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Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

Old Feb 13th 2014, 7:54 am
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Default Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

I'm throwing this question open to PMs of building projects. I throw the terms 'LEED certified' and 'Estidama pearl rating' around like I know what I'm talking about, trust me I don't!
AD currently requires new projects to be at least Estidama pearl rating, Dubai is stating projects must be LEED certified by 2020. From a brief scan of a google search there are specific measurable achievements that have to be met in order to achieve these ratings. For LEED:
"Sustainable sites credits encourage strategies that minimize the impact on ecosystems and water resources.

Water efficiency credits promote smarter use of water, inside and out, to reduce potable water consumption."

And so on, things I'm not convinced of in Dubai. As an example the amount of landscaping/trees in new projects which all requires watering. So how does that fit into being 'sustainable'?

Anyway my question is, are new projects actually really and truly being compliant or is there simply a box ticking exercise going on?
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Old Feb 13th 2014, 8:33 am
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Default Re: Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

Maybe related to this... http://www.vision2021.ae

I was told they are restricting construction of new car parks as they want to be a more sustainable country (hence recent announcement of restricting car ownership down to income).
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Old Feb 13th 2014, 9:52 am
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Default Re: Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

Originally Posted by NorthernLad View Post
Maybe related to this... http://www.vision2021.ae

I was told they are restricting construction of new car parks as they want to be a more sustainable country (hence recent announcement of restricting car ownership down to income).
And a convenient way to prevent certain nationalities from owning cars.

Many Expats (who qualify for car ownership) & Emiratis will have multiple cars and dare I say less fuel efficient ones than the cars of lower income persons, plus other motorised toys. Yet there may be more lower income persons (those who now own a car or can afford one but will be barred in the future) by sheer numbers than the afore mentioned Expats & Emiratis , so on the balance of things which Class of persons uses up more fossil fuels?
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Old Feb 13th 2014, 10:27 am
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Default Re: Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

I have worked on a few LEED certified buildings, one gold and a couple of silver standard. I don't know Estidama except that it is a local UAE standard and not international like the other two, so it may be a meaningless designation.

LEED is reasonably worthwhile, I have only seen it applied to commercial buildings though not residential. It makes the construction a lot more expensive typically but makes sense if you apply the whole life costs and energy costs to your building to get a true comparison. It tends to be more popular where these energy costs are higher and in the US where it originated.

There is a lot of bullshit with it also, some of the stuff is very aspirational and open to 'creative' interpretation to achieve the standards.

In short not a bad idea, but will get slightly twisted in the Middle East as usual to suit their purposes so the net result maybe certification in name only but no actual difference in the buildings.

Edit to say; achieving any of standards doesn't mean you have a sustainable development, as that is not really possible however you could say that you have a 'least worse' development.

Last edited by weasel decentral; Feb 13th 2014 at 10:40 am.
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Old Feb 13th 2014, 4:52 pm
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Default Re: Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

Originally Posted by mikewot View Post
I'm throwing this question open to PMs of building projects. I throw the terms 'LEED certified' and 'Estidama pearl rating' around like I know what I'm talking about, trust me I don't!
AD currently requires new projects to be at least Estidama pearl rating, Dubai is stating projects must be LEED certified by 2020. From a brief scan of a google search there are specific measurable achievements that have to be met in order to achieve these ratings. For LEED:
"Sustainable sites credits encourage strategies that minimize the impact on ecosystems and water resources.

Water efficiency credits promote smarter use of water, inside and out, to reduce potable water consumption."

And so on, things I'm not convinced of in Dubai. As an example the amount of landscaping/trees in new projects which all requires watering. So how does that fit into being 'sustainable'?

