TBY Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman, Emirates Green Building Council on the sector.

Saeed Al Abbar

What are the main environmental challenges that Sharjah is facing?

One of the main challenges is raising awareness of the issues. The government is putting in place the right strategy, but it also needs individuals and companies to align with this. The federal government is implementing legislation for recycling and minimizing waste, but for that to be effective requires individuals and the private sector to do their part to reduce waste. We have to change mindsets, culture, and behavior, but there has been progress.

Could you explain the concept of NZE buildings?

Buildings with energy needs met entirely through renewable energy are called net-zero-energy buildings. The stepping-stone to reach net-zero is nearly-zero-energy (NZE) buildings, which use low net amounts of energy and meet as much of its own requirements through renewable generation. The NZE concept is underpinned by the Paris Agreement on climate change, which requires decarbonizing our economy and developing buildings that reach the NZE target. NZE buildings implemented in other parts of the world have focused on ensuring that buildings are well insulated and use efficient equipment; insulation is the key component, which makes the NZE concept feasible without the construction sector incurring major costs.