Green building rules expected to be introduced in Abu Dhabi in January

New regulations for environmentally friendly buildings in Abu Dhabi are in the final stages of being drawn up and expected to be implemented in January 2009.

Abu Dhabi's Urban Planning Council aims to establish new standards for sustainable development in the Emirate.

'We are fine-tuning the guidelines for new green buildings, ratings and communities to be enforced as law in January 2009,' said Falah Al Ahbabi, UPC's general manager.

The organisation hopes that the rules will become a model for environmental responsibility and will go on to be copied throughout the region.

A large fund has been allocated to maintain such a model. The aim is to have green buildings even if this means higher construction costs. One example is Khalifa Port where the structure of the giant facility has been adapted to protect the coral reef.

'We will not destroy our environment because of the cost factor. To the contrary we will gladly incur whatever extra cost is necessary for a sustainable industrial or residential development,' Al Ahbabi said.

The UPC will provide the final draft of the guidelines by November. They are then expected to be adopted by the Emirate's Executive Council. The new guidelines will then be gradually issued from January next year.

New neighbourhoods would have to meet green-space requirements, have shorter streets and put buildings a set distance from public transit depots. Developers and contractors will be obliged to comply with the new regulations.

It is also thought that building designs will be required to include more features of traditional Arab architecture. Preserving heritage sites is also likely to be a high priority, and landscapers would be instructed to plant more native greenery.