Property developers in Dubai are increasingly launching green and eco-friendly projects due to growing environmental awareness and rising demand for sustainable living spaces in the city.
Known for its architectural marvels and innovative urban planning, Dubai is now taking the lead in sustainable real estate practices as developers across the city are embracing eco-friendly building technologies, energy-efficient designs, and green infrastructure.
Prominent developers in Dubai are incorporating sustainable features into their projects as solar panels, green roofs, rainwater harvesting systems, and energy-efficient HVAC systems are becoming standard inclusions to reduce carbon footprints and long-term operational costs. The demand for green building certifications such as Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and Dubai’s own Al Sa’fat is on the rise. These certifications assure buyers and investors of a property’s adherence to strict environmental standards.
The Sustainable City in Dubai, along with Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and Sustainable City in Sharjah are some of the prime examples of projects that have made a mark in the eco-friendly and sustainable living in the UAE.
“Residents are not just looking for homes; they’re seeking sustainable habitats. They want to know that their residence has a minimal environmental impact and that they are contributing positively to the planet. The narrative around property development in Dubai is changing. It’s no longer just about luxury and opulence; it’s about responsible luxury,” says Saira Aziz, sales director of Deca Properties.
Alex Zagrebelny, chairman and chief executive of R.Evolution, says the trend towards green construction and certifications are often mandatory in many parts of the world as this brings longevity to the projects.
“So, developers are trying to meet this demand and follow the trend. What will set one apart from others is the quality, architecture and design that goes into a green building,” he said.
Interestingly, developers like R.Evolution integrate the ancient knowledge of Vastu Shastra and crystal healing properties in the core of the architecture for sustainable and eco-friendly living. Its Eywa project incorporates 1,450 crystals embedded throughout the building to generate positive energy.
Key role of COP28
The 28th edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), which is the world’s largest gathering of leaders to discuss and tackle climate change, is accelerating this transition towards green building, with developers increasingly focusing on wellness and sustainability in their new projects. Scheduled to be held in Expo City, hundreds of leaders and industry executives will descend on Dubai to discuss climate change problems that world faces today.
COP28 has spurred progress in research and investment in eco-friendly construction materials. Bamboo, recycled steel, and other sustainable alternatives are gaining prominence to reduce the ecological impact of construction activities.
Loai Al Fakir, chief executive of Provident, adds that COP28 plays a crucial role in promoting green projects in Dubai and UAE by setting global climate targets and encouraging policies that incentivise eco-friendly development, influencing local initiatives and investments.
Saira Aziz noted that COP28 has catalysed a renewed vigour among developers to prioritise net-zero and eco-friendly projects. “By championing sustainable communities in the lead-up to COP28, Dubai is positioning itself as a beacon of responsible development, sending a clear message to the international community that it is not just about architectural marvels and luxury, but deeply invested in creating a resilient and sustainable urban landscape for its residents and future generations.”
Alex Zagrebelny, chairman and CEO of R.Evolution, said COP28 will “certainly encourage UAE developers to build greener homes and abide by stricter green building laws.”
More green projects in the pipeline
Zagrebelny expects developers to keep on making eco-friendly homes and riding the wave but not all can stand out. “What I call a building-guru that stands apart because of the uniqueness of its architecture, how it incorporates wellness into the core of the building.”
Loai Al Fakir revealed that developers are actively focusing on green residential projects such as Sobha Hartland, Damac Lagoons, Dubai Hills and many more. “They are driven by market demand, regulatory requirements, and the long-term sustainability benefits associated with such developments. This forward-thinking approach aligns with the global imperative to reduce our environmental footprint and offers a promising outlook for future generations.”
High resale value
Industry executives say that properties that embrace sustainability principles are anticipated to have higher resale values and rental yields over time. Investors recognise the long-term benefits of owning assets that align with global climate objectives.
Alex Zagrebelny, chairman and CEO of R.Evolution, said COP28 will encourage UAE developers to build greener homes and abide by stricter green building laws. “It will also make greener practices more cost-effective. I believe that investing in green practices is the right investment because it is long term and therefore cost-effective as well as it ensures quality for both the property and the resident.”
Loai Al Fakir green projects offer long-term savings on energy costs, higher property values, and a positive impact on the environment, which can contribute to positive brand perception and marketability.
“Initially, sustainable projects may have higher upfront costs, but they can offer higher RoI over time due to lower operational expenses, increased demand for eco-friendly properties, and potential government incentives for green initiatives. This illustrates a compelling case for considering sustainability as a key factor in real estate investment decisions, not only for financial gains but also for contributing to a more sustainable planet,” added Fakir.
“Our residents expect amenities that lower waste, conserve water, and benefit the planet,” explains Saira Aziz, director of sales at Deca Properties.
Aziz said properties that are designed with eco-friendly features are not only in high demand but also fetch premium valuations. “Investors, with their pulse on market trends, recognise the long-term benefits of green properties, from higher rental yields to appreciating asset values. In essence, the move towards green residential projects is not just a trend but a reflection of a deeper market evolution, where sustainability, profitability, and consumer demand converge.”
From a financial perspective, she added green projects often translate to reduced operating costs. “Features like energy-efficient appliances, solar panels, and advanced insulation techniques substantially cut down on utility bills. For investors, this means properties that are not only attractive to potential tenants but also promise lower overheads in the long run.”
She added that one of the primary advantages of green projects is the potential for premium pricing. “As global awareness about environmental issues grows, there’s a pronounced demand for eco-friendly residences. This demand allows developers to command higher prices, ensuring a healthy return on investment. Furthermore, the operational costs associated with green residences are significantly lower than their traditional counterparts. Features like energy-efficient appliances, advanced insulation techniques, and solar panels substantially reduce utility bills.”
For tenants, she said this translates to tangible monthly savings, making green residences even more appealing. For property owners, it means higher rental yields and increased property value.
While the initial investment in sustainable and eco-friendly projects might be higher, the long-term financial benefits are manifold. “It’s a game of long-term strategy,” Saira Aziz emphasises. “The more we invest in green features today, the more we save in the future. It’s not just about being environmentally responsible; it’s about financial prudence. In the grand scheme of things, green projects are a win-win for everyone involved.”
Moreover, the use of sustainable materials in construction often means increased durability and longevity of the property.
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