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Businesses To Reduce Energy Consumption in Dubai

For a city that had the largest ecological footprint per capita in the world as recently as 2006, there is growing evidence that Dubai will soon become one of the most ecologically sound cities in the world. Though its history is one of environmental damage in the name of growth and profit, businesses are now leading the forefront of the shift towards a more ecologically friendly way of life in the city.


The environmental impact of the food industry is often underestimated, with many failing to consider precisely how much energy goes into growing, transporting and packaging everything we eat. This is particularly true of places like Dubai, where the local climate means that 80% of food must be imported, creating a larger emissions footprint.

However, to combat this effect, community-supported agriculture (or CSA) is now beginning to gain popularity in Dubai. Markets, such as the one at Zabeel Park, now feature numerous stands marketing organic produce from local farms, a testament to the growing demand for more sustainable food. Baker & Spice, a restaurant and food shop whose founder organises a regular farmers' market near the chain's Dubai location, is also leading the wave of businesses now providing organic and local food. 

Concern for environmental impact is also reflected in the growing popularity of vegetarian food, which climate scientists argue is far more sustainable due to the fact that growing feed for farm animals requires land and water resources that could be more efficiently used to grow vegetables for consumption. Restaurants have responded by offering a wider range of vegetarian-friendly meals, as demonstrated by the number of vegetarian meals available in the city via takeaway app Deliveroo.


Private car ownership in Dubai is hugely inflated, with its vehicle density of 540 per 1,000 people one of the highest in the world. Cars are desirable not only as transport but also as a luxury status symbol, yet the sheer number of cars on the road leads not only to massive carbon emissions but also to issues of vehicle congestion.

While some companies, like Electronic Vehicles UAE, are seeking to tackle this problem by developing more sustainable cars, the most significant impact has come from the fully automated, driverless Metro system now available in the city. The system is beginning to reduce the reliance of Dubai citizens on cars, providing transport that is impeccably efficient and far less polluting than the gridlocked 12-lane motorways it travels in parallel with.


Given that nearly a quarter of Dubai’s population works in construction, it is unsurprising that this is a huge source of emissions from the city. While erecting buildings obviously requires a huge amount of energy, it is also notable that the design of many buildings, which feature glamourous ceiling-to-floor windows and powerful air-conditioning, means they continue to waste energy even after they are completed.

That said, Dubai has now tightened its green building regulations as part of a strategy to reduce energy usage by 30%. All new buildings now feature solar water heaters, as well as systems that lower lights and thermostats when no people are present.

Taking this trend even further, Dubai southern outskirts now feature a new housing development named Sustainable City, which produces more energy than it consumes through a conjunction of solar power and efficient recycling. Its developer, Faris Saeed, designed the L-shaped houses so that they would shade each other, reducing the need for intense air conditioning.

Together, these business sectors hope to make possible Sheikh Mohammed’s commitment to have 75% of energy in Dubai come from clean sources by 2050.


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