Over the last decade the introduction of green building regulations and rising consumer awareness are continuing to place increased pressure on the people who create the built environment to ensure that it is fit for purpose.
Add to this the cost of utilities and a clearly stated desire in the UAE to manage energy and water consumption from the demand side too, and you have an environment where sustainable design is set to thrive.
“We could look back to the roots of some past Middle-Eastern architecture, traditional design aesthetics and the practicalities of past design measures used in buildings hundreds of years ago, having evolved for the Middle East’s hot, harsh and dry climate,” says Scott Coombes, director and managing partner at consultancy AESG and chair of The Designers’ Forum day one programme at the Middle East Stone and Middle East Covering shows which are running at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 23 – 26 May 2016.
The Designers’ Forum will cover how traditional design techniques and the region’s architectural heritage can be reintegrated into modern architecture and design processes to enhance their sustainability.
Selecting the right coverings can have a key role to play in this process as manufacturing techniques find new ways to make them both more sustainable and more energy efficient.
“As societies and governments become more environmentally aware, they are starting to demand products and solutions that are more energy efficient and reduce the carbon footprint,” says Syed Abdullah Hassan, Regional Marketing Manager for Kansai Paints, which is sponsoring The Designers’ Forum.
“Sustainable covering solutions are becoming more and more important. Governments across the region are now moving away from dependency on fossil fuel, but there is equal emphasis on managing building energy footprints more effectively. Aside from new legislation and updated building codes, the use of more resource efficient and more durable materials is also being promoted.”
Hassan highlights the work of the Emirates Green Building Council for its active pursuit of a broad-based objective to reduce energy consumption by 30 per cent, in line with the UAE 2021 Vision.
“This means that newly constructed buildings aiming to achieve Nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB) classification are being designed with sustainable covering solutions in mind, and specifiers are now recommending more efficient products to go in line with this direction,” he says.
Hassan believes that increasing awareness among the construction community about the benefits of sustainable technologies will continue to play an important part in promoting their use.
“It’s also essential that governments continue to update regulations and building codes with consistent regularity, but also provide incentives for developers to move towards sustainable solutions,” he says.
“As a coatings company, we believe the key to achieving energy efficiency and fast transformation is to provide products that are easy to apply and accessible to society at large, from the local household to the largest of construction companies.”
Important advances have been made in promoting sustainable design and construction practices in the region. What more can be done will be part of the discussions at The Designers’ Forum, to be held during the Middle East Covering and the Middle East Stone Shows.