Even as the city ramps up its efforts regarding green building, it appears that ongoing construction work itself is warming up the emirate of Dubai.
Speaking at the first annual congress of the Emirates Green Building Council last week, engineer Hussain Lootah, director general of the Dubai Municipality, reported that ongoing construction work throughout the city has led to a temperature increase of at least two degrees Celsius.
Lootah says the Municipality had identified a number of ‘hotspots’ where the temperature had grown to an excessive degree, and that it is working on a number of projects regarding urban planning, water treatment, and environment and waste management in order to reach the emirate’s ultimate goal of becoming an environmentally friendly city.
“We have identified several hotspots in Dubai, and these areas will see the green cover increased to reduce temperatures,” he says. “The use of electricity consumption rises along with the increase in temperature as a result of ongoing construction around the city, so if we can control the changes in temperature, then we can work towards reducing energy consumption.”
He added that a number of treatment plants that deal with solid sludge “are now working on treating methane gas with a [refinery and oil distribution company] that will help us achieve our goal in sustainable development. We have a methane gas flag project in Al Qusais that we expect to be in operation very soon.”
According to the Municipality, the UAE uses 225 per cent more energy than Europe, its per capita carbon footprint is four times global averages and power production (98 per cent natural gas, two per cent liquid fuels) outpaces demand.
In addition, the UAE generates 2.7 kilograms of waste per head per day, making waste management a key priority area.
Saeed Al Tayer, vice-chairman of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and chief executive of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), says the city has a number of sustainable projects in place regarding conservation and the use of efficient technologies.
Al Tayer says by increasing power production efficiency, the city was able to reduce grid power losses to 3.49 per cent last year – among the lowest in the world, and that going forward, the city is investigating a number of ‘demand response’ strategies to reduce or substitute demand as well as enforcement of thermal energy storage and the use of non-desalinated water for district cooling.
The latest developments come as Dubai continues to ramp up its efforts in green building and construction. As recently as August, for example, Dewa itself took up residence in what it claims is Dubai’s first public sector green building.