Comparative Study of Building Environmental Assessment Systems: Pearl Rating System, LEED and BREEAM A Case Study Building in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The continuous growth of cities, the fast developing lifestyles, the negative impacts on the natural environment and wellbeing of communities ,the increasing signs of climate changing and running out of natural resources. All that gave vital necessity for developing environmental assessment schemes that aims to mitigate the negative impacts of our built environment on the natural environment without compromising the quality of the lifestyles of the communities. Environmental Assessment Schemes are considered to be one of the main catalysts for the generation and development of the industry green buildings. Varies Schemes had appeared in the last two decades, part of them considered to be international such as LEED or BREEAM and some local such Esitdama Pearl Rating systems (PRS) of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, all had shown an important role in guiding the construction industry. Although almost all of the assessment methods share goals that can lead to; green building design and construction or improving the performance of existing conventional buildings, still every method has its own structure, certification process and weighting criteria. These differences led to the generation of multiple questions such as which assessment schemes succeeded more in the anticipated image of a green building. The scope of this study is to compare two of the most representative international schemes which are LEED and BREEAM against the PRS. The aim is to benchmark the performance of buildings developed under the PRS against international level schemes. The used methodology for the research is literature review, case study and computer simulation, these methodologies helped the researcher to have a comprehensive look on a selected assessment schemes and allowed to make the required comparisons. In conclusion, it was found that PRS is standalone system that combines most of LEED and BREEAM schemes, and that they have big overall laps in terms of sustainability strategies but from an application and certification levels side, LEED and PRS are more comparable especially in the higher certification levels while BREEAM is less comparable and presents the hardest scheme of the three to score under. It was also found that investment in energy related credits has the mose significant impact in all the three schemes while water credit only impacts PRS. The study of the literature review and the case study had showed that the three environmental assessment schemes even with its differences; all showed in overall a definite positive impact on the building design, performance, a positive impact on the occupants of the rated buildings and positive impact on the environment.
building environmental assessment systems, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi, Pearl rating system, LEED, BREEAM, built environment, green buildings, building design, sustainability