The Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC) has identified nine priority areas that will guide its activities for this year, as it seeks to promote sustainable development.

In a statement, the council said that the priority areas, approved by its board of directors, align with the UAE’s Vision 2021 National Agenda, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) of the United Nations.

According to EmiratesGBC, these nine priority areas include building retrofit training; supporting Dubai’s commitment to the global Building Efficiency Accelerator programme and expanding EmiratesGBC’s benchmarking efforts; producing technical papers and publications relevant to the green building industry; and implementing an annual MENA awards programme.

Another key focus of the council is the Emirates Coalition for Green Schools, aimed at engaging schools in the UAE and encouraging energy-efficient operations and retrofits of existing school facilities.

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Moreover, the council aims to operate and grow the Green Key eco label to support sustainability in the UAE’s hospitality sector, in addition to furthering outreach and awareness by hosting events, and building tours and workshops.

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EmiratesGBC noted that it will also be working on its membership, and leading the movement for nearly zero energy buildings in the UAE.

Saeed Al Abbar, chairman of EmiratesGBC, commented: “EmiratesGBC has set our nine priority areas of 2018 after closely examining the UN's SDGs and the UAE’s 2021 Vision to establish how we can contribute to the global sustainability agenda, as well as the UAE’s national priorities.

“For this reason, each of EmiratesGBC’s priority areas is aligned with a relevant SDG to create a more targeted impact.”

Al Abbar, added: “We are living during a critical time for humanity. Our natural resources are being depleted and, with a fast-growing global population, we must think long-term, especially for future generations.

“Our work, and practices today are extremely important, and as we promote sustainable, energy-efficient building practices one building at a time, we are making a significant impact. The forward-looking green vision of the UAE is also an immense boost to EmiratesGBC’s agenda, and we are confident that 2018 will be a remarkable year for us.”