Historical trends of energy consumption of local housing units in UAE and future outlook in light of new green buildings regulations

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
WWF (2010) ranked United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the country with the world's largest Ecological Footprint per capita in 2007, by means of that if the earth's population consumed and emitted carbons as much as UAE residents do, more than ―4.5 earths‖ would be required to sustain it. Accordingly, UAE has classed as one of the most energy consumers globally due to its massive economic development and abnormal population growth. Despite the fact that the urban development has formed the cornerstone of the Dubai economic growth; it has failed in creating sustainable urban environment. The immediate need for conservation and sufficient control of building development in UAE has led to initiate several foundations to ensure a sustainable development future of the country. Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council has produced the Pearl Rating System for Estidama while Dubai Municipality has set up the first edition of Green Buildings Regulations and Specifications. This study investigates the sustainable development of local housing units in Dubai from historical ages until the expected status after applying the Green Regulations on 2014 and compares the results with that of Estidama System of Abu Dhabi. Different computer simulation has been conducted using (IES-VE) to evaluate the energy consumption and thermal performance. It was found that the traditional unit has the minimum value of energy consumption among all other units. With the beginning of using cooling systems in 1970‘s, the total energy consumption has lifted up about four times than the total energy of traditional unit. Remarkable reductions below 1970‘s – 1990‘s levels has recorded in future cases of Dubai (49% - 63%) and Estidama cases of Abu Dhabi (57% - 71%) due to new policy instruments, energy efficiency direction and thermal performance development. Simple payback analyses has been conducted and verified that the future green practices and sustainable developments have the ability to re-create environmentally friendly buildings that present green and comfort balance within an affordable price where the total construction cost of Dubai and Abu Dhabi green buildings has ranged between 0.46% to 2.04% above the levels of total construction cost of the year 2000 – 2010 levels. And the payback period has ranged between 1.3 to 3.6 years for the re-traditional design and 5.4 to 7 years in post-modern design.
WWF, United Arab Emirates (UAE), ecological footprint, energy consumers, sustainable urban environment, sustainable development, energy consumption, thermal performance