitched the idea to major supermarket brands such as Carrefour and has had many successful deals with this new concept. Today, many people use these bags as they completely reusable and quite efficient. Viewing this trend emerge in the market, many other brands, such as Gulf News, the leading newspaper company in the UAE, began giving free jute bags with a subscription of their magazine to promote the idea of conservation. If the UAE does continue to move forward in this fashion, they could be well off as a more conservative country. Although, Dubai could do much more to bring their city and the name of the country to a more sustainable and conservative location. Numerous opportunities have arisen to create a more eco-friendly society. Hotels in the UAE are quite sustainable in the current times but there could be more to help that. For example, when a new occupant checks into their room, the in-room refrigerator should be kept off unless the occupant should choose so. By doing this, the hotel will eliminate the usage of valuable electricity. Also, the bulbs in the room should be replaced with fluorescent lights to help conserve the energy. Another idea could be to refurbish the entire hotel with the Intelligent Building concept. If current and upcoming hotels would install this concept, then they would see a dramatic increase of media attention, which could boost up their sales. Since this concept is fairly new and has been tested in the US, the hotels would be likely to assess the pros and cons of installing this new technology. It would save a lot of energy which could then be implemented in other areas of the city. Besides hotels, Dubai could also conserve energy by reduction of cars in the city. Currently, Dubai has installed eleven Metro stations around the city while thirty-six are still under construction. Once all of these stations open up, then the need of cars would be unnecessary. This would reduce the amount of petrol that is being used and the pollution that the cars are causing toward the city. Along with transportation, many people would like to ride bicycles in and around the city but there is not proper walkway or lanes around the city to implement this. If there are lanes for cyclers around Dubai, then the amount of people driving would also drastically reduce. More than the transportation that should be changed, it should be the infrastructure. Buildings around Dubai are one of the most un-efficient and pro-wastage and they should be changed. For example, buildings should be refitted with the Intelligent Building concept and/or they should be able to conserve energy with other methods. Some other methods could be to implement recycling stations in each building. Also it should be made that the inhabitants and/or workers should be fined if they do not comply with the recycling law. Some other methods could be to conserve power in the buildings at all costs. For example, buildings such as office buildings use lights during the daytime, which uses quite a bit of energy. Many offices have windows all around the floor, so natural light is able to provide enough for the inhabitants to work during the daytime. For offices with deeper spaces, the new technology of fiber optics can help pipe in natural light to those certain office spaces. Along with the improvements of lighting in buildings, the air conditioning could be another factor. Since the air conditioning is another factor in energy conserving, the option of natural wind should be an alternative. During the winter months, the cool air should be collected and stored to be kept for the months when the heat is most unbearable. Unfortunately, since the winter months are too less in this region of the world, this option could be unsuccessful. If this option is unavailable, then energy conserving air conditioners should be implemented. By this, it means that the A/C would run for some time until the room is cool, and then switches off. All of these ideas have been outlined by Shirish Patel during the interview that was conducted. If Dubai is able to continue to sustain itself in the energy conserving world, and try to implement some of the ideas that are mentioned above, then the city is sure to be recognized not only for the amazing architecture and tourist locations, but also for the environmentally sustainability that they have been trying to accomplish. Dubai could soon be well off known as one of the most sustainable cities of our time.
Dubai has been known as one of most carbon footprint cities in the world in 2005 and since then the city has been trying to do everything it can to eliminate that title. Dubai, also known as the concrete jungle of the Desert, has been on its way to create and break milestones and records. But with all this construction and developed going along in progress, the downturn is that they have not been paying attention at the sustainability of the buildings and other major factors in the city. Some examples are the unaccredited buildings in the city, the current Metro transportation system, the inefficiency of the cars in the city and the lack of residential facilities such as lanes for bicycling and walking. These only some of the problems around Dubai. However, Dubai has been doing its part toward the community by implementing some of the major sustainability concepts into the most known buildings in the city, such as the Burj Khalifa and the Emirates Towers. Shirish Patel, an architect who has been living in the UAE for more than fifteen years, has experienced the positives and negatives of living and working in the country and watching this expansion grow over time. In an interview conducted with him, he had outlined the necessary measures for Dubai’s sustainability towards their expansions overall. He suggested that Dubai introduce improvements to buildings and landmarks all over the city, and the efficiency of the city’s transportation systems. For example, he suggested that people should reduce the amount spent in cars and the government should request the residents to use other transportation means such as the newly developed Metro system and other basic transportation systems such as the bicycles and walking. He also suggested that the government create lanes for cyclists in the Dubai to roam around more freely than they actually do. Other basic improvements were that supermarkets should change their methods of using plastic bags to simple paper bags and/or jute bags. Pradeep Parmar, founder and owner of Enthusiasm Star Ltd., has helped introduce the jute bag system in the UAE in an effort to reduce the amount of plastic bags that are being used in and around Dubai. Many of these ideas for sustainability are able to be enforced by the general public in the UAE and if they could help initiate a more green and sustainable lifestyle in the UAE, specifically in Dubai, then the city is bound to receive more and more support from countries which have already implemented many of these ideas into their own cities. So, the question remains: Over the recent years, has Dubai evolved to a more sustainable and eco-friendly city? I believe that the city has not become fully sustainable and eco-friendly but they have been implementing an effort to do so.
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