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EmiratesGBC 7th Annual Congress to explore the aspirations toward Net Zero Cities
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EmiratesGBC 7th Annual Congress to explore the aspirations toward Net Zero Cities

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Regional and international experts on sustainable built environments will come together at the 7th Annual Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC) Congress to discuss best practices and strategies to go beyond net zero carbon buildings, and explore the significance of net zero cities in ensuring the viability and liveability of our cities in the future.

Organised by EmiratesGBC, an independent forum aimed at conserving the environment by strengthening and promoting green building practices, the Congress will be held under the theme ‘Targeting Zero: A Vision for Future Cities’, on October 9, 2018 at the Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre hotel. 

The Congress will commence with welcome addresses by Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman of EmiratesGBC; Eng. Aisha Al Abdooli, Director of Green Development, Ministry of Climate Change & Environment; and H.E. Ahmed Muhairbi, Secretary General, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy; moderated by the Congress Moderator Holley Chant, Executive Director of Corporate Sustainability, KEO International Consultants.

Saeed Al Abbar said: “The Congress this year will drive the conversation forward and take a deep dive into the net zero building movement and explore how we can apply and rapidly expand the approach to our cities in the UAE, the region and around the world. The fast pace of urbanisation today is a fundamental challenge, and we are bringing both regional and international experts to the UAE to participate in this dialogue as the emphasis on sustainable buildings and cities becomes more crucial than ever. From the government to public and private sectors, the UAE has shown its commitment and now we must boldly deliver on it as the global net zero emissions timeline approaches.”

The Annual EmiratesGBC Congress brings together international experts in diverse aspects of energy management and sustainable development to discuss strategies for promoting sustainable built environments for the cities of the future in line with UAE Vision 2021 and the objectives of the Paris COP21 Climate Agreement. The event aims to influence sustainable practices in the UAE’s built environment and to help identify key industry challenges and solutions as well as catalyse innovation in green building practices to create new models that support the country’s efforts to be more sustainable.

The 2018 Congress’ discussions will focus on three sub-themes that are closely related to honouring and promoting the values associated with the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the nation, as the UAE marks the Year of Zayed this year to commemorate his 100th birth anniversary. These are: Inspired Cities reflecting the Wisdom of Sheikh Zayed; Collaborative Cities focusing on the value of Respect; and Holistic Cities mirroring the value of Sustainability which caters to the needs of future generations. 

The first theme, Inspired Cities, will examine net zero buildings in the global context and how we can make the vision for decarbonized cities a reality in the UAE and globally. Sanjay Sridhar, Regional Director for South and West Asia, C40 cities will deliver the key note presentation on ‘Zero Carbon Cities: the role of cities in tackling climate change,’ followed by presentations and a panel discussion on ‘Approaches to achieving net zero buildings and cities’ conducted by Ed Garrod, Principal at Elementa Consulting + Integral Group, H.E. Dr Nasser Saidi, Chairman of Clean Energy Business Council, and George Berbari, CEO of DC Pro Engineering and Author of Energy Budget, moderated by Saeed Al Abbar.

The Collaborative Cities theme will focus on how the transition to net zero can be achieved in the UAE with a series of presentations starting with Dr Waddah Ghanem Al Hashmi, Executive Director, EHSSQ & Corporate Affairs of ENOC & Honorary Chairman, Energy Institute Middle East, and followed by Daniel Render, Director Sustainability - Real Estate and Delivery, Expo 2020. The session will include cases studies on innovative net zero projects delivered by Chris Wan, Head - Design Management at Masdar and Karim El-Jisr, Executive Director, SEE Institute. Sarfraz Dairkee, Emirates Green Building Council Secretary and General Manager, Mahy Khoory will conclude the session with a presentation highlighting lessons that can be taken from past architecture in the UAE when implement net zero buildings. 

Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public and Government Affairs, SIGNIFY and Graeme Sims, Executive Director, Regulatory & Supervisory Bureau for Water & Electricity will both deliver a presentation on ‘Retrofitting to Net Zero: Building Energy Efficiency and Regulation.’ The second theme will close with a panel discussion on ‘Opportunities and challenges to retrofitting to net zero in the UAE.’

The final theme, Holistic Cities, will explore how the net zero approach can be applied to reduce the ecological footprint of buildings through waste and water management. The session will commence with a presentation on ‘Beyond Energy: Taking a net zero approach to waste and water management,’ followed by a panel discussion on ‘Achieving Sustainable Waste & Water Management in the UAE’ moderated by Habiba Al Marashi, co-founder, Vice Chair & Treasurer of EmiratesBGC.  Al Marashi is the Chairperson of Emirates Environmental Group.

The Congress is held for the second consecutive year under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change & Environment, mandated to promote advancements toward a green economy in the UAE. The event has also received support from industry stakeholders with Majid Al Futtaim as Venue Sponsor.

The Supporting Associations are: Clean Energy Business Council, Emirates Environmental Group, Emirates Nature-WWF, Middle East Facility Management Association (MEFMA), Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

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