The Estidama (sustainability) programme was unveiled by the UPC, the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD), Abu Dhabi Municipality and The Future Energy Company (Masdar).

It has been developed by the four groups in conjunction with real estate developers Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate.

“It is our ambition to make Abu Dhabi a green emirate,” says Falah al-Ahbabi, general manager for UPC. “Setting standards is part of our work.”

The first phase of the programme calls for a set of design guidelines for new residential and commercial buildings. The guidelines have identified 10 major elements to be addressed by designers. They are:

  1. Water

  2. Energy use

  3. Indoor environmental quality

  4. Ecology

  5. Management

  6. Transport

  7. Pollution

  8. Materials

  9. Waste management

  10. Land use.

“We are taking a holistic approach which goes beyond materials, water and energy consumption to take into account the environment around developments,” says Majid al-Mansouri, secretary general of EAD.

“We have a cost effective implementation strategy,” adds Al-Ahbabi.

The pair say the guidelines will be discussed this year by all parties involved in development in the emirate, with the aim of reaching an agreement by the start of 2009 and making the regulations mandatory within five years.