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Green Buildings and LEED.
By Amira Black
Thursday, 21st May 2009
 
LEED is fast becoming a household name and most people will know that LEED is all about Green Buildings.

I first found out about Green Buildings about three years ago, where it seemed to me that there were many Grand Designs being showcased but were mainly one-offs as they meant bigger investments. There was lots of talk but Joe Public didn't see any action. By rights most of Dubai's buildings should be sustainable as they are relatively new and the technology was here when they were built.

This is not the case. LEED have a rating system for new construction, and also for existing buildings, known as Operation and Maintenance. The new constructions are surely more straightforward if the technology and materials are available and the Construction companies have a blank canvass to work with.

I would suggest that making an older building sustainable would be harder and depend more on the locality, economics and availability of the required products. This is something I will learn about when I start the LEED Green Associate Accreditation.

The course covers waste management, energy efficiency, green cleaning, indoor air quality, sustainable purchasing (consumables, food etc) amongst many other topics relating to greenifying buildings. This is what I am doing, but on an individualized basis; working with smaller companies and making recommendations based and within their parameters.

Whoever you are and wherever you work, I would like to make a small request. Please take 2 minutes to think about your direct working environment. Do you consider paper wastage and recycling? Do you know of blatant energy wastage yet have never been able to say anything about it? Leaving air conditioning, lights and electrical devices on when the office is empty overnight and at weekends are probably the most obvious, but there are many more subtle cases that go unnoticed every day.

I know there are big companies and environmental initiatives within the UAE shouting about what they are doing…but we all have to start somewhere, and if everyone takes small actions, it will make a huge impact on our local, and eventually global environment. Sharjah have Bee'ah, which is their Environment Company, Abu Dhabi has many initiatives including Masdar City and Dubai has the Emirates Environmental Group and projects including EnPark.

They say "Charity begins at home". I believe Earth is the patient or victim, every individual is a potential donor and home can be in your kitchen, garden, office, street, beach or park. Corporations, like many large charity organizations help bring people together, but a lot of money is wasted on administration and advertising.

The actions of an individual do not cost anything, and broadcasting what you have done is not necessary. Simply put…You just feel good.

Buy recycling bins for your home and office. Take responsibility for recycling. Turn your lights and power sockets off when you are not using them. Buy energy efficient and chemical free products.

If you can't find them, just ASK! (green-agenda@live.com)

Amira Black is from Kent, England and has lived in Dubai for 6 years. Having worked in various industries, Amira has contrasting experiences of living and working in the Middle East and has now committed to being actively involved in Environmental Issues as it is a critical time for Mother Earth, and the UAE has a lot of catching up to do!

Amira runs Green Agenda Environmental Consultants and is open to share, review and discuss any Environmental topics at any time. Please email her at green-agenda@live.com with any enquiries.

www.go-green.ae
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