Estidama - the sustainability programme spearheaded by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) - recently held two villa owner’ workshops in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi on November 1 and 2 respectively. These workshops provided villa owners with important step-by-step guidance on how residential sustainability best practices can be employed prior, during and after the development of stand-alone villas and townhouses and the importance of doing this.
The workshops, part of an ongoing awareness and training campaign by Estidama, will also include another set of sessions in Al Ain on December 12 at Al Ain Municipality and in Abu Dhabi on December 13 at Abu Dhabi Municipality. Held in collaboration with the Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA) and the three municipalities of the Emirate, the workshops saw technical experts from Estidama, the UPC and DMA help private individuals -who either own or plan to build their own villa - better understand the requirements of Estidama, the benefits of sustainability and the steps that need to be undertaken in order to apply for the One Pearl rating that is mandatory for all properties in Abu Dhabi.
“With Abu Dhabi’s sustainable growth, there will of course be more demands on energy and water resources. We are addressing these issues and we rely, among other things, on Estidama initiatives to help reduce overall consumption. Building sustainable homes is a healthier, more comfortable and environmentally friendly choice, which also makes sound financial sense in terms of return on investment,” said H.E. Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi, General Manager at the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council.
The workshops aim to transform the planning, design and construction standards of individual- villas and townhouses across the Emirate. Al Ahbabi adds: ‘Homeowners have a choice in the orientation, design and building materials for their residences and if informed choices are made then they will positively contribute to Abu Dhabi’s sustainability commitment, which will bring about significant benefits to the ecosystem in accordance with the guiding principles of Vision 2030.”
Villa owners received firsthand knowledge on industry acknowledged best practices for construction material selection, unit insulation for interior roofs and walls as well as for door and window frames, cooling techniques and equipment, shading, landscaping and irrigation tips, energy and water saving methods.
Recently the UPC, together with the Municipal System, unveiled the Estidama Pearl Villa Manual. The detailed manual is designed to assist villa owners, design consultants, contractors and suppliers in maintaining Estidama standards during the villa construction process and provides comprehensive guidance on the requirements of Estidama. As well as this, the manual, available online on www.estidama.org , provides an overview of the Estidama Pearl Villa Rating System (PVRS) and the steps to follow in the application process for new and existing users of the programme. The manual also introduces a simplified compliance procedure for product selection and offers advice on how to select materials and suppliers.
Highlighting the importance of the workshops and community involvement, Eng. Amer Al Hammadi, Director of Planning and Infrastructure at the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), said: “Awareness, education and knowledge are the main drivers that empower behavioural change and a change in mindsets of individuals towards sustainability is a core part of ensuring that Estidama gradually and positively impacts our environment.”
By working closely with communities, organisations, businesses and policy makers, Estidama is helping to preserve and enrich Abu Dhabi’s physical and cultural identity while constantly striving to improve quality of life for its residents."