Sustainable developments in the region have become mainstream

Raja Alameddine, CEO, Lootah Real Estate Development plots a pathway for real estate development through sustainable design

Urbanisation and economic growth go hand in hand, especially in the UAE where real estate plays a key role in the local economy. The Middle East’s real estate industry is continuously developing and evolving and there is an increasing concern for sustainability within the region as well as worldwide.

According to a recent report, buildings account for around 40% of energy use, 25% of water consumption and one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. With such a staggering footprint, real estate holds immense economic, social and environmental impact.

Sustainable real estate development is not a novel idea, rather it is currently gaining prominence in the country and region. Combining eco-conscious design, materials, construction practices, and technologies in buildings is rapidly becoming commonplace and the new generation of property owners and renters expect it.

With the growing energy needs of the MENA region, concepts such as green buildings present the opportunity to rethink how homes are built.

The UAE has emerged as a leader to bring about the energy transition within MENA. It has shown promise in delivering state-of-the-art green buildings, such as the condensation harvesting system on the Burj Khalifa. Another example is the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, which sets out to increase energy efficiency by 40%. The country has also made a commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The UAE ranked 14th globally for the number of sustainable buildings in a survey of 373 corporate real estate professionals undertaken by Knight Frank. It was also the only country from the GCC to feature in the top 30, with 869 green-rated buildings. Saudi Arabia too has ushered in a new era with its Sustainable Vision 2030 and aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2060.

Buildings in the UAE that meet specific standards for sustainability and environmentally friendly practices like reducing the consumption of energy, water and materials and improving public health, safety and general welfare, can obtain a green building certificate, which boosts their credibility.

From policy development and investment to planning and infrastructure, sustainability is at the heart of the region.

Experts observe that the spotlight will shine on community-based sustainable developments over the next few years in line with global sustainability goals and those companies that are quick on the uptake will reap the rewards.

Living smart

Along with the drive for sustainability comes the need for technologies to support it thereby creating a burgeoning segment in the real estate sector — smart buildings. A report by Technavio predicts that the global smart buildings market will increase 13% in annual value, reaching $19.17 billion by 2024. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are two of the top-ranking smart cities for technology in the IESE Cities in Motion Index 2020.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, interest in smart buildings has surged. Consumers are keen on technologies that make their life smoother such as smart cooling and lighting systems, smart elevators, app-driven maintenance and more.

Homes for the next gen

Millennial spending is the key driver for many sectors’ future growth and for this demographic, lifestyle and technology are intertwined. FinanceOnline found that millennials will remain the biggest real estate buyers worldwide with a forecasted rise in 2022 comprising around 55% of global real estate market sales.

As the new generation of homeowners and renters become key players within the market, developers are evolving to fulfill their preferences. Especially when it comes to sustainability and environmentally friendly practices, millennial loyalty and spending habits tend to veer towards companies that are eco-conscious. As with any shift, companies have had to reevaluate their strategies and adapt to millennials and the way they utilise technology as the majority customer dictates the market.

Features such as energy-efficient appliances and HVAC, energy-efficient lighting, solar panels, AI-incorporated tech and more are some of the attributes that are demanded. Technology isn’t the only thing that plays a part, even landscaping and creating large outdoor areas like rooftop gardens provide a natural infrastructure to a building’s residents.

We at Lootah Real Estate Development are making strides to cater to the requirements of the new age customer with a modernistic and dynamic living facility. We recently launched our new project, Loci Residences to take the lead on sustainable living experience by offering eco-friendly, cleaner and smartly designed utilities to reduce heat transfers, energy reflection materials, on-site water filtration facilities, smart ACs, solar-powered lighting and App-driven home maintenance system, landscaped roof, along with a Green Building certificate and other behind-the-scene systems that enhance the environment within the residential units.

There is a clear pathway for real estate development, and it is sustainable design. The uptake of innovative smart technologies, energy-efficient features and other eco-conscious practices, has and will continue to be a game-changer. With the region’s commitment to sustainability, consumers are shifting their demands towards a greener life and property developers have a responsibility to serve these needs.



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