It was announced yesterday at the EnviroCities 2010 conference in Dubai that a new federal green building code will put limits on the level of glass used in a new building’s facade. Due to be implemented in 2014, Dubai Municipality will be leading the way, ensuring that all government buildings will meet the new criteria from the beginning of next year.
Speaking at the conference on Sunday, Eisa Al Maidour, Dubai Municipality’s Assistant Director General for the Engineering and Planning Sector, said: “The next three years are a trial period to make sure we have enough materials and the code does not affect the market. We thought about making this transition period just one year by decided it was too short.”
The new code states that buildings in the city will need to limit the use of glass used in facades to 60%, or else provide shade in order to decrease the demand for internal cooling. Al Maidour explains: “If you have to use more due to certain circumstances, you will have to shade them or face them to north where you don’t have much sunlight.”
The Department of Municipal Affairs of Abu Dhabi is looking to limit glass use in facades to 30%, with a performance-based approach meaning designs which do feature 100% glass facades must prove that solar gain is limited to the level of a 30% design.
The United Arab Emirates has risen as an architectural playground over the last few years, with fantastical glass sculptures such as the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Pearl and Pentominium set to change the city's skyline irrevocably. Now the tide appears to be turning, with a much stronger focus on the sustainable elements of design and again, the UAE is keen to lead the way with its strengthened building codes.
There are plans for stricter regulations on water and waste management, as Al Maidour continued: “Realising the pressures of urban development boom, the UAE has given much importance to apply sustainable solutions including transforming the city areas into green, which in turn will reduce the impact of carbon emission and protect the environment.”