UAE businesses strive to build a greener economy

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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The UAE’s policy of building a sustainable nation has been expressed in recent measures, such as joining several other countries in endorsing Earth Hour.

Emirates Nature-WWF is inviting the UAE community to virtually engage in Earth Hour, one of the biggest global grassroots environmental campaigns, which will bring together millions of people, businesses, and leaders from around the world to demonstrate the urgent need to resolve nature loss and climate change.

Ms. Laila Mostafa Abdullatif Director General Emirates Nature-WWF remarked that “Earth Hour 2021 gives us a golden opportunity to join hand-in-hand and drive change together, as an active civil society, towards a green recovery for the UAE.”

Individuals, politicians, and environmentalists must unite during Earth Hour to call for immediate action to reverse nature loss and ensure a nature-positive world by 2030.

“Healthy natural ecosystems are the cornerstone of thriving, equitable, and sustainable societies. Our current socio-economic models are leading to the devastating destruction of nature, which is increasing our vulnerability to pandemics, accelerating climate change, and placing livelihoods at risk,” Ms. Laila further added.

The UAE is attempting to minimize its carbon footprint by adopting the Energy Strategy 2050, which seeks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 70 percent. Hitachi ABB Power Grids, which has a range of large-scale projects in the UAE and the Middle East, has pledged its support for long-term sustainability.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy has urged all Abu Dhabi and UAE institutions and individuals to participate in Earth Hour, urging them to make energy conservation a cultural and social standard to preserve natural resources for future generations.

The Department has initiated many programs and projects to support that goal. The Abu Dhabi Integrated Energy Model, the Policy for Energy Production from Waste, and the Abu Dhabi Demand Side Management and Energy Rationalisation Plan 2030, which involves Building Retrofits as one of its key programs and aims to make the emirate’s buildings more energy-efficient, are among them.

Sharjah Sustainable City has used passive and active design strategies in the project to drastically reduce overall energy demand projections. For example, the residential villas, are oriented to escape the sun and maximize shading, with all south-facing facades closed to minimize heat gain. UV reflective walls, roofs, and windows are also highly insulated, eliminating air-conditioning loads and electricity consumption.

Energy-efficient HVAC, electrical fittings, and appliances minimize energy consumption, and solar PV cells are installed on all villa rooftops and built-up areas to achieve an offset of up to 50 percent on energy usage, mitigating carbon pollution and achieving utility savings for residents. Abu Dhabi recently announced that agriculture will be open to 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI). This will refer to grain, vegetable, and fruit production, as well as activities related to crop and livestock production and seed processing.

Ms. Chandra Dake, Executive Chairperson, and Group CEO Dake Group concluded that “We see this as a major boost for the UAE agricultural sector, and the breathable sand technology can reinforce sustainable harvesting and use of water, for this strategic push. Several other government initiatives can be empowered such as smart city, food and water security, and desert re-greening projects.

Related: UAE climbs global top 15 in latest FDI Confidence Index