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Wednesday, March 4, 2015
- The centre table in the lounge is made of pine used for making crates. What’s better, it’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council that promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. The glass candle stand on that table and the vases around the room are made of recycled glass; the sofa filling is washed grain stack. The French window looking out on to the patio is well insulated yet allows a great deal of daylight in. It’s a happy place to lounge around.
Around the villa are energy-efficient lights, taps that use no more than five litres of water per minute as opposed to the average nine to 13 that slip down the drain at home. But the water feels soft and voluminous, not the trickle the numbers suggest.
But all of this has not come cheap, says architect Dr. Hassan Yasser Ibrahim. “The initial cost is between three to four percent more than the regular home, but in the long run, you are able to save anywhere between 20 to 30 percent energy and conserve up to 30 percent water,” he says beside the life-size prototype of these eco-friendly villas.
The villa is by Estidama, which means “sustainability” in Arabic. It’s an initiative of the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC). It aims to define how a contemporary and sustainable Arab capital should look and how people in it could live. It has construction guidelines for such housing that all new urban construction must comply with.
The UPC is currently building 600 villas at the Al Ain Gharbia residential community, and 448 villas in Al Sliee, near the Saudi border in the Western region.
“Eighty percent of the construction sector comprises housing and if we can bring about simple changes in the design and construction as well as in our lifestyle, we can help the environment tremendously,” said Ibrahim.