UAE is directing its efforts towards sustainability and a greener future in order to mitigate the effects of climate change and improve its economy. In line with its efforts, it announced the UAE Net Zero 2050 strategic initiative, with the aim of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, making the Emirates the first country in the Middle East to do so.
It is worth noting that this initiative aligns with the Paris Agreement in 2015 that was signed by 195 countries, including UAE, with the objective to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and limit the increase in the global temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
UAE has been investing in clean energy projects to increase the contribution of clean and renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions. It has already started to construct net-zero energy buildings. Let’s dig deeper into net-zero energy buildings.
A net-zero energy building is a type of building that supplies its energy through renewable energies, such as solar panels and wind turbines, created on the building’s site, which means that the total amount of energy used annually in the building is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site. This leads to zero carbon emissions which positively impacts the environment and saves energy costs.
In order to construct a net-zero energy building, developers should use low-carbon materials, such as glue laminated timber instead of steel and concrete, install many windows in the building to provide enhanced natural ventilation and reduce the usage of air conditioning or heaters and use high-efficiency lighting such as LED lights.
In the following, we will take a closer look at the net-zero energy buildings in the UAE, especially in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Eco-Villa Project is the first net-zero energy project in UAE, completed in 2017. It is located in Masdar City, one of the world’s most sustainable communities. This 405-square meter villa, which contains around four bedrooms, was developed by Masdar Clean Energy, or also referred to as the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, a leading developer of renewable energy projects based in Abu Dhabi.
According to Estidama, a sustainable initiative of the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, Eco-Villa has been awarded a four-pearl rating, a green building rating system that is used to evaluate sustainable building development. It uses around 72% less energy and 35% less water and displaces around 63 tons of carbon dioxide annually than any other villa of the same size in Abu Dhabi.
It is worth noting that this villa has eco-friendly features, such as rooftop solar panels, LED lights, and water-efficient taps. Because of its energy and water-efficient designs, Eco-Villa’s residents will receive low water and energy bills.
Masdar City Square project is a new project developed by Masdar Clean energy and will include the first net-zero energy building. It is located in Masdar City, covering an area of 29,000 square meters and a Gross Floor Area of 50,000 square meters. It is worth noting that the construction began in 2022 and is expected to be completed in 2024.
In regards to the structure, this project will consist of seven buildings, six of which will be built according to the highest green construction certifications and will receive a 4-pearl rating by Estidama, LEED Platinum, the highest level of certification in the LEED program, which is a symbol of sustainability achievement, and WELL Gold, the second highest certification provided by WELL, the world's first building standard that focuses on people’s health and wellness.
The seventh building, Masdar City Square Headquarters building, will be the first net-zero energy office building in Abu Dhabi. It will use no more energy than it produces by renewable energy technologies and will be characterized by a solar photovoltaic panel canopy. It will also house the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA) Headquarters.
The University of Dubai’s Campus in Academic City achieved the title of LEED-certified first net-zero energy building in the region. It is the second university in the world after the University of Hawaii that was awarded this title.
This title is given after the implementation of a solar power project. As part of the project, a ground-mount solar system was installed and connected directly to the national grid, making no need to use batteries for energy storage. This project will contribute to the decrease of around 2,040 tons of carbon dioxide emission annually and save around 34,000 liters of water monthly.
Al Shera’a Building, a new headquarters of Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA), is one of the tallest net-zero energy buildings in the world. It is located in Jadaf in Dubai, covering an area of 2 million square meters and divided into around 15 floors, a basement, and 4 floors of parking space. The construction started in 2017 and is expected to be completed in 2023.
This building will receive a LEED Platinum certificate. It will have around 20,000 square meters of photovoltaic solar panels and 1,000 square meters of Building Integrated Photovoltaics and will use 50% less water than the other buildings. In addition, the energy used in the building during the year will be equal to the energy produced from the renewable energies in the building’s location.
The net-zero energy buildings are an important step towards a greener future and will advance the UAE’s economy. If you want to buy or rent a unit in any of these buildings, contact RE/MAX UAE by calling +971 4 589 7376 or contact us here. .