When Expo 2020 comes around, Dubai aims to become one of the top ten sustainable cities in the world — mainly though implementing the green building regulations.
“The civic body has already started its efforts towards creating one of the most sustainable cities in the world … [and] it has recently formed a special committee for sustainability which will study and execute green initiatives,” Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, announced on Tuesday.
Speaking at the CEO Dialogue on Tuesday, entitled, “Rethinking Sustainability”, Mohammad Mashroom, director of General Projects Department, explained that the municipality is implementing the green building rules in its new projects, and are taking the necessary steps to change the old systems to energy saving systems.
“The areas under our responsibility include street lighting, roadway lighting, parks, community facilities, parking lots, city landscaping, residential and commercial buildings, pedestrian and bicycling pathways,” said Mashroom.
He said that solar power is one of the most cost-effective, cleanest, most-affordable forms of renewable energy available.
“It is free, unlimited and versatile. It can be used for low-power purpose as well as larger ones — from garden lights to water heaters, pumps, buildings and grid-tied generating stations. It requires very little maintenance and lasts for many years,” said Mashroom.
So while the city focuses on becoming a sustainable city, there continues to be challenges. One of the main challenges, explained Nasser Al Shaiba, director of Environment and Safety at the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, is converting waste into energy. So while the technology exists at the Al Qusais landfill, it cannot be carried out until the next ten years.
“There is not enough waste in Dubai to convert it into energy. We could use the country’s waste together, but then we will have the problem of logistics in transporting waste from Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi,” he said, Dubai Municipality aims to start the process of converting waste into energy within the next few years and sign several memorandums of understanding with other countries in 2014.
While the government continues to execute numerous plans in its bid to become a sustainable city, families also have to play a role in saving energy and teach their children simple steps in saving water and electricity.
“People continue to have negative practices and tend to leave their lights on during the day, or use excessive water while cleaning their vehicles. Parents have to do more in teaching their children, as well as their housemaids and gardeners, on ways to save energy,” added Al Shaiba.