Anyway my question is, are new projects actually really and truly being compliant or is there simply a box ticking exercise going on?
At my apartment block, the watering (grassed areas, etc) is all done using treated sewage - you can smell it, faintly. Nothing potable about it. Is someone suggesting that a development with grassed areas, trees, etc, can never be labelled 'sustainable'?
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Old Feb 13th 2014, 5:35 pm
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Default Re: Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

Originally Posted by The Dean View Post
At my apartment block, the watering (grassed areas, etc) is all done using treated sewage - you can smell it, faintly. Nothing potable about it. Is someone suggesting that a development with grassed areas, trees, etc, can never be labelled 'sustainable'?
Part-treated human sewage that still smells of human sewage? I sincerely doubt it, that would be a significant health hazard.
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Old Feb 14th 2014, 4:22 am
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Default Re: Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

Originally Posted by Bahtatboy View Post
Part-treated human sewage that still smells of human sewage? I sincerely doubt it, that would be a significant health hazard.
It definitely is water smelling of sewage that is used in the Gardens / Furjan area
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Old Feb 14th 2014, 5:16 am
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Default Re: Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

Originally Posted by The Dean View Post
At my apartment block, the watering (grassed areas, etc) is all done using treated sewage - you can smell it, faintly. Nothing potable about it. Is someone suggesting that a development with grassed areas, trees, etc, can never be labelled 'sustainable'?
Our garden in the Ranches was fertilised with pellets that were, according to the gardener, recycled waste.

That said, he didn't strike me as being formerly educated, even to kindergarden standard.
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Old Feb 14th 2014, 6:38 am
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Default Re: Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

If you separate urine from faeces, the faeces will break down into the earth, fertilising it. This happens in compost toilets which by design are under ground level and filled in when finished. You can do this on a UK organic farm and it's within regulations. Many alternative communities/festivals do this. But spraying on the surface, or solid pellets I don't know about.
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Old Feb 14th 2014, 8:20 am
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Default Re: Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

Originally Posted by The Dean View Post
At my apartment block, the watering (grassed areas, etc) is all done using treated sewage - you can smell it, faintly. Nothing potable about it. Is someone suggesting that a development with grassed areas, trees, etc, can never be labelled 'sustainable'?
It could be labelled sustainable if the water used was harvested from rainwater.

Under this system first the water is probably from a desalination plant, after it is used residentially then it is going through an expensive treatment system, (plus a separate system is required to remove 'grey' water; water with detergent such as from sinks or kitchens), then finally pumped around for irrigation use on the landscaping. No part of that idea could be considered sustainable.
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Old Feb 14th 2014, 9:14 am
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Default Re: Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

Originally Posted by Beakersful View Post
If you separate urine from faeces, the faeces will break down into the earth, fertilising it. This happens in compost toilets which by design are under ground level and filled in when finished. You can do this on a UK organic farm and it's within regulations. Many alternative communities/festivals do this. But spraying on the surface, or solid pellets I don't know about.
About the fecal bacteria in the sewage water used on the grass, are they somehow neutralising the fecal bacteria?

At the end of the day, does all this sewage treatment use up more resources than straight desalianated water?
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Old Feb 14th 2014, 10:04 am
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Default Re: Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

Originally Posted by Boomhauer View Post
About the fecal bacteria in the sewage water used on the grass, are they somehow neutralising the fecal bacteria?

At the end of the day, does all this sewage treatment use up more resources than straight desalianated water?
To my (albeit limited) knowledge, fecal matter from carnivores has all sort of nasty bacteria, whereas from herbivores its not so bad (eg horse manure). I can't imagine that sewage water is being used for irrigation unless its gone throught the necessary stages to kill off the dangerous micoorganisms. It can have an odour, but it shouldn't smell of shit.

Sewage treament plants require limited energy compared to RO desal plants (which require huge pumps requiring huge amounts of electricity).
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Old Feb 14th 2014, 10:50 am
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Default Re: Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

So KittyKat will avoid the grass at all costs cause she is OCDish
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Old Feb 14th 2014, 11:59 am
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Default Re: Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

Originally Posted by Bahtatboy View Post
To my (albeit limited) knowledge, fecal matter from carnivores has all sort of nasty bacteria, whereas from herbivores its not so bad (eg horse manure).
Does it make a difference if it's faecal matter from vegetarian hippies?
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Old Feb 14th 2014, 7:46 pm
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Default Re: Sustainable Dubai - Fact or Fiction

Its 'brown water' which has been through the first few stages of the treatment process.

I'm a CEEQUAL assessor which is similar to LEED. Its popular in the UK but haven't heard of any projects using it here.
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