Dubai – MENA Herald: Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC), an independent forum aimed at conserving the environment by strengthening and promoting green building practices, has further strengthened its participatory role in setting the global agenda for sustainable built environments.

This was underlined with Habiba Al Marashi, EmiratesGBC co-founder, board member and treasurer, being appointed to the Membership Committee of the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), a network of national green building councils in more than 100 countries, making it the world’s largest international organisation influencing the green building marketplace.

Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman of EmiratesGBC, already serves as a Board Director of WorldGBC since 2015, taking on the mantle from Adnan Sharafi, former chairman, who had been on the role from 2013 to 2015. Dr. Sadek Owainati, co-founder of EmiratesGBC, had earlier represented EmiratesGBC on the WorldGBC Membership Committee.

EmiratesGBC is the world’s eighth Green Building Council and has been a member of WorldGBC since its inception in 2006. It is also a member of the WorldGBC Established GBC Network, which was founded to link all the different GBCs across the world to share best practices and initiate global projects that help to strengthen energy and water use efficiency in the building sector and support environmental stewardship.

Over the years, it has played an instrumental role in supporting WorldGBC to set up the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) GBC Network to drive sustained dialogue and action that promote built environment sustainability across the region.

Since the establishment of the MENA Network in 2010, EmiratesGBC has been a part of its Steering Committee and takes concerted action to bring together all regional GBCs and initiate concrete action in various areas including the development of green buildings, retrofitting and green building innovation.

This is highlighted in the EmiratesGBC Awards, which will be presented from next year under its rebranded identity, the MENA Green Building Awards. The 2017 Awards will be supported by WorldGBC with other regional GBCs as partners.

Saeed Al Abbar said: “The appointment of Habiba Al Marashi, a leader in shaping a sustainable environment in the Arab world, to this important committee in the WorldGBC highlights the strong role that EmiratesGBC plays in leading the dialogue and tangible action to promote sustainable built environments globally. With two key positions in the WorldGBC, we present the advances that the UAE and the MENA region have accomplished in promoting green building practices. Our significant achievements in promoting a culture of sustainable built environments serve as an inspiration and referral point for several other GBCs.”

“As the first GBC in the region, we have set the template for strengthening a culture of green building practices through our various activities that bring together all the stakeholders in the construction industry supply chain. We also encourage a culture of localised innovation in green buildings and in promoting youth talent – both central to securing a green future for our coming generations. Since our inception, we have set clear industry standards and guidelines and we will continue to champion best practices in sustainable built environments,” he added.

Habiba Al Marashi said: “This is indeed a great honour to represent our nation at the WorldGBC. It presents the opportunity to work with committed green building experts across the world and to share our learnings and experiences. It is important more than ever before to focus our energies on promoting sustainable development, accelerate initiatives to boost energy and water efficiency, and reduce the global carbon footprint.

“With the building sector being the main source of greenhouse gas emission, taking concerted action at a global level is imperative. We are confident that our participation in WorldGBC’s deliberations will help us all to achieve the green vision of the leadership of our beloved country.”

Over the years, EmiratesGBC has actively promoted industry best practices that help support the ‘green vision’ announced by regional governments. In the UAE, it supports the goals of environmental and building sustainability identified in the UAE Vision 2021 and the ‘green economy for sustainable development’ vision announced by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

With the number corporate members more than doubling from 2006 to now, EmiratesGBC organises a full-breadth of activities to engage experts in the construction industry supply chain. Its Advisory Committee has government representatives, as of 2015, to ensure that its goals are aligned with the national development agenda.

Milestones of EmiratesGBC include the launch of the Energy Efficiency Programme and the ‘Technical Guidelines for Retrofitting Existing Buildings,’ aimed to serve as a guide for UAE industry professionals and building end-users. It also launched the Energy Efficiency Online database, publicly accessible through the EmiratesGBC website, to facilitate building retrofit projects by streamlining the energy efficiency market in the UAE.

EmiratesGBC regularly organises Focus Day and networking sessions to support the industry and other stakeholders in strengthening their awareness as well as promoting the practical implementation of best practices that will help save energy and water while promoting environmental sustainability. For more details, email: info@emiratesgbc.org.