Falah Al Ahbabi, General Manager UPC, hands award to Mugheer Khamis Al-Khaili, Director General of ADEC, at the press conference
Demonstrating their strong commitment to sustainable development, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) awarded today Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) the three pearl rating of the Estidama Pearl Rating System (PRS) for the design phase of 10 government schools in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The schools - the first in the Emirate ever designed to comply with the UPC’s Estidama standard and the first-ever buildings in the Emirate to achieve the three pearl rating certification - are part of Phase III of ADEC’s “Future Schools Program,” which is an essential part of ADEC’s ten year strategic plan to transform Abu Dhabi’s education system.
The ten schools – to be located in the Abu Dhabi suburbs of Al Bateen, Al Shawamekh, Al Shamkha, Baniyas and the Al Ain suburbs of Al Yahar, Al Foah and Zakheer - will cater to the educational needs of boy and girls. The three pearl rating for design is one pearl above the mandatory level of two pearls set by the Abu Dhabi government for all government buildings. This achievement is particularly significant since this is the first time that the 3 pearls rating is granted to any kind of building in Abu Dhabi and demonstrates ADEC’s strong commitment to sustainable development.
H.E. Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al-Khaili, Director General of Abu Dhabi Education Council, said: “It is demonstrated that schools designed to higher levels of sustainability will not only reduce the negative environmental impact and be more resource efficient, but will also result in better student and teacher achievement and be perceived as a benchmark example to be followed by the communities where the schools are located. When fully expressed across Abu Dhabi’s society, Estidama will touch multiple facets in people daily lives and the curriculum in school is one of the most important “.
H.E. added that through the construction of these schools, the Council aspires to provide the students with healthier learning environments as it embraces infrastructure and sustainable facilities of uncompromisingly high standards to give students a whole new experience.
Commenting on these awards, His Excellency Falah Al Ahbabi, General Manager, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), states: “As one of the key pillars of Abu Dhabi’s 2030 Vision, education plays an integral part of promoting long term sustainable development Through the different joint communication programs developed by ADEC and UPC, our next generation of citizens will clearly understand what sustainability means, appreciate the benefits of being sustainable and most importantly, implement tools and techniques that will help us all to achieve our future sustainability targets.”
Al Ahbabi continues: “By setting an example of how future schools ought to be, ADEC is taking significant steps to provide students with an ideal platform that lays down the basis for sustainable and healthy educational environments.”
Through an integrated development process, that has involved all of the project’s stakeholders; the design of the 10 schools has taken a holistic sustainability approach with a particular emphasis given to four factors of prime importance for quality school design such as integrated design process, energy savings, water consumption reduction and recycling. In fact, the 10 schools have been designed - with the use of sustainable materials - to significantly reduce energy and water consumption, improve indoor air quality conditions for students and incorporate better waste management practices. They set a new benchmark for sustainability standards of future educational institutions and will positively impact students’ comfort and well-being.
With regards to energy saving, each school has been designed to use the renewable energy technologies of solar hot water and photovoltaic systems and will monitor the use of energy through a Building Management System. To conserve water the designs include water efficient fixtures and fittings, a water efficient landscape and air-cooled conditioning systems. Other key sustainability strategies include high levels of shading throughout the school campuses to improve outdoor thermal conditions, use of individual thermal control features in all occupied spaces and the implementation of waste recycling practices.
With its Future Schools Programme, ADEC is creating a healthy learning experience for all, through the development of better teaching and learning environments. International studies have shown an association between green schools and lower student absentee rates, higher test scores and greater teacher retention. The schools will act as model of ideal educational environments going forward, encompassing world-class sustainability-themed infrastructures and facilities built to offer students an unmatched learning experience.
The awarding of three pearl rating to the 10 schools follows a MoU inked by UPC and ADEC in December 2009 to increase cooperation in processes, strategies and technique that could be most effective for achieving Estidama’s highest rating for educational buildings in the UAE and for promoting sustainable learning environments for students. While evaluating and testing several potential scenarios, Estidama and ADEC technical teams worked closely together in discussing best practices, techniques and strategies to improve design performance while controlling capital and operational cost at the same time.
Additionally and part of its ongoing commitment to public awareness and education, the UPC’s patent outreach programme, “UnverCity”, is an initiative designed to engage and interact with university students on sustainability-centric matters related to Abu Dhabi’s Urban Planning 2030 Vision. By the beginning of 2012, UPC and ADEC will intensify the sequences of their joint communication campaigns towards students to promote the concept of Sustainability at large, encompassing the 4 pillars that frame the Estidama initiative. Both organizations are partnering to progress the principles and imperatives for sustainable development through the tailored program that recognises that the unique cultural, climatic and economic development needs of the region require a more localised definition of sustainability.
The Estidama Pearl Rating System, one of the first initiatives of the UPC’s Estidama programme, is a framework for sustainable design, construction and operation of communities, buildings and villas to guide the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi in accordance with Vision 2030. The Pearl Rating System is unique to the world in that it is an integrated government initiative and specifically tailored to the hot climate and arid environment of Abu Dhabi.