Monday, June 23, 2008

Saadyat Island: Cultural District set to lead in green initiative

CEO of TDIC, Lee Tabler.
The Cultural District of Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island is set to become a world leader among the most environment-friendly and sustainable communities with a twin global and compulsory local green building ratings and certifications.

Saadiyat will be next to the Dh55 billion zero-carbon and zero-car Masdar City in terms of the best green community, with the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) initiative to pursue Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for the island's Beach Residences.

It will be in addition to Estidama Programme and its Pearl Rating for Green Buildings and certification recently developed by the Government of Abu Dhabi, which will be a must for all new buildings and applied to exiting properties in phases. The Estidama Programme, with its green rating and certification, has been designed and developed jointly by the Urban Planning Council, Masdar (the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company), Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and the Department of Abu Dhabi Municipality.

The programme is designed to cut the use of water by 30 per cent and energy by 20 per cent to earn Abu Dhabi the title of the Middle East's green capital within 15 years to 20 years.

"From a neighbourhood design perspective, Saadiyat Beach Residences achieves key criteria, including, reduced car dependence, proximity to work and schools as well as site design for habitat conservation. This is evident through the project's close-knit neighbourhood structure, which includes efficient street networks, neighbourhood parks and a pedestrian street character," said Lee Tabler, CEO of TDIC.

Though the emirate of Abu Dhabi has its own green rating developed according to indigenous geography, climate, architecture and tradition and culture, TDIC has opted for an additional Leed rating certification to make the district special in its green building code and sustainability.

The Saadiyat Cultural District is also home to the up-coming global brand names and iconic museums such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum. It will also house a number of other museums, libraries and educational institutions, including Sheikh Zayed National Museum, a maritime museum, a performing art centre and the UAE campus for the New York University.

According to TDIC, it can achieve Leed, which is the internationally accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high performance "green" buildings, across two key categories – neighbourhood development (Leed-ND) and homes (Leed-H).

"Once the Leed-ND programme completes its pilot phase late next year, Saadiyat Beach will be well positioned for certification submittal," said Tabler.

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