Shams Dubai Solar Programme
In 2015, DEWA launched Shams, a programme designed to make it easy for households and building owners to install photovoltaic solar panels on their properties and connect them to the emirate’s electricity grid.
The renewable electricity generated is used on site and any surplus is fed into the grid. This surplus energy is credited and used to offset future consumption of electricity from the grid. Dubai wants clean energy to meet 25 per cent of its power needs by 2030. The production of solar power by consumers, businesses and industries will help it meet this ambitious target.
Dubai World Trade Centre is in the process of installing more than 4MW of solar panels on its premises, while DP World has plans for 50MW of solar capacity distributed across its sites at Jebel Ali and Mina Rashid. More than 450 buildings in Dubai have already been fitted with solar panels under the Shams Dubai programme. By 2030, it is hoped all buildings in the emirate will produce solar energy.
Dubai Lamp Initiative
You may have seen a range of low energy light bulbs, known collectively as the Dubai Lamp, on the shelves of your local supermarket. These LEDs were developed by Dubai Municipality in partnership with Dutch firm Philips. The bulbs’ power ratings range from 1 to 3 watts, and they use 90 per cent less energy than conventional light bulbs.
The lamps are now mandatory in all new real estate developments – without them a building completion certificate cannot be issued. The lamps have an average lifespan up to 25 times longer than a conventional light bulb.
The Dubai Lamp Initiative aims to raise awareness among the public of the need to save energy and reduce carbon emissions. The initiative also supports Dubai’s targets of cutting energy consumption by 30 per cent by 2030.
Dubai Sustainable Tourism Strategy
In 2016, Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) launched a sustainable tourism strategy, which aims to support the continued development of the tourism sector while lessening its impact on the environment.
As part of the strategy, a 12-step guide was produced for hotels to help them cut their energy and water consumption and waste production. The recommendations include installing energy efficient bulbs and lower flow rate showers, toilets and washbasins, using drip irrigation systems controlled by timers in hotel grounds and being more aware about thermostat settings for air conditioning. The guide also encourages hotels to educate staff and guests about sustainable practices.
It has been estimated a hotel could cut its costs by 15-20 per cent each year by managing its resources more efficiently. An increase of just 1 degree Celsius can save up to 5 per cent in air-conditioning costs.
Working in partnership with Dubai Carbon, DTCM has also developed a carbon calculator in order to benchmark hotels across Dubai and identify opportunities for cost savings.
Dubai is hoping for its annual visitor numbers to reach 20 million by 2020, up from 15.8 million in 2017.
Green Building Regulations & Specifications
In 2014, Dubai Municipality expanded its green building regulations and specifications, which had previously only applied to government buildings, to all new constructions in Dubai.
The purpose of the regulations is to improve the efficiency of buildings by reducing the consumption of energy, water and materials during construction and the lifecycle of the building, and thereby lessen the impact of the property on the environment.
The regulations and specifications provide guidelines that real estate developers need to follow in order to meet the minimum requirements. In 2016, Al-Safat, the Dubai Green Building Evaluation System, was introduced to provide buildings with ratings for their compliance with the regulations and specifications. The rating system is split into four classifications: platinum; gold; silver; and bronze. New buildings will not receive a building completion certificate if they do not achieve the minimum bronze rating.