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Insights Building sustainably in the UAE

Building sustainability isn’t just a hot topic. Creating living spaces that work more harmoniously with the natural environment is essential to ensuring the healthy longevity of the human race. This area is so crucial in fact that the development of sustainable cities and communities is one of the 17 goals outlined by the UN as essential to a prosperous future. 

With year-on-year population growth exceeding 0.8% over the past 3 years, there are few signs that the UAE will be slowing their expansion any time soon. Yet with scarce natural resources, the area offers several unique challenges for authorities and planners looking to create new communities. This makes the area one of the most important for implementing sustainable best practices in all spaces, including in the development of new buildings. 

It is clear that this importance is already widely recognised and being applied across the board. In fact, Dubai is already ranked 3rd in the world for the number of ‘green’ buildings. Lagging behind only London and NYC on the list. 

large solar panels on the background of the sky in sunlight. The concept of green energy in the future. alternative renewable energy sources

UAE Vision 2021

Launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vision 2021 was announced at a cabinet meeting in 2010 and outlined the region's goals and strategy for development. Goals ranged across 6 key areas and were developed with the aim to make the UAE among the best countries in the world. These areas include: 

  • World-class health care 
  • Competitive knowledge economy 
  • Safe public and judiciary 
  • Cohesive identity and preserved identity 
  • Sustainable environment and infrastructure 
  • First-rate education system 

Information surrounding UAE Vision 2021 highlights how sustainability will play a key role, especially in the development of infrastructures. Key reports have been published assessing the area including the quality of air, the contribution of clean energy, the implementation of green growth plans and the preservation of water resources. 

UAE Energy Strategy 2050

The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 was launched in 2017 and is the first unified energy strategy based on supply and demand that the country has rolled out. The goal of this strategy is to reduce the area's reliance on fossil fuels, with ambitious plans to increase the contribution of clean energy to the total energy mix from 25% to 50% by 2050. The strategy also outlines plans to reduce carbon emissions created by power generation by 70% and to reduce consumption by individuals and businesses by 40%. 

Emerging sustainability trends in the UAE

Both UAE Vision 2021 and UAE Energy Strategy 2050 have ambitious goals. It is clear that relying on current methods of building and energy production will not enable their achievement. This is why the area is at the forefront of emerging sustainability trends. 

For example, tech-driven methodology and modern equipment are being rolled out across construction in the area. This is driving a new reality where zero carbon emission targets are both achievable and realistic. With considerable sun power in the region, there are also opportunities for huge-scale hybrid solar contracts that could tap into natural resources and offer green power for buildings. Hybrid construction chemicals can also make an impact on sustainability and drive efficiency through certified laboratory assurance.

How is AtkinsRéalis driving sustainability?

Here at AtkinsRéalis , we are helping drive sustainability across the middle east. Our teams have been involved in several of the largest-scale construction projects in the area including Burj Al Arab, Dubai Opera House, Doha Metro gold line, Riyadh Metro and At-Turaif District in Diriyah. In each of these projects, we have offered solutions with sustainable processes, materials and best practices in mind. Our work in the Middle East continues to help contribute to the overarching goals of the region to develop more environmentally harmonious and sustainable living, working and leisure spaces. 

Make an impact on Middle Eastern society at AtkinsRéalis

It is clear that the UAE is one of the most exciting places in the globe in terms of sustainability. In turn, this makes it one so the best places to work for those that want to gain experience on projects with sustainability at their heart. With continued investment, a growing population and increasingly challenging projects to work on, there has never been a better time to take your career to the Middle East. 

We have some fantastic opportunities in the region for ambitious, forward-thinking professionals. Or, if you just want to stay up to date with what we have available in the area you can join our talent community and sign up for job alerts.