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Wed 4 Mar 2009 04:00 AM

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Carpe Diem

The March edition of Commercial Outdoor Design could well be called the sustainability issue.

The March edition of Commercial Outdoor Design could well be called the sustainability issue.

To start with, our regional case study this month explores the green approach adopted by Dubai design firm X-Architects in its green masterplan for the desert.

Ahmed Al Ali, executive chairman of X-Architects, and Farid Esmaeil, principal architect, explain how by choosing to work with rather than against the natural environment, they custom-planned a sustainable city in Dubai.

Continuing the sustainability theme, our main feature this month looks at the economic case for promoting sustainable design, and at the cost savings that can be achieved from doing so.

In a similar vein, our second feature in this issue reports on how water design specialists are responding to the challenge to produce impressive water displays without consuming vast amounts of water and energy.

With economic pressures still very much uppermost in everyone's mind, it could be argued that sustainability has slipped irretrievably down the agenda.

But, argue sustainability experts, it is precisely because of the need to save money that now more than ever is the time to push for incorporation of sustainable elements into design.

"There is now more need for it than before. Before we had the luxury, we had the money. Now sustainability will cut costs at the end of the day," notes Ali.

There are any number of arguments designers can arm themselves with when attempting to convince clients to embrace sustainability, but none are so likely to gain a receptive ear as the opportunity to cut costs, especially in such beleaguered times.

As Nicholas Lander, regional head of sustainability at design firm Atkins, told COD this month: "At the end of the day, a lot of it comes down to the bottom line. If you can demonstrate a cost saving, [sustainability] should be a no-brainer."

Michele Howe is the editor of Commercial Outdoor Design. RELATED LINK:Sense and sensibility

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