The UAE needs to place greater focus on retrofitting existing buildings in order to meet national and global carbon emission targets in addition to creating a more sustainable built environment, said Saeed Al Abbar, chairman of Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC).
The building and construction industry is responsible for almost 40% of the world's carbon emissions, making retrofitting an important method for improving energy efficiency in existing buildings, helping to reduce the construction inudstry's impact on the climate.
The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy has set the goal of reducing Dubai’s energy demand by 30 per cent by 2030, with retrofitting existing buildings playing an integral part in the strategy.
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has invested over US$8 billion to retrofit 30,000 buildings, and once complete, it will secure an expected monetary savings of over US$22.33 billion as well as total savings of one million tonnes of carbon dioxide, 5.6bn imperial gallons of water and 1.7 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity by end-2030.
"We can ensure future buildings are sustainable through new regulations and innovations in sustainable technologies, but a concerted focus needs to be made around the large stock of buildings that already exist and their contribution to decarbonisation of the built environment," said Al Abbar.
"In addition to our own national targets, there are two important global deadlines approaching - the first is achieving Net Zero Carbon in new buildings by 2030 and the second is ensuring all buildings are Net Zero Carbon buildings by 2050," he added.
Earlier last month, construction consultancy AESG, also led by Saeed Al Abbar, joined as a supporter of the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment established by the World Green Building Council (World GBC) to limit the impact of climate change.