In Dubai, The Emirates’ First Green Government Building

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) isn’t just about oil. It’s also the home of the International Renewable Energy Agency, which is centered around supporting the global implementation of renewable energy, and Masdar City, possibly the most ambitious sustainable development project underway anywhere on the planet. (Sorry, UC Davis.) Now we’ve received word that Dubai will soon be home to a big green building all its own, in the  water and civil division headquarters of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa).

How green, exactly? According to Inhabitat, the entire construction process is being carried out in accordance with the highest green building standards in the land — specifically the Green Economy for Sustainable Development Initiative announced by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (who also happens to be the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai). It will be the first government building constructed to these standards, and is expected to be complete within the next few months.

DEWA, Green Building

image via Inhabitat / katedubya

The 340,000-square-foot building, located on Shaikh Zayed Road in Al Quoz, will make use of HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) units in linked to smart building systems. This will allow the facility to save energy while keeping those who work within the building cool comfortable in the UAE’s notoriously hot climate while minimizing the building’s environmental footprint. Much of the energy used to power the building will be generated via a 600-kilowatt-capacity solar power system; high efficiency insulation and LED lighting are among the technologies that will be used to make smart use of that power.

Another key aspect of the building’s green profile is the fact that it is conveniently located in terms of public transportation. Dubai’s ever-growing public transport system is easily accessible from the new DEWA building, as the First Gulf Bank Metro station stands just a few steps away. But for those who’d rather get a little exercise on their daily commute, the building offers enough bicycle parking places for half of the building’s users to make the trip via pedal power.

There are benefits for those who choose eco-friendly vehicles as well, with 5 percent of the building’s parking places reserved for electric vehicles/hybrids.

“This step is part of Dewa’s commitment towards sustainability and conserving natural resources, and it is also a part of Dubai’s strategic plan,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, CEO and MD of Dewa, in a statement.

All told, the building was designed to significantly cut its energy consumption, which is in line with the government agency’s recent efforts to keep pace with the UAE’s increased electricity demands in part by increasing its efficiency. (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority recently announced that, due to the increased efficiency and capacity of its electricity transmission networks, it had increased its peak loads by  7 percent as of July of this year over 2011.)

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.