ABU DHABI // The emirate's first exceptionally green school buildings are to be ready for students next year, 12 months after initially expected.
Ten schools built to exceed government-required green-building standards will join several operating sustainable schools, but will be the first to achieve a three-pearl Estidama rating, one pearl more than the requirement.
The buildings are still under construction, but the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) is already looking at ways to improve the next round of sustainable schools.
"Going forward, we may reconsider some of the photovoltaics, because it's a fairly expensive proposition," the senior architect of facilities and infrastructure for Adec, Jyoti Sharma, said yesterday at a conference dedicated to sustainable infrastructure. "Cost is a big issue right now."
The three-pearl schools will be designed to reduce energy consumption by 25 per cent and hit a 20 per cent water-conservation target.
Other green elements will include energy-efficient air conditioning systems and the use of natural lighting where possible.
"You don't have money not to do this," Ms Sharma said. "You can't afford not to save energy and not to save water."
By 2020, Adec plans to construct 100 green schools. Last year, it built 18 schools, and 15 are under construction with another 13 in the design phase.
Ms Sharma said the council will continue revising the design as more technology becomes available, and officials learn from the opening of the first schools in a year's time.
"Energy keeps getting scarce, and water keeps getting scarce, so we have to keep improving and keep reducing the amount that we use," she said.
Her comments came on the sidelines of the property exhibition Cityscape Abu Dhabi, which opened at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre yesterday. The four-day event highlights the latest offerings in the local and regional real estate development and investment sectors.
At the stall for the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), a near-perfect recreation of the Monte Carlo Beach Club's waterfront greeted the hundreds of visitors who flowed through the space throughout the day.
"It's been great to talk to people about Saadiyat Island and what we have to offer there," said Ahmed Al Fahim, the executive director of marketing, communications, sales and leasing at TDIC.
"This year has been totally different. There's been a huge interest in buying compared to last year. We've even doubled sales."
Several conferences, bringing together industry experts from all over the world to discuss trends in construction, development, sustainability, infrastructure and urban planning, will run concurrently with the exhibition.
The Department of Municipal Affairs is showcasing 27 services and sustainable-development projects across the three municipalities at its stand, while the Urban Planning Council is updating visitors on how the emirate is marching toward Vision 2030.
"It's been a busy first day, but people are curious about what we do and we like to tell them," said Yasmeen Sami Saadah, the department's acting division director of municipal regulations.
Last year, Cityscape Abu Dhabi attracted more than 25,000 visitors from 78 countries.