06 February 2024, Khaleej Times
Dubai’s real estate market serves as a shining model of how the global community can establish a sustainable and adaptable environment that is prepared to tackle the difficulties posed by climate change.
As the world grapples with the urgency of addressing climate change, the call on governments to speed up the transition, away from fossil fuels to renewables, can play a pivotal role in shaping the global built environment in the coming decades. The conversations that occurred during COP28 in Dubai in December 2023 revolved around the transition. In this light, Dubai’s real estate industry has consistently showcased its dedication to sustainable progress through innovative and strategic preparation. The emirate’s real estate sector has embraced the global conversation and serves as a remarkable illustration.
A growing realty market
The Dubai Data and Statistics Establishment report say that real estate activities grew by 2.4 per cent, contributing 7.4 per cent to the economy and 6 per cent to the overall recorded growth, driven by the growth in real estate margins on property sales, which grew significantly in Q1 2023, according to Dubai Land Department figures.
The region remains a pioneer in several initiatives when it comes to sustainable real estate development. Global investors have also taken note of these developments. Some of the world’s wealthiest people have been purchasing homes in the city. On y-o-y basis, the sale of luxury housing in the city has gone up in 2023.
Its unique selling points (USPs)
Over the past decade, the UAE has invested heavily in progressive policies and creating progressive real estate. At the state level, the UAE is actively involved in several programs aimed at enhancing sustainability, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UAE Energy Strategy 2050, and UAE Green Agenda 2015-2030. This commitment is closely tied to the adoption of sustainable practices in the real estate sector. Here’s a look at some of the transformational steps Dubai has taken.
An evolved green building standard: Dubai’s commitment to sustainable development is exemplified by its focus on green building standards. It aligns with the broader goal of creating a more resilient future for the UAE. In line with this objective, the Dubai Municipality has implemented mandatory regulations for green buildings, encouraging developers to adopt eco-friendly practices. Consequently, buildings that incorporate energy-efficient systems, water conservation measures, and sustainable materials offer a significant advantage for investors and end users seeking to minimize their environmental impact in this market.
Smart urban planning: Dubai’s dedication to intelligent urban planning, adoption of technology solutions for optimizing resource utilization, alleviating traffic congestion, and promoting sustainable development in urban projects and transportation has set the stage for creating a more advanced and interconnected world. Recently, the country has issued a law about Dubai’s urban planning. The Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan is currently effective under the law. It aims to enhance the governance of urban planning, define the responsibilities of related authorities, and improve cooperation, coordination and integration among them.
Renewable Energy Integration: Under its National Energy Strategy, the UAE has set a new commitment of doubling its renewable energy (RE) capacity to 14 GW by 2030. Dubai’s target for RE adoption and commitment extends to the real estate sector. While sustainable energy solutions seamlessly integrate into new developments, solar panels adorn rooftops. As the Emirate aims for 75 per cent clean energy by 2050, real estate projects are expected to be key contributors to this milestone.
Circular economy practices: The Dubai government is actively working towards promoting circularity in the construction industry, as it is one of the largest contributors to waste. This effort is being led by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE). The focus is on recycling materials, and effectively managing and maintaining them during the planning and usage stages of construction. To support this, old buildings are being repurposed as “material banks” for modular construction. Additionally, innovative 3D printing techniques are being used for local material production. The government is also coordinating with various departments and private companies to implement waste-to-energy projects, retrofitting initiatives, solar panel installations, and district cooling systems across the city.
Community engagement and education: With the changing climate, it is crucial to establish a resilient community capable of addressing the challenges at hand. Dubai’s real estate sector goes beyond constructing environmentally friendly buildings; it encompasses a comprehensive strategy that includes community involvement and education. Consequently, the focus in this region is on cultivating sustainable communities that promote environmental consciousness and encourage residents to adopt eco-friendly lifestyles. This is equally important, as several residential clusters in and around Dubai represent a vibrant mix of communities from around the world.
Hence, IoT (Internet of Things) and AI-driven systems are being deployed to optimise energy consumption, enhance waste management, and create intelligent, interconnected communities that minimize environmental impact.
The global spotlight on climate change will likely spur even more ambitious sustainability goals and collaborative efforts within the real estate and construction sector. Dubai’s real estate market stands at the crossroads of tradition and innovation, with sustainability being the guiding force into the future.
As the world turns its attention to announcements made at COP28, Dubai’s commitment to sustainable development is not only commendable but also indicative of a paradigm shift in how urban landscapes are envisioned and built. The journey ahead could be challenging, but Dubai’s determination to marry economic growth with ecological responsibility is a beacon of hope for a more sustainable and resilient global future.