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Thu 18 Oct 2007 02:47 PM

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UAE must reduce energy use by 50%

CITYSCAPE: Emirate needs to make drastic reductions to come in line with West, expert says.

The UAE must aim to reduce energy consumption by at least 50% to come in line with industrialised nations of the world, according to an environmental expert.

Mario Senevirante, director of Green Technologies Company in the UAE, called for the Emirates to step up development of green structures, a move that will also help combat global warming.

According to Senevirante, US architects are currently calling for a 50% fossil fuel reduction in buildings by 2010.

And G7 countries - the US, Japan, Germany , France, the UK, Italy and Canada - have over 78,000 green buildings while the UAE boasts 30 - up from only three in 2006.

"Green buildings are not only energy efficient but they make business sense and pay back in a reasonable period of time," Senevirante said on Thursday at the Cityscape real estate expo in Dubai.

Commenting on the higher cost of green buildings, Senevirante said that although new materials will cost more, the response translates to savings in the long-term.

"The payback period is within a reasonable seven years," he said.

However, green buildings are often unsustainable economically, claimed Khaled Awad, director of property development at Masdar - run by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company.

According to Awan, developers fail to take into account the need for greater energy efficiency.

"The term 'green' is often overused, misused and abused. 'Green' doesn't necessarily mean 'sustainable' and we have to be able to differentiate between the two," he said.

Awad also stressed that developers should not compromise access to and flow of transportation as mobility is an important part of building 'green' and sustainable cities.

Awad said the UAE is the first major hydrocarbon-producing nation to develop alternative sources of energy and is addressing energy security, climate change and sustainable development through the capital's Masdar initiative, which is targeting net zero carbon dioxide balance.