Trakhees-EHS makes stride in green buildings

DUBAI — Trakhees-EHS — the regulatory arm of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, or PCFC, Dubai — has successfully completed more than four years of regulatory enforcement in the area of sustainable built environment.

By (Staff Report)

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Published: Sat 28 Jul 2012, 11:19 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:39 PM

The sustainability department that was established late in 2007 began its humble beginning with a generic green building regulation for all new constructions in it jurisdiction. While the regulation was aligned to Leed rating system, EHS strived to achieve the delicate balance between established rating system and the local relevance, a challenging task indeed, so as to maximise its value to the client and the built environment.

The last four years have been a journey of significant milestones for EHS each representing a definitive phase in the sustainability path. EHS realised well ahead of time the need to have a strong regulatory infrastructure that would complement the green building regulations and facilitate a participative culture as opposed to an enforcement dilemma. It was this strong conviction coupled with prudence and dedication that helped EHS to tread this path successfully leaving behind a foot print to reckon with.

On the green building regulatory front, while retaining the Leed aligned rating system at the generic level, EHS set on the challenging task of developing additional regulations to appeal to different types of built environments of its jurisdiction. After an epoch of considerable introspection and analysis of the dynamics surrounding these developments, it rolled out its own regulation for villas and low rise residential developments followed by another for warehouses and industrial developments.

A blend of strong prescriptive criteria, regional alignment, well laid out structure and ease make these regulations distinctive in terms of carrying their own identity. The regulations were built on the back of series of discussions EHS had with its stakeholders comprising all of but not limited to its business units, clients and the engineering community which was cemented with its strong regulatory experience and expertise.

A strong regulation that is devoid of supporting regulatory infrastructure for enforcement would lead to poor compliance and lend itself vulnerable to green washing, a phenomenon where the sustainability is not carried forward systematically from design to delivery.

EHS, as a forerunner, realised this well in advance and started working alongside regulations on an array of support tools such as awareness sessions, client procedures, guidelines, fact sheets and others. It believed that these instruments assist and encourage stakeholders to embrace sustainability as opposed to looking at them as obstacles to their business.

It is a commonly-used phrase that the only thing that is constant in life is change. This is apt for the sustainability as well as it has to function amongst various economic and climate vagaries. Existing buildings have gained significant attention in the recent past both as a tool for brining immediate savings in water and power and as a weapon for combating climate change. EHS accentuate the role of existing buildings through its Energy Efficiency Improvement Programme.

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